The 1 Thing You Learned- ANTELOPE

KaBoilers

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May 8, 2021
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Especially if you're hunting out in the middle of nowhere! Or using some specialty caliber. Or cringe at the thought of paying $20 for a 6 pack. Ahhh, don't ask how I know...
Best choice I ever made was going 28 Nosler on my Christensen. Price is up but at least the stuff is available
 

KaBoilers

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May 8, 2021
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I learned the importance of knee pads and good leather gloves. After the first several stalks and rolling over to pull cactus out of my legs or hands learned those lessons the hard way
True! I took my 60 y.o. uncle out to WY last year and helped him fill his buck tag. We had to crawl up a shallow ravine for about 400 yrds to move in on a couple bucks. No problem for me, being a) 35 and b) padded up. I assumed he was too, since we talked about it that morning. About 200 yrds in, I finally realized he didn’t have them on (forgot at camp) and felt bad. We crouched walked from there but those bucks busted us immediately once we started.

So began the most epic 10 hour hunting experience I’ve ever had! It ended much later with us belly crawling up to a plateau top, waiting about 90 minutes dead still while dozens of antelope came out around us, and him pulling a shot off while using my back as a gun rest :/. We’d got one into 50 yrd range in the middle of a wide open plateau. I didn’t think it would be possible.
 

kcm2

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Feb 26, 2012
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Antelope are smarter than people think. We have hunted the same area in Wyoming for more than ten years. They have changed their habits every year to try to thwart us. Major changes from where they would be eating to what direction they would run.

Case in point from NW Colorado. We'd ride around, find a herd, drive past them until we are hidden and then, park the truck and work a stalk. One year, a fellow watched the herd buck when we did that, and he pushed the herd a quarter mile away when the truck disappeared over the ridge. So, we changed our habits to drop guys off and then drive so the truck was visible from maybe a half mile away, and the herd would be where we first saw it.
 

rharbaugh

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Apr 26, 2021
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I have learned that I love hunting them. Having hunted them in WY, CO, ID, NV and UT, I have realized I actually have more fun on the easier-to-draw tags with less pressure and lower trophy expectations/potential.
This resonates. I hope to build just enough points in 4 or 5 states to rotate around and hunt lower trophy and less hunter pressure units.
 

reddingfishguide

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Jun 15, 2020
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If you are planning on archery hunting them you better have some patience. Also like said before learn to shoot at longer ranges than you would expect and make sure your bow is whisper quiet. I have never seen a animal jump a string like they will. I drew a pretty good archery tag in Nv this year so it should be pretty fun.
 
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Oregon Hunter

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If you are planning on archery hunting them you better have some patience. Also like said before learn to shoot at longer ranges than you would expect and make sure your bow is whisper quiet. I have never seen a animal jump a string like they will. I drew a pretty good archery tag in Nv this year so it should be pretty fun.
I bought a water bottle with a pump top that turns it into a mister. It can make the difference on really hot days! If you look hard, you can see my brother having too much fun spraying me down with water haha

Resized_20190720_120109.jpeg
 

Fordguy

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Jun 20, 2019
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So, I have something (antelope relate) that I apparently need to learn. This year's antelope doe while not at all gamey is some of the toughest game meat I've ever eaten. It doesn't matter what cut of meat, you'd better have your jaw ready for a workout. I've even gone as far as pressure cooking it until it falls apart, but the individual muscle fibers are still tough and chewy. This doe was shot at 150 yards, drt, quartered And on ice in less than an hour and in my home freezer 3 days later. She didn't appear to be an old doe. Cooler was drained multiple times each day. Anyone care to school me on the one thing (or multiple things) that I still have to learn About antelope meat care?
 

Mule3006Elk

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I don't eat meat in my freezer for a minimum of one year. Freezer age if you will. When I take out a cut I let it slow thaw in my refrigerator for close to 2 weeks before I eat it.

But..never really had a tough cut of antelope, referring to the prime cuts, tenderloins/loins/etc.
 

Slowlerner

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Mar 11, 2021
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@Fordguy - What temp are you cooking the meat to? My antelope from this year was similar, down early when it was still cool, quartered and in a freezer within an hour, deboned and packaged 3 days later. I've found the straps and tenderloins to be very good, but I was careful to keep the meat below 150 F. I also cooked a sirloin the same way and it was a little dry, but not bad at all. However, over the weekend I braised a roast and it got away from me. By the time I got it out of the oven the meat temp was 205 F. It was very dry...still tasty, but very dry. I think the meat is so lean that keeping the temperature down when you cook it is the key. I'm curious to see what other, more experienced people have to say, given that this was my first pronghorn.
 

