It’s not the nicest name for an antelope decoy, but its owner thought it was fitting.
Paula, Kathleen (otherwise known as Kishka) and I, have been going to Wyoming together for the past five years to bowhunt deer and antelope. Because of this, Kishka decided to make a decoy to help us get close to the antelope. She promptly named her Annie.
The following year, Paula’s husband Terry made a more realistic decoy for her. His artistic talents are a bit above Kishka’s, and she knew it.
“My Annie looks like a tramp compared to your decoy”, Kishka mused.
“Annie Trampelope!”, I blurted out.
That was all it took. Annie, the cute, cuddly-looking decoy would now become affectionately known as Annie Trampelope. Don’t get me wrong, Annie was a well loved decoy that Paula and I used on a stalk, that we wished would have had a different outcome. The story goes like this:
After a long sit in our respective ground blinds, Paula and I watched a bunch of antelope come from the field below us and cross a distant fence to head upwards and away from us into the highlands. We thought that was the last of the speed goats from the field below, but since we didn’t know for sure, we decided to grab Annie and sneak down the hill to the field to see what we could see.
It was a good thing we did too, for when we neared the bottom of the hill, we saw a doe antelope bedded down behind a knoll. We went from quickly creeping to cautiously crawling. On our hands and knees, we took a few crawling steps at a time, Paula in front holding the decoy, and me behind her clutching my bow. We would then stop and Paula would use a laser rangefinder through a hole in Annie’s Masonite body to check our distance to the doe. Way too far.
“Let’s keep crawling.”
After every few steps we would stop and range.
“She’s looking at us now.”
“Is she moving?”
“No, but I see there’s another antelope too!”
“How far are they?”
“That’s too far. Can we keep going?”
This continued slowly until we got to within 42 yards. But we discovered that there was not only just one other doe, but a few more that now came into our view. Trying to keep ourselves invisible to several antelope while hiding behind a small decoy was quite a chore. When they were all up on their feet and ready to bolt, Paula said, “It’s now or never.”
While still low on my knees behind Paula, I drew my bow, rose up, and set my pin on an antelope closest to me. As a left-handed shooter, my best aiming ‘swing’ is from center to the right and this doe was a little too much to my left. I let loose my arrow anyways, and with my off-kilter stance, the bowstring whacked my arm and the arrow veered off course, not making it to its intended target.
The only thing I brought home on that hunt was a bruised arm. It didn’t matter though, as we had a great time trying this new approach to antelope hunting.
We felt pretty good that we got as close as we did and cute and cuddly-looking Annie Trampelope played a big part of that.
I’m sure Annie will always have a place on our Wyoming hunting trips in the future.