Sponsored by The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America.

Hosted by Doug Bermel – Shooting Coordinator for the Disabled Archer, Bowhunting.net.

By: Dave Rudolph

On Monday 9/14, new member Mark Mailloux and I arrived in Gillette after a long drive from Michigan.

Once in town we sighted in our bows, purchased all required stamps and watched others sight in their bows and talked with some folks I’d met the year before. During the first evening’s dinner meeting, I was introduced to Merv Griswold who was to be my guide. Merv, in turn, introduced me to Jerry Murphy who would be sitting with me in my blind in case I needed help ranging on animals or viewing as I am visually impaired and unable to see from midpoint to the left in my visual field.

Our first morning I met Merv and Jerry for breakfast at the church and then headed to our blind around 6:30 in area 24. Around 7:30 AM, Jerry tapped me on the shoulder saying a buck was coming to the water tank 15-yards away. In no time at all, the buck was standing by the tank and was poised for a 15-yard shot in front of my blind the shot looked good and he went off about 50-yards and laid down. We thought he would expire soon, but he stood. We couldn’t see any evidence of blood on him.

The day went on with the buck laying down, getting up, walking and laying down again until early evening. I was only able to get close enough once more for a shot at him when he lay down. My shot however hit the dirt just short and didn’t penetrate his hide. During this nearly nine hour “chase”, he never acted like he was running out of steam – at one point jumping one or two fences! It was obvious by now that this wasn’t a fatal shot so we decided that I should resume hunting.

Author with his buck antelope

By early evening Jerry indicated via hand signs that a doe was coming to the water and to let me know that she had small horns. Getting this doe took on an importance of its own since I always had a wish to shoot a doe with horns! She came to the water and stood but wasn’t presenting a perfect opportunity for me to take a good shot. I knew I could “sneak” a shot just off the left window zipper behind her shoulder into the lungs. She was slightly turned right so this wasn’t a “slam dunk” by any means – even at 15-yards. The bolt hit with a thud, she took off and stopped about 48-yards. She wobbled a bit, laid down and after a toss of her head and kick of her leg, she expired.

I was pretty excited as I heard Jerry telling Merv via a 2-way radio that she was indeed dead. Merv was sitting in his truck about 1/2 mile away on a hill watching the action. Merv suggested we sit tight for a while because “you never know what could happen”. He also informed us that the buck I’d shot earlier wasn’t showing any signs of weakening.

Dave Rudolph of Michigan took these antelope trophies during the 2009 Gillette, Wyoming antelope hunt. Dave uses a 10-point Slider crossbow.

We started to remove my equipment and were outside of the blind informing Merv we were wrapping up for the night when Jerry informed us that a buck was coming in. We settled back in the blind as quickly as we could. I reloaded the bow, attached it to the tripod and began our wait.

Again with finger motions, Jerry informed me of the buck’s whereabouts. The buck circled from behind, stopping almost in the exact place as my doe! I prepared for the same shot and hoped for the same results! Another thud sounded and off he went for about 80-yards before he lay down, kicked his legs and died. Merv came over offering his congratulations.

There was a short photo shoot before field dressing them both. My doe and buck were taken within 1 1/2 hours of each other. After all this time, about 12 hours, the first buck I shot was still walking around as if nothing had happened to him! He’ll be sure to give another hunter a real thrill someday just like he gave me this morning, except maybe he’ll be bigger.

At dinner I found out that my Michigan buddy Mark Mailloux had gotten a doe and would try for a buck before we left Wyoming making this hunt one of my best ever!

I can’t say enough about Merv, Jerry and the PCBA Gillette hunt coordinating team! Along with all of the volunteers that make this happen every year, YOU ARE ALL A VERY SPECIAL BUNCH OF PEOPLE. I hope to see you all again next year.