Most talked about products from the 2020 ATA Show

David Bolden August 21, 2020 0
Most talked about products from the 2020 ATA Show


By Brad KaufmannJanuary 16, 2020

LAST UPDATED: February 24th, 2020

2020 is shaping up to be another great year for archery and hunting innovation.  After walking the show floor for 3 days and looking at hundreds of new products, we’ve assembled our list of the most talked about new products from the 2020 ATA trade show.


PSE Nock On Edition Bows


Perhaps the biggest announcement made at the 2020 ATA Show, was that John Dudley and PSE have partnered up to unleash a Nock On series of bows. The first 2 Nock On Edition bows are the Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 and the EVO NTN 33. The EVO NTN 33, has a brace height of 7 inches, an axle to axle of 33 inches, and weighs in at 4 ½ pounds. The draw length ranges between 26 and 31 ½ inches, and it has an IBO speed between 314 and 322 feet per second. The Nock On Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 has a 6 and 1/8th inch brace height. It’s axle to axle is 32 and 1/8th inches long. The draw length ranges between 25 and 30 ½ inches, and the draw weight options range from 50 to 80 pounds. The IBO rating is between 324 and 332 feet per second, and thanks to carbon construction it weighs in at only 3.5 pounds. The EVO NTN 33 will come at a price point of $1199, and the Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 is priced at $1699. Both bows will be available at your local PSE dealer in March 2020.

Scent Crusher – Rapid Mobile Shower


Scent Crusher unveiled a few new products at the 2020 ATA Show, but the one that created the most buzz is called the Rapid Mobile Shower. It was designed to deodorize you during the truck ride to your hunting spot, so all you need to do is strip down to your base layers, climb into the suit, plug it in to your cigarette lighter, and let it work its magic! Elastic around the wrists, ankles, and neck keep ozone inside the suit and a vent on the left shoulder releases the ozone out the driver’s side window as you’re driving. The Rapid Mobile Shower will be available this summer, and retails at $199.

Annihilator Broadheads

The Annihilator team set out to eliminate the surfaces which can cause broadheads to fly inconsistently, and in turn, created a rugged fixed-blade broadhead that flies just like a field point. By adding surface area to the broadhead with the back-scoop wedge, you will get an increase in penetration due to the displaced material being pushed away from the center mass of the arrow, thus reducing friction. The Annihilator is made of one solid piece of 4140 Alloy, which is one of the toughest steels available. A 3 pack of 100 grain heads is $54.99, and a 3 pack of 125 grain heads, comes in at $56.99. They are designed and manufactured in the USA, and are available directly through the Annihilator Broadheads website.

Kirsch Hunting – Bloodhound XTN

Stealth Cam – Fusion Cellular Camera

Stealth Cam Fusion

Stealth Cam ups their game for 2020 with the introduction of their all-new Fusion cellular camera. The biggest improvement of the new Fusion cell camera is its simplicity in setup. Setup is quick and easy without all the hassle of excessive buttons and menu options. Once the batteries are installed, all you have to do is scan the QR code on the inside of the camera, and pull up the Stealth Cam Command app on your phone. From there, all the settings can be updated and adjusted to your liking, without ever having to open the camera. It’s a 26 megapixel camera with an 80 foot range that is available for both AT&T and Verizon networks, and plans start at as little as $4 per month. The Stealth Cam Fusion has an MSRP of $149.99 and will be available in April 2020.

ScentLok OZ – NFuse Ozone Sprayer


This all-new scent-killing spray was designed to replace the typical field spray to save you time and money.  Simply fill the NFuse Ozone Sprayer with tap water, plug it into the charger and let it sit for 60-90 seconds while the Ozone diffuses into the water. After that short wait, it’s ready to be applied. According to 3rd party laboratories, it’s been proven to kill up to 99.9 percent of odor causing bacteria. And even though it’s made by a hunting company, there are many other practical uses for it including; spraying down a food prep area, cleaning out a fishing livewell, and many others.  And it even sprays upside down! It will be available this summer, and comes at a price of $129.99.

