Decoying Antelope for the Ultimate Rush


Pronghorn antelope rut from early through late September, and using a decoy is the most exciting means of bagging one. Be warned, however, your pulse will pound and your nerves may shatter. In fact, few guides use this technique because their hunters get so rattled that they usually miss, even at close range.

Med Bow Antelope Prairie Dog 012Most herd-buck antelope will not tolerate another male in its territory and won’t just saunter over and posture. They practically burn up the prairie, racing for the lesser male with the full intention of kicking butt. This all-out affront melts the mettle of many archers; the end result is that they’ll either cower behind the decoy or sling an arrow without knowing the distance or using proper form.

Decoying antelope requires only the most basic gear — starting, natch, with a decoy (Montana Decoy makes a good one). You’ll also want your standard whitetail gear including a multipin sight and a good rangefinder. Leather gloves and athletic-style knee pads are also a good idea, as you’ll probably be crawling through cactus. Enlisting a buddy to work the decoy is a tremendous help, since a brisk breeze is normal in most goat areas. You’ll probably shoot from a kneeling or crouched position, so practice before you head out.

Montana Antelope 192Fooling a herd buck doesn’t work every time, but when it does, wow! First, locate a herd of goats and plan a stalk that will get you within 100 yards. Be patient and pass up animals that seem unapproachable; you can return when they are in a better position. Glass for a change of elevation or ditch to crawl and close distance on the buck. If alone, move the decoy above the horizon, push the stakes into the ground, and get ready. Quickly range a yucca plant or tuft of grass so that you have a reference. With a buddy, allow him to hold the decoy while you range and nock an arrow. If you push the right buttons, the buck will charge right at you but stop when the invader doesn’t move. At that instant you must be ready to shoot. If the boss goat doesn’t charge, put the decoy down, wait a few minutes, and pop up again. If that doesn’t work, back away and try a different location. Good luck and be still your heart….

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.