This post is based on a conversation I had with dad about a month ago, and he shared some insights that I hadn’t quite pieced together in my own mind yet. I have always thought that pronghorn hunting should not be as fun as it is – stated another way, the experience of antelope hunting is always more fun and more enjoyable and more satisfying than you would predict given the old adage “anything worth having is worth working hard for.” Because let’s be honest – most of the time, a hunter does not have to work hard to fill his antelope tag.
For the Eastern white-tail hunter (long way of identifying hunters like my dad), it’s an ultra-packed compression of an entire season’s long effort into what could potentially boil down to a 60 or 90 minute episode of extreme intensity. At most, the entire 3 or 4 months of a deer season grind will play out over the course of 5 or 6 days; it amplifies, magnifies, swells – several low low lows, several high high highs. In course of an Easterner’s whitetail deer season, you might have a week or two or even a month to recover from a low before you replace that feeling with a high (only exception might be from instant you release an arrow, suspect a hit, and the drama-filled sequence to recovery). In pronghorn hunting, the months-long journey of a deer season transpires almost overnight, sometimes quite literally. That rollercoaster of emotion is what a pronghorn hunt is at its heart.
Pronghorn hunting is supremely enjoyable for adults, but think about the implications for introducing new hunters to the outdoors, or better yet – children and youth. It is exactly these sort of experiences that offer promise of action, animals, some shooting, and likely a filled tag. While punching tags should not be the end-all-be-all of any hunt, success sure goes a long ways in ensuring that introductory moment to the outdoors is a memorable one, and provides a taste that keeps young (can also be read new) hunters engaged, interested, and hungry for more.