SpyPoint – Cell-Link Cellular Attachment

One of the hottest new products at this year’s show is the Cell-Link Attachment from Spypoint.  Spypoint says it can turn any regular trail camera into a cellular camera. Using the SD card slot in your standard trail camera, you plug the Cell-Link in using the included SD card adapter and micro ribbon cable.  Images are then sent directly from your trail camera to the Cell-Link, and then uploaded to Spypoint’s servers. Cellular plans are purchased directly through SpyPoint, and they are available in either Verizon or AT&T. The Cell-Link retails for $59.99 and will be available in April 2020.

Tethrd – Phantom Tree Saddle

One of the hottest booths at this year’s ATA show was the Tethrd tree saddle booth. It was buzzing each day of the show with attendees getting a closer look at the unique style of hunting that is changing the game for mobile deer hunters across the country. The Phantom tree saddle weighs in super light at just over 1 pound. When combined with the 3 pound Predator platform, it makes for the ultimate run-n-gun mobile hunting setup. It easily packs in your backpack, or can be worn as you walk in to your hunting area, much like when wearing a safety harness. Not only does the saddle keep you more flexible in the tree, but you’ll hunt more comfortably as well. The Tethrd Phantom tree saddle will start shipping out in February, and will be priced at $249.

Wartorn Archery – Spitfire Archery Trainer

The Spitfire Archery Trainer from Wartorn Archery had a lot of people talking at this year’s ATA show with its simple design built to make you a better archer. This shot trainer gives you direct feedback on how to improve your grip when shooting your bow. It has 2 laser engraved hash marks that will show whether or not you are torquing your bow at full draw. It also features a bubble level on top that gives feedback on your vertical axis. The draw length is fully adjustable and can be measured to fit your bows exact length. The Spitfire also has a threaded hole where you can mount a stabilizer to give it an even more realistic feel when practicing. The full package includes 3 different colored bubble levels, as well as a carrying case. It packs a hefty price tag of $169.99.

Out On A Limb – Shikar Climbing Sticks

Continuing with the trend of light-weight products made for mobile hunters, Out On A Limb has created a brand new, lightweight, customizable climbing stick called the Shikar. At only 24 ounces, the Shikar is the lightest climbing stick the industry has to offer, and when folded down, their profile is about an inch wide. The Shikar is offered with single or double step options. When folded, the double step sticks are 27 inches long, and the single step sticks are 23 inches in length. The steps are 17 ⅛” apart, support up to 300 lbs and are 100% made in america.  They also feature a built-in aid attachment hole at the bottom of each stick for those looking to get some extra height from their setup. The Shikar climbing sticks are currently available at Out On A Limb’s website, and can be purchased for $90-$100 per stick depending on options.

Brad is a full time employee with He works behind the scenes with both the Bowhunt or Die Webshow, and many of the videos and articles that produces.

4 Features Your Hunting Map App Should Have

By Brodie SwisherAugust 17, 2020

Smartphone technology has changed the way many hunters play the game each time they step into the woods. Mapping apps are the latest rage, affording hunters a wealth of information about the land they plan to hunt, long before they ever put boots on the ground.

But for all the information found in these apps, there are some basics you want to make sure you don’t miss. Here’s a look at 4 features your hunting map app should have.

Which mapping app features do you rely on the most?

1. Property Boundaries

To keep you safe and legal, your mapping app should have property boundaries included. Many hunters learn the  importance of this feature the hard way.

The best apps have this feature. In it you’ll find property info, boundary information, property owner names, property size and property perimeter.

It’s the perfect feature to show you where you are in relation to where you need to be.

Knowing a property owners name goes a long ways when it comes to knocking on doors and build relationships as you seek out hunting permission.

Let’s be honest, many of the places we hunt don’t come with adequate cell service. We go in deep to leave the crowds behind, and this often means leaving behind our ability to stay connected.

That’s why it’s so important to have a mapping app that allows you to go offline. Offline mapping allows you to ditch the GPS and work off your saved maps within your phone.

No signal. No problem. Just be sure your phone has this feature.

The ability to go offline, and measurement tools are a few features you’ll want to make sure you have at your fingertips.

3. Area Measurement

An area measurement tool can be the food plot manager’s best friend. You can use this tool to accurately measure the area of any shape.

This is great for determining how much seed or fertilizer you may need for a field or food plot.

No more walking it off, or other time-consuming tactics to layout a plot. Just use the area measurement tool on your hunting map app.

Want to see how many acres a particular piece of public ground is? No problem. Just measure it with an area management tool and you’re good to go.

