Second Thought

September 24, 2016

Jordan Seitz


I said I wasn’t going to worry about shooting my pronghorn until after deer season. I’ve learned I don’t multitask too well and wanted to dedicate my hunting time to deer. To force the idea, my gun was still stowed and it’s zero unchecked when opening day for pronghorn arrived. A couple days into that season, we were taking a family drive with the old Land Cruiser on some new trails when I spotted two nice bucks. The first one was real nice with the second being runner up. I immediately kicked myself for being unarmed.

Within a few days I’d checked the zero on my rifle and tried hunting for the buck. I had one blown stalk and then the biggest buck disappeared. There were plenty of other people out hunting and all the goats were spooked.

Admittedly, I should have been deer hunting. But without enough time to get to-and-from the mountains before my cousin arrived for a visit, I decided to capitalize on an early morning pronghorn hunt. I hadn’t driven very far in my hunt area before I was a surprised by my #2 buck standing on the side of the road. I slowed and opened my window. It was only minutes into shooting light and we stared at each other from a distance of little more than 20 yards. I could have shot him right there. But it was too easy, and too close to the road. So I drove on.

Five minutes later, I was whipping my truck around and high tailing it back to where I’d seen the buck. When I’d given the buck a second thought, I realized he was mature enough, unpressured, and in a huntable location.

By the time I parked, the buck was nowhere to be found. Three quarters of a mile later, I found him with a couple does, but the shot was over 400 yards. Lying prone, with wide open country between us, I watched him in my crosshairs. After waiting a long time in the light rain that was falling, they finally fed a few hundred yards further, and down into a shallow draw. Before they could pop back up, I sprinted down off the hill I was on. A half mile later, I snuck over the rim, and seeing nothing, continued down into a wash that would provide me some better cover as I continued on to where I thought they’d gone.

I finally found the buck, and crawled, slithered, and drug myself and my pack and rifle through the dirt and mud, weaving between sage and bitterbrush.

My wash dropped into a deeper wash. It’s a good thing I was paying attention when I reached the confluence, and that the rim wasn’t a mud cornice, because it was a ten foot vertical drop. Instead I had to crawl to my right a bit further and drop down in plain sight of the buck who was a bit over 400 yards from me. In a position where I was again blocked from view, I hurried to the last finger of dirt that would provide me cover, and a good rest for a shot. I pushed my pack in front of me and inched up high enough to where I could view the buck in my crosshairs.


I ranged him at about 320 yards, and took my time settling into the shot, and calculating my hold-over. When he presented a broadside shot, I squeezed off a shot. After the roar of my .375 cannon subsided, the buck was running like I hadn’t hit him. In seconds he was out of sight down the draw. Launching to my feet, I ran looking for another view. When I saw the does running alone, I posted up in case he lagged behind, but he never showed up. I knew that meant he was down!

Gathering up my gear, I made my way over to where I thought he might have dropped, and sure enough, he was piled up with a perfect double lung shot. He’d run about 100 yards.


I took photos, dressed him out, and then headed back to my truck, planning to return later with the family.


A couple hours later we all returned, my cousin included. We were able to drive down a different trail and park within ¼ mile, which was much closer than the 1 ½ miles I’d walked, run, and crawled as I’d stalked my buck! We took a few more pictures, and then for kicks, I strapped the whole animal to my Eberlestock Mainframe pack to see if it could handle it. I was impressed with how well it managed. My load was about 100 pounds with pack weight included.

I’m glad I didn’t shoot the buck when he was next to the road. However, I’m am glad I had second thoughts and eventually went after him. I had a riot crawling around for over 2 hours trying to get near him again. In the end, I took my longest hunting shot to date with the cannon and the buck is my second biggest!