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Idaho Antelope James Blankenbeckler

Idaho Antelope

Last year I met a guy on a social media app for hunters called Racksite. I was asking him about hunting in Idaho. After several conversation he told me about a limited draw antelope hunt. I was immediately interested as a P&Y class  antelope was on my dream list. I put if for the tag and was lucky enough to draw one of the 5 non resident tags. After doing some research on hunting regs I found out that I couldn’t use my Dead Ringer Truama broadheads because they were mechanical. After reading about several fixed blade heads I settled on the Cabela’s STK-3 100gr heads. After tuning my my bow I was all set.

Our strategy since it was so dry this summer out west was to sit water holes. Two days before season we got the camp and blind all setup and ourselves settled in. Opening morning we got to the blind right before daylight and setup for a long hot day in the blind. As soon as daylight broke we saw to nice mule deer bucks coming our way and about 50 cows. The cows cane to the water and pushed the deer away. The morning and day was slow we saw three does about 1000yrds away but besides the cows that was it. We were constantly glassine and looking for movement. The cows would come back every few hours but that was it. About 2pm we had two bulls come in and decide to bed right by the water hole. This has me concerned since my previous antelope hunts the goats would t come to water with cows there. As Mike and I were eating a snack Mike saw something on the hill. He grabbed my binos and said there’s a goat and it’s a nice buck. The goat was over a half mile away in the hill side. As he feed along he just turned and made a beeline right toward the water. He was closing fast so Mike and I scrambled to close the windows we didn’t need and get all the cameras rolling. I was still nervous with the Bulls bedded by the water that he wouldn’t come to drink. I peaked out the side window and watch as he continued to head to the water on a rope. 150, 100, and now 75 yards from the water hole. I prepared for the shot as Mike started filming. The goat never once looked at the blind as he closed in. He stared down the Bulls as he approached the water. I came to full draw and settled my pin on his heart and waited for him to fully commit to drinking. Once his head was down in the water hole I slowly squeezed the trigger on my release. Suddenly the bow went of and the goat was running away. I wasn’t sure of my shot as I couldn’t see my arrow hit him. He ran about 35yrds stopped and and then started to spin around as he fell over. What an awesome hunt and time with good friends. Mike and I went to recover him and we had no ground shrinkage we had something rare we had ground growth.  My dream had come true I shot a 78″ goat on the first day of my hunt. I can’t think Cody Drapper enough for helping me out or Racksite for hooking to hunters up and making this possible.

Equipment:
Bow: Obsession Fusion 6
Rest: Vaportrail Micro Elite
Sight: Spot Hogg Fast Eddie
Broadhead: Cabela’s STK-3
Arrow: Victory RIP Elite 350’s
Stabilizers: Dead Center Archery
Strings & Cables: Vaportrail
Optics: Vortex Razor HD 12X50 binos and Ranger 1000 rangefinder
Camo: Drake Nontypical Gear
Camping Supplies: Cabela’s Outfitter
Cooler: Grizzly
POV Camera: Tactacam
Boots: Lacrosse Quickshot 8″
As always I use Dead Down Wind scent elimination products simply because they work and I trust them.

James Blankenbeckler over the boarder Buck

One of the top hunts on my bucket list was to hunt Whitetails either in Texas or Mexico. There is just something about the thought and the mystery of hunting down there. Those dark racks and grey bodies are so beautiful and majestic to me. I was very blessed to be invited by Enrique Lopez and his family to come hunt with them at Las Cuevas Ranch in Old Mexico.  It was mid December and I was a bit nervous with all the media about crossing the border and getting safely to the ranch. They picked me up at the airport and everything went smooth and amazingly simple. Once at the ranch it was time to shoot my bow and make sure we were on for the hunt the next morning. I brought a brand new bow and this was its maiden hunt so I wanted to double and triple check everything.  We got settled in the blind early the next morning and all setup so hopefully we wouldn’t spook anything . As day light broke we saw a small buck and some does feeding in the distance. They have a strict age structure and we were looking for bucks that were only 7yrs old or older. I had Enrique’s younger brother Pablo in the blind with me to help judge age incase we got lucky and a buck came in we would know if it was a shooter or not. I defiantly didn’t want to shoot a deer that was two young and upset them or mess their program up.  We had a beautiful four year old come in that I would have loved to shot but you could tell he was young with awesome genetics so I had to pass him. I can’t wait to see how he looks in three years. Suddenly the deer feeding became alert and started staring to the right of the blind where I couldn’t see. A few minutes later a big bodied buck stepped out with his ears pinned back as he pushed the younger bucks away and walked them out. There was no doubt this was a dominate buck in this area and one they had several trail cam pics of.  Pablo told me this was definitely a buck on the hit list. After several minutes he feed into bow range but was quartered toward us or facing us for over ten min with no ethical shot. My heart was pounding and my nerves were on end as I prayed he would offer a shot. Finally he started to feed to the right broadside and opened his vitals up. It was a dead quit morning and I knew shooting a bow in the blind would increase the odds the buck could jump my string due to the noise. I slowly drew my bow and buried the pin low behind the shoulder incase he jumped my string. I was so focused on the pin and making the right shot as I was squeezing the trigger the bow simply went off and I watched the nock burry behind the front should perfect with a whack, crack and that distinct pop (we all have heard as archers). I knew he wouldn’t go far and as he ran off he stopped suddenly at about 60yrds and fell over. The celebration was on for Hunter (my cameraman), Pablo and myself. It was like a dream you never expect to come true.  A hunt you dream about for years to end on the first morning with a great buck but that was exactly what happened and I couldn’t believe it did. I stayed for three more days and filmed and took pictures and enjoyed the amazing hospitality of the Lopez family and the beauty of their ranch. This truly was a hunt of a lifetime for me and by far the best I’ve ever been treated on a hunt. Now I just need to figure out how to do it again. I can’t think Enrique, his dad Armando and his brothers Pablo and Armando jr for such and amazing hunt, their phenomenal hospitality and the friendships they have given me.

Equipment:
Bow: Mathews NOCAM HTR
Rest: Vaportrail Micro Elite
Sight: Spot Hogg Hogg It
Broadhead: Dead Ringer Trauma
Arrow: Victory VAP
Stabilizers: Dead Center Archery
Strings & Cables: Vaportrail
Optics: Vortex Razor HD 12X50 binos and Ranger 1000 rangefinder
Camo: RealTree AP
As always I use Dead Down Wind scent elimination products simply because they work and I trust them.