One tool I use more than any other on my mapping app is the distance measurement tool. The options are endless with this one. From navigating the way back to the truck, to narrowing down shot distance opportunities, to knowing how close you are hunting to your buddy’s stand – this feature does all the work for you.

This tool can measure the distance between any two points, or a series of points, in feet, yards, or meters. So whether you’re heading out, or trying to find your way back, this feature can be a lifesaver.

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.

How My Dad Created a Lifelong Bowhunter

By Patrick DurkinAugust 14, 20201 Comment

My dad was never much of a hunter or fisherman, but that didn’t stop him from raising me to hunt and fish.

Dad found more fun and satisfaction in golfing, gardening and the Green Bay Packers. Even so, he also found time to teach me how to shoot guns, clean fish, dress rabbits, tie a blood knot, and handle guns safely. But he was no slouch in the outdoors. He was deadly with rifles and shotguns, and often rushed my three brothers and me to Madison area waters when perch, trout, bluegills or bullheads were biting.

How My Dad Created A Lifelong Bowhunter
Who introduced you to the wild places you’ve grown to know and love for hunting?

Those firefighters were also Dad’s telephone hotline for fishing reports. That was long before email, Internet forums, text messages, or even dial-up tape-recorded fishing reports. Not all hot tips paid off, of course, but when they did, Dad called Donnie Adams or Charlie Merkle to say we “slaughtered them.”

I’ve wondered if I would have become a lifelong golfer or fantasy-sports geek if not for Dad’s firefighter friends. After all, when reporting on today’s struggles to “recruit” new hunters, bowhunters and anglers, I’m struck by how much gear, time, transportation and learning these activities require compared to “ball sports.”

But neither Dad nor his friends considered me a potential recruit to restock hunting and fishing’s ranks. They just knew I liked “all that stuff,” and taught me what they could in the time provided.

I was stunned. My own experiences told me that was impossible. I still hear Ward’s aluminum arrows rattling against each other 52 years later, reminding me that my own limitations aren’t universal.

As Wisconsin’s gun-deer season loomed in November 1971, I asked Mom if she could ask an uncle to take me along. He declined, explaining he was just a guest where he hunted. When Dad returned home, he called fire station No. 4 and asked Merkle to take me.

Dad dropped me off at 7 a.m. that Friday at Merkle’s house. I had Dad’s 12-gauge Remington 11-48, a hand-me-down red/plaid Woolrich jacket with blue-jean elbow patches, and the latest in safety wear: a blaze-orange hat and gloves. An hour later I was riding up Highway 51 with Merkle and another firefighter, Kermit Hermanson, toward Star Lake in Vilas County.

How My Dad Created A Lifelong Bowhunter
Fire Chief Ed Durkin of Madison, Wisconsin, retired in 1985 and died in 2017.

Our drive ended five hours later, giving Merkle time before dark to show me where I’d sit, and where the deer might appear Saturday. We never fired a shot opening day, but I saw four deer, including one with spike antlers too stubby to meet the legal 3-inch minimum.

Dad was on duty Sunday, so he was waiting at Hermanson’s deer shack when I returned at dark. I told him my deer stories over supper and then we started our five-hour return home. We saw a big buck crossing the road a half-mile from the shack, its eyes reflecting our station wagon’s headlights when it paused to taunt me.

A couple of weeks later Dad heard me bellyaching about freezing on Lake Monona’s early ice while catching perch. He called Adams, a former Marine who survived Vietnam, and asked if he would take me ice-fishing.

Dad left me with Adams early Saturday, and minutes later Adams and I dragged his homemade pop-up shanty onto Monona’s ice from Morrison Park. We spent the morning catching perch while I studied the shanty and asked for building tips.

Two Novembers later, Mom complained to Dad on Thanksgiving night that my cache of dressed squirrels and rabbits was crowding the stand-up freezer. She had nowhere to store leftovers from the day’s feast. Dad called Vic Stormer, a firefighter who worked with him at fire station No. 7. Stormer was a renowned cook, and scheduled to work Saturday’s shift with Dad. He and his wife lived in a duplex a block away.

“Pat, take all of your squirrels and rabbits over to Vic’s place,” Dad said.

“All of them?”

Dad shot me a look, but didn’t answer. In our home, you didn’t question an order you understood. All he said was,

“You’re joining us at No. 7 for supper Saturday night.”

