Dec 24, 2006

New Website Pictures!

I couldn't help myself, so I've updated the website with 10 more pictures posted to the ALIVE section.

Blade was a buck taken in 2005 by Dennis Pierce on one of our New Mexico ranches. It missed the State Record by a quarter inch!

JoeBoo is, of course, the B&C World Record.

DW is close at 94 B&C and 97 2/8 SCI.

The other bucks I've talked about before on the message boards and our website. If you have any questions ask me.

Tally Ho. (or is it ho, ho, ho?)

Dec 22, 2006

Parting Ways?


No, not really parting ways, just gonna take a break until January 2nd. Have a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year's! I'll still check the blog for comments so feel free to post. Until then...may your baseball fields be covered with antelope - I can't think of anything better.

Tally Ho!

Dec 21, 2006

New Regs!


Unit 7, Jeff Mott, 2006, 87 3/8 SCI, 85 4/8 B&C


For those of you who don't yet know, the New Arizona Antelope and Elk Regs are out. Some observations:

1. Where are the antelope in Unit 7? G&F increased the tags to 65 this year.

2. Why does 19B still have so many tags? Around 8 different ranches located in the heart of the antleope country locked their gates this past year. I didn't contact any of the ranchers but I'd imagine the only reason they'd lock their gates is to keep hunters out, so I'd also imagine that they wouldn't let you hunt their land if you asked. Outside of these major ranches the antelope pickings are pretty slim - certainly not 40 tags worth! Maybe 10. Maybe hunters are gaining access and I just got cut out of the loop. :(

3. 19A East has a muzzleloader hunt. That allows G&F to issue 5 more tags than last year which brings the total number of tags for the South side of 19A to 95.

Funny story: G&F wanted to issue a lot more archery tags last year in 19A, but the rancher wouldn't let them. He wanted to see 19A come back and be the genetic powerhouse it once was before the transplant and the drought. I like this guy! Hopefully we'll see the Fain, at least once, the way it was.

4. 3B North archery draw odds last year were an incredible 38 percent?! Wow! You won't see that in any other unit for the rest of your life. I imagine a lot of archers are going to see that and apply for 3B North.

If anyone has any information that might help explain Unit 7 or 19B I'd love to hear it. Also, are there any big bucks in 3B? I may have to go check it out this year! ;)

Edit: I just realized that when I switched the blog over to this format that I didn't update the links to the guides or stats pages of our website. I fixed that for anyone who was wondering where it went. You can find those pages by clicking on "services".

Tally Ho.

Dec 20, 2006

Website Update


I've updated The Website again with a few more pictures.

Two of three were bucks we never named and the one we did name wasn't very big score-wise, but he did have some uniqueness to his rack. We named him Jerry - since we all ready had a Newman - and his right horn was shaped exactly like a banana and had no prong. I've got some side views that I'll post when I find them. Chad Smith of Vaquero Outfitters actually guided to this buck the next year and by then both of the buck's horns were shaped like bananas! Very cool! You can see a picture of the buck the year he was taken in the link above - just scroll down the page a bit.

As soon as The Huntin' Fool publishes their January issue (I'm assuming that'll be the issue they list their top Arizona antelope and elk units) I'll post what I believe will be the top 5 trophy antelope units in Arizona. If The Huntin' Fool is way off on any of their selections I'll let you know that as well.

Tomorrow I'll review some of the strange things I've noticed while perusing the NEW ARIZONA ANTELOPE REGS.

Until then...Tally Ho!

Dec 19, 2006

Pictures

I realized that a guessing game on a blog might not be a good idea, at least in the beginning of the blogs existence, mostly because readers may or may not come back to the blog once a week. They may only show up once every two weeks or some other wacky time interval - even though I'm posting new blogs every day.

So, I'm going to save the buck below for another day.

Tomorrow I'll post some more pictures on my website at www.pronghornguideservice.com

Tally Ho.

Dec 18, 2006

Guessing Game


Here's a fun game and usually a very tough game. It's the game everyone knows as "guess the score!" So, with only one view, everyone try to guess the score of this buck. If you want to leave your guess below (post as a comment) you don't even have to write in your name - you can be anonymous if you want.

