Hunter: Dustin “Shed” Whitacre
Weapon: Elite Ritual Bow
Outfitter: Heartland Pride Outfitters
We actually had gotten stuck in the Tahoe that we were in. It was very dry in that part of western Nebraska and we're kind of in the sand hills. So we had gotten stuck and we're waiting on a ride. We were in the middle of a 45,000-acre ranch, and we started glassing. We spotted a buck with a doe in a spot we knew we could get close to undetected. He had moved her away from a larger herd and had taken her up into some kind of canyon that kind of made him vulnerable to us. Most antelope like to be in in wide-open spaces where they can see you coming.
After several minutes of continuously watching the duo, the buck had taken his doe on a ridge top where he was still able to see everything. But the doe bedded down below the ridge top and he bedded down behind her, looking away from the direction we were approaching from.
At this moment, we were still about a mile away. Once we saw them bed down, we took off, and we were able to get within 80 yards of him. Once we got within 80 yards of him, the setup turned into a waiting game. While we had a decoy with us in our approach, we were concerned that if we popped the decoy up while he was asleep and made some noise, he may look up and be alarmed by the “buck” suddenly standing there, 80 yards away. We thought it was too risky and might spook the buck. So, we decided it was his move and we would wait for that.
After several minutes, we looked up and the doe started coming down the canyon in our direction. The buck was quick to follow her and my guide was whispering their distances to me as they continued their approach. Once he got into 60 yards, I felt pretty comfortable with the shot. The good thing about it was the buck was not paying attention to us; he was paying attention to the doe, which gave us little opportunity to move around because we were in the open. Once the buck was positioned at a good shot angle, I drew back and made a perfect shot! The buck quickly expired 50 yards from where he took the arrow.
Spot-and-stalk antelope hunting with a bow is very difficult in the wide-open country we were in. Some landscapes offer small trees or large bushes, but this was wide-open prairie, making for a very challenging experience. This specific setup worked out perfectly.
One thing that helped me on this specific hunt was remaining focused in the heat of the moment. My guide was incredibly anxious and excited as the buck was approaching. It would’ve been easy to get caught up in his energy. I knew I had to remain calm and make a good shot. Once we knew the buck was one we would be grateful to shoot, I didn’t even look at his horns. I remained focused on what a good shot would look and feel like in my mind. I also remained in quiet communication with my camera guy, Jeff Shelby, making sure we were both on the same page at all times.
This was the first time that I used an adjustable one-pin site. I've always had a multi-pin site. I liked the fact that when the buck was at a certain distance, I could dial into that exact distance. I liked that aspect of having that precision to help me make an accurate shot at that distance.
This was also the first time for me to wear the Mossy Oak Elements Terra pattern. This pattern served us very well. Hiding from an animal that is the one of the best at seeing is not an easy task, especially for three grown men on the wide-open prairie. In addition, having to spot and stalk within 60 yards of them was incredibly challenging. Elements Terra was highly effective and we had success to show for it.