When I arrived at Stormer’s door 20 minutes later, he flicked through my box of rabbits and squirrels. “They look good,” he said. “That should feed everyone.”

Saturday’s feast was the best rabbit and squirrel I ever tasted. All the firefighters thanked me for bringing the meat, but I sensed eating small-game wasn’t novel at No. 7. In fact, Stormer was more interested in hearing where I planned to hunt deer the next day.

How My Dad Created A Lifelong Bowhunter
Be sure to take the time to thank the ones that introduced you to the hunting and outdoor lifestyle before they’re gone.

When learning I didn’t own a deer rifle, Stormer called his wife and said: “Pat Durkin will stop by about 8. Get my deer rifle out of the closet, and make sure a box of .270 shells is inside the case. He’ll return it Monday.”

I recall thanking Dad and his fellow firefighters for each of their many favors. But I never thanked any of them for their roles in making me a lifelong hunter, bowhunter and fisherman. After all, that was never their intention nor my conscious goal.

But it seemed appropriate to thank them this year on Father’s Day, and be grateful they shared their time, expertise and fraternity all those years ago.

Patrick Durkin
PresidentatWisconsin Outdoor Communicators Association
Patrick Durkin is a lifelong bowhunter and full-time freelance outdoor writer/editor who lives in Waupaca, Wisconsin. He has covered hunting, fishing and outdoor issues since 1983. His work appears regularly in national hunting publications, and his weekly outdoors column has appeared regularly in over 20 Wisconsin newspapers since 1984.

Big Buck Profile: The Whacky Rack Buck

By Josh HoneycuttAugust 12, 20201 Comment

Buck Score: 188 4/8 inches (gross)

Date Harvested: October 5, 2019

Location: Illinois

Weapon Used: Crossbow

Chris Kelly has hunted deer since he was a child, but he’s been obsessed with chasing big bucks for the past 15 years. As a result, he’s bagged several nice ones and picked up tons of sheds. To him, it isn’t about the kill so much as the adventure, camaraderie and experiences, though.

“Even on the rare occasion that I don’t see deer, I just love being outdoors and experiencing what God has made for us to enjoy,” Kelly says. “I purchased the farm I killed this buck on five years ago, but leased the ground to the north for about 10 years before that.”

That history led to a legendary pursuit for an incredible buck.

Big Buck Profile: The Whacky Rack Buck
Here’s a look at the buck that caught Kelly’s attention in the early days in the year when he broke off his left side.


It all started in 2017. The deer broke off its left side early on, and Kelly saw the deer from the stand several times. He believes that break eventually caused the buck to grow a wacky rack the next year.

In 2018, this buck grew quite a bit, and had pretty interesting non-typical antlers. Still, the Illinois bowhunter passed on all five shot opportunities the deer presented — three with a bow and two with a shotgun. He opted to give the deer one more year.

“I have both sheds from last year and they are the first two sheds my shed-hunting dog ‘Remington’ found on his own,” Kelly says.

By October, he was ready.

Big Buck Profile: The Whacky Rack Buck
Kelly gave the buck a pass in 2018 despite having a number of opportunities to take him during both archery and gun seasons.

The Hunt

October 4th arrived, and Kelly decided to make a move on the deer. It resulted in quite the encounter. “I listened to this buck fight hard for more than 20 minutes,” he says. “The fight lasted so long I debated on whether or not to try and stalk them, using a drainage ditch. I was concerned they were locked up because of the unique rack. Then, he walked out, tongue hanging out, headed for the stream to my right and disappeared toward a food plot.”

The next day brought 62 degrees, moderate southeasterly winds and a 29.3 barometric pressure — not terrible conditions for early October, mind you. He eased along his entry route, taking great care to avoid spooking deer as he went. Finally, he reached his destination — a large clover field in a bottom that borders CREP. He slowly reached the elevated, 8-foot blind, stowed his gear, and steadied his hand. The waiting game began.

To the right, a stand of old, tall trees reached skyward. A quiet stream bubbled parallel to them. Clusters of lush, green clover and other deer foods sprawled out in the field in front of the stand. To the rear, thick CREP stands proud beneath another long ridge. Beyond? A food-rich alfalfa field. Needless to say, in this spot, deer have everything they need to live a good life.

