dakota hunting tripsSouth Dakota
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This was a first four days hunt of the South Dakota pronghorn season. My son who has bowhunted whitetail very successfully but never hunted pronghorn, was on this hunt with me. I have bowhunted 42 years, three times very successfully for pronghorns. I was three for three after passing smaller bucks, on day one twice and day two once. The previous hunts were in this general area, with a different outfitter. It had been a very wet year, so the out fitter ruled out water hole hunting. The outfitter was to set up blinds for us and we hunted from them. Here are the issues. The blinds were set up less than 24 hours before we started our hunt. They were set in alfalfa fields near fence crossings. There was a total of two blinds set for the two of us. The antelope were not accustomed to the blinds being there and they absolutely avoided them. I had occasions where antelope were following a fence line and would have come in range. They stopped at 150 yards, stared at the blind, and turned and left. My son had the same observation multiple times, however on the second day, one doe came to 40 yards and he arrowed it. I sat in blinds 45 hours and never had a buck inside of 200 yards and a doe inside of 150 yards. I paid $3100 for this hunt, and the outfitter only put up a total of two blinds, and did not put them up early enough for the antelope to get accustomed to them. This is really not at all complicated. If blinds, and preferably more than one per person had been set up and set up a week or two earlier, we likely would have had a chance at getting a shot. This was a four day hunt. At the end of day three when I had been in the blind another 15 hours, I glassed both large alfalfa fields and the surrounding area. There was no antelope. I did not waste my time hunting the fourth day.
Was the outfitter notified of problems? - YES
This was a very wet and green year for the north west part of South Dakota and knowing this was going to be a hard early season hunt because antelope we spread out and water everywhere. Dale and his son booked an unguided hunt with a couple blinds set up in the best spot to be successful. Dale was told to bring his own blind to put up where he would like. Rancher had been keeping an eye on the antelope and didn't know for sure on where to put the blinds and left it up to me. After 24 hours of glassing and watching the animals i placed the blinds in the best spot next to one of 300 bales at a fence crossing. The other blind next to one of 200 bales at another crossing. Double Bull Blinds look like just another bale when there are 300 in the field, we move them to different spots all the time. When Dale and his son arrived at the ranch I (Chris Peterson) was showing them the ranch and blinds, we witnessed multiple doe and one nice buck cross the fence directly in front of one blind, Dale stated (this looks promising). After that I showed them thousands of acres they could hunt and many bucks and doe. This was a unguided hunt, with access to 10,000 private acres. I don't know for sure what went on because I was not there but his son did shoot one the second day? Exactly where I told them they were crossing. Then the son left and didn't help his dad? Dale told me they were crossing down the fence from him 300 yards, I asked him why didn't he put up his blind at that crossing, he Text me (Maybe I Should Have)
weather had no impact on this hunt