Make sure you list your scores for all your measurements. If we get at least ten guesses I'll send the winner (the one who guessed the overall gross score the closest) a free VHS copy of Size Is Everything. Of course, to get the free video you'll have to list your score with your name - you can't be anonymous.

Thanks in advance to all who participate. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them. The guessing game will run until Friday at 3 PM. Now, guess away and good luck.

Oh, I almost forgot - we're trying to guess the score of the narrow buck that's facing us on the left side of the picture.

Tally Ho.

Dec 17, 2006

Picture Update

http://www.pronghornguideservice.com/ALIVE.htm

I've updated the website with 3 new pictures of bucks from back in the day.

OLB was a buck that lived on the Las Vegas Ranch in the mid-90's. Probably around 84 inches - not very heavy, but good length.

The Kid lived on The Fain Ranch in the mid/late-90's. We thought he'd score around 85-86. A buddy of ours shot at him once, but missed.

L also lived on The Fain Ranch. I shot at and missed him 3 different times in 1997. He would have scored nearly 94 inches that year. L was taken the next year from one of our blinds by Rusty Ulmer. He passed on Sticks, a buck that was probably "only" 19 inches at the time, to take L. L had a broken tip and consequently net scored "only" 89 6/8.

The Fain Ranch has since lost, from what we can tell, all of the 90 caliber bucks that it used to hold year after year. Shortly after the transplant where they removed about 200 antelope the infamous drought of 2002 hit and nearly decimated the population. The archers, in turn, whacked the herd at an astonishing rate that year by hunting the waterholes - the one place the bucks HAD to go in 2002.

The Fain Ranch is currently working on bringing back the genetics, or trying to anyway. I hope they're successful. As it stands now, I wouldn't apply for a 19A archery hunt (if you're hoping for a trophy hunt) until things get better.

Tally Ho.

Dec 16, 2006

Distance and Judging


Rumors float around on the internet, in Sportsman's and Cabela's, in the local gun shops and by word of mouth from one buddy to another. Every year we chase rumors. Last year we chased rumors for weeks. None of them panned out. Most of the time we never saw a buck even remotely similar to the one described. Some of the time we found the buck we were sent to find - never was it as big as promised.

Do hunters just lie and start rumors to screw with people? I don't think so, at least not for the most part. I like to think hunters tell the truth and are all around good people.

Then why are so many rumors, year after year, simply not true.

I believe there are several reasons - one of which has to do with distance.

In order to accurately judge an antelope's horns we've determined that you have to be close! REAL CLOSE. Perhaps 50 yards with your 10x binos. That should usually be close enough. Are you surprised with that ridiculous and unrealistic number? I know, it sucks, but it's true. It's tough to get within 300 yards of most antelope on The Plateau, let alone 50 yards.

You can multiply it out for spotting scopes and it looks like this:

50 yds - 10x
100 yds - 20x
200 yds - 40x
300 yds - 60x

The 300 yard number looks reasonable at first glance, but there's more to it than just the numbers. If at 300 yards there's bright sunlight you're usually going to be looking through a bunch of heat waves. This will distort your view and render accurate field judging useless. These numbers are only accurate under perfect light conditions and with top of the line glass. With poor light and/or poor glass you'd have to cut a 1/3 to 1/2 off those numbers depending on how confident you are with your judging abilities.

What does all this have to do with misleading rumors? Next time you hear a rumor of a 90 inch buck or a 100 inch buck ask the hunter how far away the buck was when he saw it. Ask him what kind of binoculars he was using. If he says 15x, then run the other direction, because he shouldn't have been using binoculars - that was a trick question. If the buck was 500 yards away you have enough information to form a pretty good opinion of what the hunter really saw.

If you have any thoughts or questions please comment below.

Tally Ho.

To the Future

This is the new format. All the old blogs are here, but they may be jumbled around. To check them out just find the archive section somewhere in the right panel and click on the title of the one you want to read.

This new format is amazing and will allow me to update and archive everything without having to think about it. I'll never skip a blog this way either because it's just so easy.

