This past fall, on a featureless reach of Montana prairie, I sailed a broadhead right over the back of a 15-inch antelope.
I thought the pronghorn was closer, obviously. The buck snorted, turned himself inside out and is probably still sprinting for the horizon. I judged the antelope at 35 yards. He was closer to 25 yards, but on the open plains, I was pinned down by his vigilant eyes as he approached, and with no shrubs or fence posts to use for comparison, I had no references to judge his body size or distance. I had no time or cover to reach for my laser rangefinder, so I had to guess the distance.
Before you answer, think about the last couple of years. Have you been jammed up on a shot opportunity because your variable-power scope was on the highest setting? Were you not able to find a close-in deer because you only saw hair at 12x?
Like the range wars of the last century, a groundswell of discontent is rippling across the West, but instead of pitting open-range ranchers against honyockers, the new adversaries are those who want to collect shed antlers now vs. those who want them to wait a spell.
We all want to preserve the memory of a remarkable big-game trophy, but now more than ever most of us have to balance the cost of taxidermy with the constraints of the household budget.
There are other impediments to that shoulder mount, including spousal resistance and a shortage of real estate on your walls. That’s where Jeff Stark comes in. The Missouri hunter knows the enduring value of a special animal, just as he knows the appeal of a great photograph.