There is Nothing Finer than Antelope Hunting.



There is Nothing Finer than Antelope Hunting.

My fall hunt plans begin with any state that will award me an antelope license.  Wyoming historically has been the most generous, but then they hold more pronghorn than the rest of the states combined. Idaho and South Dakota, and Colorado have each been accommodating in their own way.  My home state of Montana finally presented me with a buck tag after a five year hiatus.  At last count there were eighteen states and a Canadian province to hunt antelope and it has become a life goal to find a buck in each.  

A challenge for every hunter.

A new hunter new to the pursuit of antelope can worry they will leave with an empty tag.  The harvest success rates for antelope are the highest of any western big game.  Nearly always better than 50%, some approach 90%+.  Truthfully, I have seen Wyoming antelope hunts end by the first hour.  Opportunities are abundant and redemption after an errant shot is just a ridgeline away.  My encouragement is for a new hunter to enjoy the experience and wait on the shot.

Antelope hunting allows the seasoned hunter to refine essential skills.  Their legendary eyesight does not allow for mistakes when stalking into position.  The wide berth they give anything of which they are unsure requires unshakeable marksmanship.  Finding a mature buck will require a matching of wits to locate and then overcome the terrain to close in on him.  The challenge of a hunt scales according to a hunter’s desired experience.  I now look for “Goofy,” non-typicals with horns flat like a longhorn, curved forward, or anything that might make him unique.

Respect field care for good table fare.

Its natural predator, the American cheetah, extinct, pronghorn are very comfortable in open areas.

Those who foreswear antelope confound me.  Their experiences are so removed from me that I have to attribute poor tasting antelope steaks to some abuse in the field.  I have long lost count of the number of species I have dined on, but I don’t recall any red meat that has rivaled antelope.  The two most common causes for off-tasting meat are not immediately removing the hide and cooling the meat.  Once shot, bucks tend to ride field dressed in the back of the truck while the rest of the group looks to fill a tag.  The end result is a tainted carcass.

I have found antelope to be sweet and tender regardless of age and browse.  The distinct flavor isn’t gamey, but unique enough to be discernible to any palate.  A tenderloin reserve-seared and finished on a cast iron pan remains my favorite wild game meal.  I often share meat with friends, but I reserve my antelope for special gifts. 

Economy and Experience in one hunt.

The decline of hunter numbers isn’t seen when the focus is western big game hunting.  Application numbers continue to rise and opportunity decrease leading to fierce competition for licenses.  Generally, pronghorn licenses are much easier to draw and cost less than half of the more sought after elk tags.  There isn’t a less expensive western hunting experience.  Antelope season tends from nice to warm, requiring minimal gear in your kit.  A big buck might net you 50lbs and one 80 quart cooler is enough.  For less than $1,000 a week long antelope hunt could be had in fine style.

There is no more iconic species.

It continues to amaze me how many of my international friends want to come to North America to hunt the pronghorn antelope.  Bison might be the stalwart of the conservation movement, but for everything that makes it unique antelope are the choice.  While it is neither goat nor antelope, it is called by both names.  It has horns, but sheds them to grow new ones.  And the only other animal that might catch it in a sprint is the African cheetah, but there is an anecdotal story that would contradict that.

Pronghorn inhabit amazing places.

Every place has its own beauty when you learn to appreciate its qualities.  I pause when I enter the high plateau of Wyoming’s sagebrush sea to look at the endless waves gray-green.  Colorado’s grasslands have the same effect with just the slightest breeze rippling across the tops.  New Mexico’s sun hardened ground preserves the evidence of the last antelope to pass by for countless days.  Each of these places seem harsh but to the antelope they are homey.  More than that, when not competing for habitat with development or non-native species, they thrive.  Drought, EHD, and harsh winters have severely impacted populations recently.  I hope there is more we find than can be done to keep them running across the prairies and grasslands.  

Draped in native sage and grass, antelope thrive in this habitat.

Not all of my favorite hunts were for antelope. But all of my antelope hunts are favored.  I would be perfectly content if all I had on my hunt plans was a pronghorn each fall.  I have yet to draw a bighorn sheep or mountain goat tag, but I imagine the excitement will be similar to anytime I’m successful in an antelope lottery.  

Avatar Author ID 721 - 1425592375

Raised outdoors in Montana, Everett has an undeniable passion for all things hunting (and angling) and helping others discover those same experiences. His pursuits span the spectrum upland to big game, archery to muzzleloading. When he isn’t in the mountains, Everett is involved in state conservation with Montana FWP as a council member working on education, access, and landowner-sportsman dynamics. He enjoys waterfowling with his Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cane, and flying his peregrine falcon, Freyja. For the past several years he has spent his time creating and teaching hunter education programs as well as being a frequent guest on podcasts, workshops, and events with a focus on hunting ethics. You can find more of his work at and his platform at

Products You May Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *