Friday, September 13, 2013

New Mexico Two Step Part 1

I have once again had the pleasure to guide 2 more Antelope hunts in New Mexico and as usual it was a grand time. The event took place on a ranch in the North Eastern part of the state that I have been guiding on for many years. The hunt was arranged through Kim Bonnett owner of Bucks and Bulls based out of Lindon Utah ( The first hunter to arrive was Grant Bledsoe and our mutual friend Gary Merrill tagged along as an observer. This was Grant's 3rd hunt on this ranch and Gary's 2nd time to insure crowd control. We spent the first 2 days of Grants 3 day season looking over many mature bucks. At close to 100,000 acres this selection process can take awhile. At dusk on the 2nd day we found a buck that Grant wanted to try and take and the stalk was on. We lost the buck as the sun set but felt he'd be same pasture at daylight. True to form we found the same buck right at dawn the next day. We watched the buck from roughly 1200 yards until he bedded down on a low ridge line that allowed him an unobstructed panoramic view of the short grass prairie and allowed us no topography to use as cover for a stalk. Gary suggested an air strike, Grant was looking up the number at Cheyenne Mountain, I decided to go deep and prepared to throw the bomb.

It was time to deploy the Trojan Cow. Both Gary and Grant gave me an instant fish-eye and the good natured ridicule began. Grant however has hunted with me before and has learned to unclip the leash and let me run so he grabbed one side of the bovine silhouette and did his best to bite his lip and endure the laughter coming from Gary as we "grazed" towards the bedded buck. We covered about 1000 yards in 45 minutes. The buck finally stood up as I moved Bessie away from Grant to allow him a prone 223 yard shot. I haven't heard anymore disparaging remarks about the flat cow since the buck hit the ground.

Grant was using what was to become the first real prototype Legend. Made on a Left Handed Remington 700 and chambered for 280 Remington this rifle has traveled the world and has always delivered when called upon. After very little load development Grant settled on a load of IMR-7828 and a Swift 160gr A-Frame. Grizzlies, Sheep, Moose, Leopard, Elk, Waterbuck, Kudu, Sable, herds of Impala, etc have fallen to this rifle. This was Grant's 3rd Record class antelope taken on this ranch with me and they all look quite different. This one carries 19 extra points around the prongs on both horns giving mass a whole new definition.

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