Frank Kinney

Date: October 22, 2009
Equipment Used: .257 Weatherby Mag,, Leupold Optics
Location: Buffalo, Wyoming on the flats below the Big Horn Mountains
Pictured (left to right): Frank Kinney
Trophy Size:
Trophy Species: Antelope
Story: It was my first trip ever out West and my quarry was a trophy antelope. This was a late October hunt, the weather was everything from snowing like crazy to sun blazing hot and the animals sightings where plentiful. I had a lease of a 54,000-acre private ranch outside of Buffalo, Wyoming, that had amazing views of the Big Horn Mountains and vast tracts of open country with few rolling mound hills visible. This particular day was cool and the sun was bright. I began my trek across a vast plain toward an area that had small rolling hills along a creek bank below the Big Horn Mountain Range. It was a great vantage point once I reached the top of the highest hill allowing me to see for miles while glassing the several herds of antelope free roaming the plains. I glassed several hundred antelope at distances from 30 yards to 1,000 yards. My personal goal was to harvest a trophy antelope at a distance of 500 yards. I was carrying a .257 Weatherby Mag, with Leupold optics and was quite familiar with the ability of the rifle and my capabilities at a range of 500 yards. I was confident I could make a successful shot should the opportunity arise. After several hours of glassing, I finally saw this fine antelope across the plain at 800 yards just crossing under the adjoining properties fence row with 34 doe. I watched patiently from my vantage point to determine what direction they seemed to favor before I began my stalk to cut the distance. The herd began to slow and graze toward my right, still at 750 yards away. I decided to work my way down off the small hill and slowly crept along the edge of the creek bank using the only cover around for miles to slowly cut the distance between myself and my quarry. Several other herds and single antelope were much closer and I knew I had to keep my movement to the minimum to avoid spooking any of the antelope causing my trophy to flee the property. I had now cut my distance to approximately 580 yards and could see the herd my trophy antelope was in. I was out of cover and coming to a sharp bend in the bank, which would leave me totally exposed. As I made my final approach, I ranged the distance every few steps and inevitably had to belly crawl ever so slowly to cut the final distance to my comfort zone of making my shot. I slowly raised my rangefinder to be sure and the screen lit up 499 yards. I made it to my goal point, now all I had to do was get my bipods set up and chamber a round without spooking any of the antelope. Everything was going as planned and I slowly chambered a round and as I did so, all of a sudden out of nowhere, three antelope sprint up out of the creek bottom to my right. I wheel my head back toward my quarry, I can see several of the closer doe getting nervous and looking in my direction. My heart rate starts to elevate and adrenaline begins to flow, and I click off my safety and quickly range the buck one last time to ensure he did not move past my preferred yardage. I quickly drop the rangefinder and secure my weapon ever so carefully placing my crosshairs on my target. The shot is fired as I watch through the scope the antelope drops in his tracks before I even hear the thud of the bullet hitting. It seemed an eternity by the time I gathered my wits and the few things scattered around me (rangefinder, cartridges, gloves...) -- before I could make my trek toward my prize. As I neared where he was, another herd came blistering across the plain as if I was not even there, never slowing until they crossed the next fence line. I thought to myself "they come out of nowhere." I had looked all around before I made my approach and there was not a thing in sight. It did not take long though for me to finish the distance to my trophy and a trophy he is. I raised his head up from the ground and beamed in excitement of his long ivory-tipped horns looking to the sky and thanking God for a dream come true. It was not just the perfect hunt to me it was the perfect memory that will live in my mind forever.

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