Editor’s Note: Chuck Paddock of Covington, Indiana, is the host of “Open Season TV” on the Pursuit Channel.
I took my wife and daughters on an antelope hunt in Gillette, Wyoming. My wife never really had hunted with me before, I knew this hunt would be a relatively-easy hunt for her, and she’d have a lot of fun on it. The lady who owned the property allowed us to hunt under one condition, “The girls and your wife have to take their antelope first, before you take yours,” she told us. Of course, those words tickled me.
For the hunt, I chose the CVA APEX platform with a .243 barrel and a 95-grain Winchester bullet. We took four antelope in 4 hours. My oldest daughter Ashley, who was 14 at the time, shot her antelope at 170 yards, and it dropped immediately. What’s amazing is she took that antelope within the first 15 minutes of the hunt. My wife Lori was next, and she took the biggest antelope of all of us at about 150 yards. The girls were starting to get hungry, so after Lori took her antelope, we headed back toward the ranch. I spotted a herd of antelope and told my girls, “I know we can get down in that creek bottom, sneak-up on those antelope and probably get a shot.” The girls said, “Okay, let’s make this hunt.” We all got down in the creek bottom and made a stalk on this herd of antelope. When we were 150-yards from the animal, my 12-year-old daughter Lauren and I got our Bog Pods set-up. She made a perfect shot. We had three kills with the CVA APEX and the .243 Bergara barrel.
I was the last person in line to shoot, but that was fine with me, because I had filmed my wife and daughters taking their antelope. We drug Lauren’s antelope back to the truck and loaded it up with the others. We were all in agreement that we’d go back to town and get something to eat, and I would hunt the following day. Just as we were getting back to the ranch, I spotted a really-big antelope. We drove down one of the ranch roads. I got out of the truck and ranged a tree in front of the antelope at about 400 yards, so I estimated that the buck was 50- to 60-yards behind that. I sat down on the ground and got my tripod set-up. When the antelope turned broadside, I aimed just-above the top of his shoulder. I took a deep breath, let the air out and prepared to squeeze the trigger. When my APEX rifle reported, a second passed. I then heard the whop of the bullet hitting the animal, and the antelope started running. I asked my girls, “Did I hit him?”
After about 60 yards, the antelope stopped and toppled-over. When we reached the antelope, I saw that the bullet had hit him behind the front shoulder and had dropped about 8 inches from my aiming point, right into the kill zone. We loaded the fourth antelope up after taking a bunch of pictures, went to town and finally got something to eat. After a late breakfast, my wife and daughters got manicures and pedicures – definitely not your typical hunting trip. However, what made this trip so exciting for me was that this was the first hunt my wife had gone on with me after 19 years of marriage. I knew this antelope hunt would be the best starter trip for her. It was a rifle hunt, the weather wasn’t cold, and it would be a spot-and-stalk hunt. My daughters have been hunting with me since they were small. But for all of us to go on the hunt together, each take an antelope in the first 4 hours of the hunt, and everyone have a good time, this trip was amazing. The good news too is that our family loves antelope meat. In my opinion, antelope is the best-tasting wild meat, other than elk, that you can eat, as long as you prepare it correctly.