“Sure enough, there was the deer I was after, and heading straight toward the smaller buck,” he says. “As they got closer, the smaller one — which was between me and my target buck — veered around him. He did not want to fight. The buck I was after kept coming toward me, then turned broadside.”

Kelly took the 38-yard shot opportunity, and the bolt blew through both shoulders. The buck took off, ran back to the left and disappeared beyond a group of cedars. The shook-up hunter waited 15 minutes, backed out, and went to a friend’s house. They waited two hours before taking up the track. But it didn’t take long to find the 188 4/8-inch, early season buck.

Big Buck Profile: The Whacky Rack Buck
A well executed plan resulted in the buck of a lifetime for Chris Kelly.

Tactical Reflection

Reflecting back on the hunt for this amazing whitetail, Kelly attributes numerous tactical decisions for his success. First, he moved a tower blind into what he believed was the best spot to kill this buck. There were no trees for a stand where he needed to be.

Secondly, he created diversity in his food plot by alternating 20-foot strips of clover, beans, peas, turnips, radishes, etc. This proved a great decision, because it kept pulling deer back to that spot for a lengthy period of time. A few mock scrapes provided extra incentive to move through that area.

“This may not be my largest buck ever, but I doubt I can ever beat the character of this deer,” Kelly says. “Reflecting back on the whole thing, it seems like God had a plan and I was along for the ride. I’m just glad I was there for it.”

Josh Honeycutt
Josh Honeycutt is an avid deer hunter. He’s hunted whitetails from South Carolina to South Dakota but spends most of his time hunting in Kentucky. Honeycutt has written and created other forms of media for more than 60 media companies in the outdoor industry, including: North American Whitetail, Whitetail Journal, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Deer & Deer Hunting, Rack Magazine, Inside Archery, Game & Fish, Fur-Fish-Game, and others. He’s also very active in digital content, specializing in writing, editing, photography, videography, podcasting, and more. You can see how his deer season unfolds each year on Midwest Whitetail and Chasing November.

Everything You Need to Know About Your First Antelope Hunt

By Dustin DeCrooAugust 10, 20201 Comment

Pronghorn archery seasons across the country are drawing near, 2020 has been a wild year and it seems the anticipation of this hunting season has been unmatched by previous years. By now, you should have your tag in hand, be flinging arrows daily and counting the days to the first day of your hunt.

Preparing for your first antelope hunt can be somewhat intimidating, simply because it can be difficult to prepare for things you’ve never done, in places you’ve never been. To help you get prepared, here’s a look at everything you need to know about your first antelope hunt.

antelope in alfalfa field
Antelope season is almost here! Are you ready?

The cliché saying, “Preparation is the key to a successful hunt,” couldn’t ring more true with any other western game hunt. The terrain, arid climate, wide open spaces and visual sharpness of these critters are things you can only understand after you arrive at your hunting destination.

Hunting pronghorn, antelope, speed goats – call them what you will – can be an extremely humbling experience, even for those hunters that are the most prepared for their hunt.

Before we get into all the “fun stuff” about antelope hunting, let’s get familiar with the animal we’re chasing.

Pronghorn antelope are a truly incredible, beautiful and impressive animal, and regardless of what you’ve heard, they are excellent table fare. “Goats,” as they’re often referred to, are generally lighter in weight than most people expect.

The average antelope buck will weigh roughly 100-120 lbs. on the hoof.  You can expect to take home between 40-60 lbs. of meat depending on shot placement and the size of your goat. Antelope hair stands up much more than a deer and makes them look bigger than that. Obviously, they are known for being the second fastest land animal on the planet. And it is true. They often times like to race the truck.

The anatomy of a pronghorn is very similar to that of a whitetail. If anything is different, the vitals may sit a slight bit further forward than deer.  The good news is that they have some excellent aiming points that stand out very well.

The armpit has very short hair that looks like a dark spot. The top of this spot is my favorite spot to settle my pin. Antelope have incredible eyesight. Some biologist state that their eyesight is equal to that of a pair of 7x binoculars, and I believe it.

Antelope are the perfect big game animal to kick off another bowhunting season.

These animals will eat almost anything, but have a taste for greens when it’s available. The most common archery hunting method is from ground blinds over water holes. The temperature, availability of lush feed, and rainfall all have a significant amount of impact on how frequent the goats will drink. Keep this in mind during your hunt.

