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August 30: Deanna Owen

DeAnna’s hand gripped the foregrip of her PSE Fang crossbow as her eyes remained trained on the buck antelope standing at 50 yards. Should she take the long shot shoot or risk waiting for a better one?

Having hunted antelopes without success the prior year, DeAnna was looking at would could become her first ever speed goat. It was day three of her Nebraska hunt with Hidden Hills Outfitters and her window of opportunity was gradually closing.

She and husband Rod had seen around 30 antelopes on the trip up to this point, but after a blown spot stalk on day one, the pressure was mounting. Seated in their Muddy VS 360 blind on day three, the two scanned the area around the pond they had set up on, waiting for movement.

As evening approached, two bucks began cautiously approaching the pond. DeAnna shifted in her chair as her heart began to race. Both antelopes paused at 50 yards and remained there for a tense 40 minutes. DeAnna and Rod watched in anticipation, parsing every movement each buck made trying to discern if they would come closer.

DeAnna wanted to take the shot right there. Rod encouraged her to wait, which was a good thing. The larger of the two bucks eventually worked his way down to 23 yards and offered a broadside shot. She leveled the scope of her PSE Fang against the animal’s vitals and squeezed the trigger.

Her bolt struck the antelope and passed cleanly through the other side, the Rage Crossbow head punching a gaping wound channel through the vitals. After a twenty dash, her first ever antelope lay expired on the ground. DeAnna was officially a successful antelope hunter.

Despite multiple spot and stalks, a few misses, a wetter than usual August and a blind that got blown into a pond, DeAnna stuck with her pursuit. Because she persevered and waited for just the right shot, she’s got a freezer full of antelope meat and a strong appreciation for how challenging archery antelope hunting can be.     

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.