On the opening morning of antelope season, the state was in the midst of one of the worst droughts in its history. There was no moisture on the earth, and the parched grass crunched under our boots like burnt toast when we trudged up a hogback ridge in the predawn gloom and set up our spotting scopes just as the first glow of day was outlining a range of mountains to the east. One of my favorite things about hunting pronghorns is that they live in sagebrush country, and as the rising sun spread color across Lincoln County's historic landscape, I inhaled deeply of the dry, sage-perfumed air. From where we were situated, our spotting scopes reached across miles of ranchland, finding here and there the snowy rumps of antelope. Some were in twos or threes, others were in larger bunches, but all were too distant to judge as trophies. The closest animals we could see were trotting along a fence line a good half-mile away. Apparently they had been spooked by hunters, and as sometimes happens when they are spooky, three of the bigger bucks had split off from the main group and angled our way, passing at about 600 yards.