Fordguy

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The tenderloins/backstrap cutlets I give a fast hot sear on both sides and serve rare, med rare at most. I seared and cubed a roast and made a crockpot stew- 8 hours and still very chewy. Another roast spent 2 hours in a pressure cooker on high- you could shred it very easily but the muscle fibers were like chewing on very thin rubber bands. Flavor has been excellent, no complaints there. I just wish I didn't have to chew it to death. I'm considering grinding the rest for burger and sausage.
 

HoneyDew

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Apr 7, 2017
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While I’m sure everyone has their method and opinion. But what I’ve found works the best for me is letting the quarters rest in my fridge for 24-48 hours (with good air flow and not sitting in liquid). Then I process and package it (vacuum sealed) and keeping at least the prime cuts (non grind) in the fridge for about a week to wet age. Once you freeze meat it inhibits the process. I know this isn’t doable with all animals but I fit a quartered antelope in my fridge no problem. Deer and elk I at least do this for the prime whole cuts. Grind I just cut into manageable pieces and then package in the freezer and grind however much I need as I go. While cooking temps make a difference I find it impacts moisture more than texture (unless you’re way over cooking it). The meat care pre freezing impacts texture/tenderness (based on my experience). But I’m sure you could find someone opposite me.
 
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Oregon Hunter

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So, I have something (antelope relate) that I apparently need to learn. This year's antelope doe while not at all gamey is some of the toughest game meat I've ever eaten. It doesn't matter what cut of meat, you'd better have your jaw ready for a workout. I've even gone as far as pressure cooking it until it falls apart, but the individual muscle fibers are still tough and chewy. This doe was shot at 150 yards, drt, quartered And on ice in less than an hour and in my home freezer 3 days later. She didn't appear to be an old doe. Cooler was drained multiple times each day. Anyone care to school me on the one thing (or multiple things) that I still have to learn About antelope meat care?
Dang, that's too bad she wasn't tasty. Can't say I've had that happen before, but I've eaten other people's game that I know was cared for properly and it was super tough as well. Sounds like you didn't do anything wrong, but instead just got one of those random animals that isn't good. Might be a candidate for hamburger or pepperoni?
 
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Oregon Hunter

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@Fordguy - What temp are you cooking the meat to? My antelope from this year was similar, down early when it was still cool, quartered and in a freezer within an hour, deboned and packaged 3 days later. I've found the straps and tenderloins to be very good, but I was careful to keep the meat below 150 F. I also cooked a sirloin the same way and it was a little dry, but not bad at all. However, over the weekend I braised a roast and it got away from me. By the time I got it out of the oven the meat temp was 205 F. It was very dry...still tasty, but very dry. I think the meat is so lean that keeping the temperature down when you cook it is the key. I'm curious to see what other, more experienced people have to say, given that this was my first pronghorn.
Sounds like you put some good effort into getting creative with cooking. I haven't found antelope need to be cooked any different than other venison. Having said that though, it's important to remember to cook any venison about 1/3 less than beef or it gets tough
 
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Oregon Hunter

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The tenderloins/backstrap cutlets I give a fast hot sear on both sides and serve rare, med rare at most. I seared and cubed a roast and made a crockpot stew- 8 hours and still very chewy. Another roast spent 2 hours in a pressure cooker on high- you could shred it very easily but the muscle fibers were like chewing on very thin rubber bands. Flavor has been excellent, no complaints there. I just wish I didn't have to chew it to death. I'm considering grinding the rest for burger and sausage.
Good idea about burger and sausage. I tend to take just the very best cuts of meat and turn them into steak, then do what you said with the rest. No use in torturing yourself by trying to make marginal cuts of venison meat into gourmet steak dishes
 

Rich M

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I will never again go an antelope hunt with just a doe tag - or 4. Some guys are fine with it but overall I believe it is bad advice. Shot 2 doe and had 6 buck opportunities.

Now I gotta go back for a buck and been playing the point game, applying for a very select unit and hunt. Thought was gonna have it last year, now it'll be 2 or 3 years due to creep. Pfff.
 
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Oregon Hunter

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We’ve had an outstanding response from all of you on these “1 Thing You Learned” series. I just created a new forum thread about glassing smarter.

Head over to this link if you’d like to share one thing you learned about glassing, horror stories, or want to learn a secret for making the most out of your hard work in the field!
 

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