I'll be limiting the blogs to one or two new pictures each time, but on the flip side I may be able to blog more often - probably anywhere from once a week to 4 or 5 times a week.

I'm not going to adhere strictly to the Monday and Friday posting schedule anymore either. This way if I have timely information I'll just post it right away instead of waiting for the next Monday or next Friday so come back as often as you can or as often as you'd like to see World Record caliber antelope and talk about them.

Lastly, this new format will allow you to leave comments, which I'd greatly appreciate. As many comments as you want as often as you want. Ask questions or just leave your opinion or whatever you want.

This is your blog so I'd like for it to be the very best on planet!

Dec 15, 2006

Wide Bucks


If you ever run into a rancher you'll be sure to hear that they've seen a huge buck somewhere on their ranch. We chase these rumors every year and these bucks most of the time are not very big, but they ARE wide!

Why is that we confuse wide bucks with huge bucks? I think there a several reasons.

1. I think the hunting of other species such as mule deer, where spread is positively correlated to B&C score, has caused a lot of us to focus on spread as a "size indicator."

2. I also think that it's a similar effect to what I've been talking about with flared pronged bucks and high pronged bucks - that width gives the illusion of bigness. Think of an upside down pizza wedge on top of a bucks head (funny picture I think.) Now, the greater the distance from one side of the crust to the other the larger the pizza slice will be. With an antelope's horns, though, that distance is imaginary because the bucks horn tips don't grow together, but the illusion is still there. Basically, the empty space captured between the bucks horn is being perceived as size.

3. Spread makes it very difficult to accurately judge horn length. From the side the buck will look short and his to the prong measurement (TPM) will look tiny - maybe 4-inches or something. This will cause most hunters to basically guess and when we start guessing and our mind tells us that the buck looks big then we usually start guessing on the high end of the spectrum. This is usually a mistake, since statistically most bucks score on the low end of the spectrum (or else the B&C record book wouldn't be a valuable reference.)

Tally Ho.

Flared Prongs




Bucks with flared prongs are often thought of as being huge! A colleague of mine once declared, "I'm never going to shoot a buck with flared prongs again!" He'd been burned. I'd never recommend going to that extreme, but flared pronged bucks should definitely be looked at and judged with caution. They will usually appear much larger than they are - even if they ARE 90 inches.

The reason for this is probably similar to the reason high prongs make bucks look so big, except flared pronged bucks ARE NOT actually any bigger than their counterparts. They're most likely similar in size (according to horn weight) to an equal buck with non-flared prongs. The reason they look larger is most likely that, from the front view, the "apparent mass" or "horn mass illusion" is visually distorting.

From the front view you can see much more black on a flared buck than on a non-flared buck. This is pronounced when viewed from the back. Of course none of this would be a problem except that flared pronged bucks usually score lower than bucks with prongs that point out straight or hook inward.

Some key points to consider regarding most flared pronged bucks:

1. The inside of their horn will usually be slightly turned toward you when viewing them from the front view. This will again increase their "apparent mass." This is generally a bad thing for score because bucks shaped like this usually have smaller bottom mass than they should.

2. Their prongs will usually be shorter than they appear! This one is important. A buck like this will have prongs that enter into the very outside of his horns and consequently the buck will have a smaller "Behind the Prong Measurement."

If you're confused about what I mean look at the illustration above. This is what a bucks horn might look like if you looked down on the buck from the sky. As you can see, the BPM is reduced the more flared the bucks prongs are.

3. From the side view most times their prongs will be almost invisible or at least shorter than they appeared from the front view. This can be deceiving in an almost opposite way - the buck could be a huge buck and look very thin from the side view because his prongs may be pointing straight at you.

With all this there are even more reasons that I'm not going to discuss about why flared prongs need to be scrutinized before taken. Would I take a flared buck? Of course, they're pretty.

Tally Ho.

High Prongs, Part 2


Let's discuss why high prongs make bucks look bigger and why that might not always be the case. Also, we'll cover what to do about it when field judging.

