Opening days are all special. This year’s antelope season is no different. The only problem is that pheasants also open on the same day. What to do? Since I am retired, the cockbirds will have to wait until the weekdays.
Hooking up with friends is always fun. Some friends only hook up when it is time to hunt or fish. Work and life keep them so busy, that the only time they come up for air is sporting time. This year I get to hunt with friends and friends of friends.
I arrived early at the Lopen fields. In the past, sunrise brought crowds of hunters. If you were well off the roads, these late arrivals would push the herds inland. Tags were normally filled by 10 am. All seemed fine until daylight. 2 late hunters walked to within 200 yards of my position and sat down. Oh well, time to move. I hiked to some high ground and began scoping the terrain. From my vantage point, I could see several miles.
I never saw an antelope! The only shooting was along the river and lower grain fields. When I got my draw tag, no doe tag was offered. In the past, that was always the case. One year, my son and I both had a buck down and were waiting for a group of does to come by. The next herd had about 75 bucks! Finally, we tagged 2 does around 10 am. A normal day involved several herds of antelopes and roaming bigger bucks. So much for the good old days.
Only one buck was shot in the area. A road hunter shot it from the hood of his truck. Still no shortage of idiot, so called “hunters”. You must be off the road and inside the fence to shoot on legal property. We later saw the Game Warden and shared the story. The winter was hard on antelope herds this past year. Numbers were down, and he also saw only a handful of tagged critters and antelope. Despite not filling our tags, we celebrated another Lopening day together.
The season is a long one and perhaps deer hunting pressure will press the lopes into the area I hunt. It is worth a shot.
That’s why it’s called “Hunting”!
For more Montana Grant, stalk him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.