Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2015 Nevada Antelope Hunt

2015 was not a good year for me on my hunting applications.  Or rather not a good year for my draw results!  When all the smoke cleared, the only tag I had in my pocket was my 3rd choice Nevada antelope unit.

To make matters worse, the time wasn't very good and I ended up not being able to hunt the opening day and didn't get out there until over a week into the 2 1/2 week season.

I hunted hard for 5 days and couldn't make it happen.  The density of antelope was pretty low and I only saw one decent buck and that was on the first full day and I just couldn't talk myself into really going after him.  In retrospect he was by far the best buck I saw by a long shot and I should have gone after him, but I was hoping for a "wow" buck and never saw one.  He was probably an upper 70's buck, good mass, length and wide, he just didn't have much at all for prongs.

Ended up with 3,020 miles on the pickup with the vast bulk of that just being the trip out there and back.  Put a little over 100 miles on a new friends UTV and 120 miles on my ATV over 5 days of hunting.  It was dusty!

Here's the back of the UTV after the first morning.

Spent a lot of time around Sentinel Rock.  Pretty neat looking.

Spent a lot of time looking around this area.  It is amazing how much a water source means in that country.  Once you get 2 or 3 miles from water there isn't much of a point in even looking around, nothing is out there.

Moved to a different part of the unit and spent some time in this type of country.

Put 80 miles on the ATV one day and was only able to turn up 15 antelope.  Only 3 bucks, 2 were tiny and 1 was just small.

More interesting hills/mountains/peaks/rock formations or whatever you want to call them.  I think this one was called "Little Peak".

There was plenty of water in this part of the unit.  I found the source of the "Kings River", it was crazy it just came out of the side of a dry desolate mountain flowing a stream about 3 feet wide and 9 inches deep.

Somehow they came up with the name "Stone House" for this area.

These antelope seemed to really enjoy the hills more than the flats.  There are actually 3 antelope does in this picture.  One of them was standing up near the top of the rock outcropping in the top of this picture.  I think she thought she was part mountain goat.

This picture does a pretty good job of showing the country I was working.  Looks promising, but just wasn't turning up much.

Here's a link to the full size panoramic picture if you are interested - http://padens.com/v-web/gallery/albums/album07/panoramic.jpg

I hunted pretty hard and saw less than 100 antelope in 5 days.  I think the most I saw any day was just over 20 and the least I saw was the last day when I only saw 2.  I probably saw a dozen unique bucks with the one decent buck probably around 15" and upper 70's and then after that about 4 different 12 - 13" bucks that would score in the upper 60's or very low 70's and then about 6 barely legal type bucks.

I was pretty beat down and decided to come home a few days early and skip the last couple days of the season.

Here's what a combination of suncreen and dirt looks like after 5 days of hunting.

I did see a TON of Chukar, at least 200 on one day alone when I was riding my ATV around.  Lots of pretty country and met a guy that drove over from Reno to show me around the area and spent a couple days hunting with me.  

Overall a good experience, although I was pretty disappointed in the relatively low numbers of antelope I saw.

Never have spent so much time glassing just looking for antelope.  Usually I only end up glassing to see how big a buck is or to determine if that white rock is an antelope or not.  I spent several hours on this hunt just sitting there glassing the country trying to turn up an antelope.

I did see quite a few mule deer too, although no monsters.  I saw more decent mule deer bucks than antelope bucks though.  Saw a ton of coyotes.  The last morning I was there I saw a group of 5 coyotes all together and a total of 7 that morning compared to only 2 antelope.

Last picture was a neat sunset on one of my last days out there.

One thing I didn't do was spend a lot of time checking out the alfalfa fields on the private land in the river bottoms.  I might could have filled my tag that way, but I think I had a better time roaming the hills looking for public land bucks than I would have shooting one off a crop circle even if it was a decent buck.

Oh well, kind of a long follow up to this post but I thought I would close the loop.  I now know that it is probably a pretty good idea to start paying attention to those 3rd and 4th choice units as I get more points built up in Nevada.  I would had to burn a bunch of points on a marginal unit for elk and I've been thinking about applying for some.

That's it for now.  Nathan

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