For starters, according to our records, bucks with high prongs actually ARE bigger, but not by your usual methods of measuring. According to actual horn mass by means of weighing each horn using a scale, bucks with high prongs, relatively speaking, weigh more than bucks with lower prongs.

For instance, the bucks Big Wampum and Terminator are only within a few grams of each other and Big Wampum is actually the one that weighs a few extra grams MORE even though he scores far less according to B&C!

What you're seeing in the field is an actual horn mass difference, but instead of disregarding this for B&C and SCI scoring, your brain tells you that the high pronged buck is bigger (which it probably is) and now you're adding it into your judging assessment. Basically, in the field, you're seeing a 2 1/4 inch wide tube that is 10 inches long on Big Wampum and a 2 3/4 inch wide tube that is 7 inches long on Terminator. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which one will have more of that classic "black horn" look that we all long to see before we pull the trigger.

Because you only get two measurements (typically) below the prong for B&C you can quickly see that Terminator will have far more mass below the prong. Are you wrong to think that Big Wampum is heavier below the prong than Terminator? Nope. You'd just be incorrect if you added that "fake" size into your score.

Now you know why and how to modify your thinking while you're in the field.

Tally Ho.

Huge bucks and HUGE BUCKS


Sometimes bucks that look huge are HUGE, but sometimes they're not and when they're not you're in deep trouble if you're a guide or outfitter. If you're not, you still won't be happy to experience "ground shrinkage". No one is last I checked.

Characteristics that make bucks look huge when they may not be:
*High prongs
*Flared prongs
(where the prongs, from a head on view, point outwards)
*Wide spread

There are others, but we'll focus on these three for now.

Now, these bucks do usually make for beautiful trophies and great mounts, but oftentimes you should lower your expectations on horn size or you could end up disappointed.

Do some of these types of bucks score over 90? You bet. Do they routinely baffle people when they don't? You bet!

Tally Ho.

High Prongs


I was in New Mexico in a tiny hotel in a tiny town when I showed Dave the pictures I took that morning of two huge bucks - bucks we were hopefully going to get with our hunters in the next couple days. Dave exclaimed that Big Wampum was going to be the biggest buck taken on our ranch. I wasn't sure. I thought Terminator might be a bit bigger. I knew that Big Wampum's high prongs were weighing on his decision and I also knew that I had to take into account the WOW factor that Big Wampum exuded!

Big Wampum and Terminator have very different horn configurations. Wampum's prongs are close to 10 inches up his main horn while Terminator's prongs are closer to 7 inches up. Both bucks are just over 17 inches long.

Most hunters, like Dave, think that Big Wampum is bigger than Terminator.

Terminator nets over 93 inches; Big Wampum nets around 87 inches.

High prong characteristics:
*Shorter prongs
*Smaller bottom mass
*Slightly larger top mass
*Longer horns


Low prong characteristics:
*Longer prongs
*Larger bottom mass
*Slightly smaller top mass
*Shorter horns


Other than possibly having longer horns high prongs are only good for one other thing - SCI. If they're high enough the buck may receive three mass measurements under his prong!

Tally Ho.

Big Areas and Big Bucks


The biggest bucks in the world are in Arizona and New Mexico, but you already knew that. Did you know that the biggest bucks in the world are also in Oregon and Nevada? Most hunters don't think of Oregon and Nevada when they think of 90 inch bucks, but those two states have them and the 90's they do have are just as big as the 90's we have - only farther north.

In Nevada it's tough to find the monsters because of the trecherous rocky terrain and the fact that the antelope up there sometimes live right where the deer and sheep live! There aren't as many 90's so they're tough to find. I'd recommend sticking to the northwest corner if you're really looking for a trophy.

As for Oregon - they have 90's, too. I think Oregon could easily produce a 95 inch buck again (Sam Barry's buck scored 94 6/8 after 60 days of drying.) The areas to look are mostly in the southeast of the state near the big ponds. Hart Mountain is good as are the Beatty's and I've heard good things about the Steens Mountains, but I didn't see squat when I was there - probably in the wrong area.

I might get more specific in the next blog on where exactly the biggest bucks are in Arizona since the draw is right around the corner. Stay tuned.

Tally Ho.