Pronghorn have horns and they shed the outer shell each year.  Both bucks and does can have horns, but the only true way to tell the difference between the two is a black cheek patch at the back of the jawbone. This cheek patch is very visible even on yearling bucks.

The horns are measured in inches. Four circumference measurements, on length from the base to the tip of the horn and one measurement from the back of the horn to the tip of the prong will give you the score. Pope and Young minimum is 67” and  Boone and Crocket is 82”.

Realistic Expectations

Success. It’s the one thing that pretty much every single antelope hunter wants to achieve, right?  Of course, but before you go on your hunt, I urge you to think about what a “successful hunt” actually means.

Keep in mind there isn’t usually a wrong answer here. But if the only thing that makes your hunt a “success” is filling your tag or shooting a “16-incher,” you should also prepare for the dominant reality, tag soup. The archery success rate for antelope hunters is under 30% across the board, and it’s usually lower for non-resident hunters.

Hopefully, filling your tag won’t be the only criteria you have for a successful hunt. Hunting a new species, seeing new country, hunting through different methods, and enjoying the overall experience should rank at the top of your priority list for your first antelope hunt.

Set realistic expectations for yourself. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment in terms of horn size, shot opportunities, etc. Enjoy all aspects of the hunt and you’ll be successful regardless of what happens with your tag.

How do you measure success? Do you have realistic expectations heading into your first antelope hunt?


Archery antelope hunting is one of my favorite hunts each year. Whether it be a ground blind hunt at a water hole, fence crossing, alfala field, or a wide-open spot and stalk hunt, I truly enjoy every experience. Ground blind hunts are pretty straight forward. Find the spot where the antelope seem to be and sit there.

It’s easier to do at water, but don’t be afraid to set your blind in a field, or a meadow, or anywhere that you frequently see goats. You’re probably seeing them in the same spot for a reason, trust it. We’ve taken many antelope from a ground blind in the middle of a 60+ acre alfalfa fields. We see them in the same spot a few times and move the blind.

Let them see the blind from 300, 400, 500 yards. This is the distance where they’ll stare at the blind and after they determine it’s safe from that distance, your odds increase exponentially. If they pop up on the ridge and a new blind is set along the waterhole 70 yards from them, they get a little antsy.

You can be aggressive with ground blinds. Just remember to make sure they can see the blind from a distance and put in your time. Chances are good you’ll be rewarded with an opportunity.

Two of the most important things you can do to help yourself fill your tag on a spot and stalk hunt are: 1) Spend more time glassing and less time walking and 2) Don’t push the envelope. We’ll tackle these one at a time.

If you’re on “antelope vacation” for a week, you don’t want to spend any more time trying to actually find the critters than you need to, because that is only the beginning of actually shooting one. Use your optics to do the walking for you and save the tread on your boots for when you find one you want to go after.

When it gets to the 4th quarter of your hunt, go for it. But don’t pressure the antelope early in your hunt because they’re only getting wiser. When you find antelope in what seems like a good position, then go after them. If it is questionable, tap the brakes, and I promise it will pay off.

Another note of spot and stalk antelope hunting is that often times their “bubble” is about 70 yards (this may vary based on where you hunt).  This means, a lot of times during the archery season, they’ll let you get into 70-90 yards before they leave you watching white rumps and a dust trail.

todd's antelope buck
Graf with his Wyoming buck.

Meat Prep

One area that I see a lot of people unprepared is how to get their meat (and/or trophy) home. You can certainly be the guy or gal shopping Walmart at midnight looking for a cooler and dry ice to get your meat home, but that’s really not much fun.

Take a cooler (a good one) and be ready. Most western states have dry-ice readily available at grocery stores and meat processing plants. The rule of thumb with dry-ice, if you want to keep the stuff in your cooler “cool” put the dry-ice on the bottom. If you want your stuff to stay frozen, put the dry-ice on top.

If you’re carrying a cape for a mount in the same cooler, keep the cape dry in a trash bag. Your taxidermist will thank you when he doesn’t have to try and clean red blood out of white hair. Regardless of what your plan is, make sure that you have one before you shoot an antelope.

Either way, there are many great video tutorials on how to quarter and skin in the field, and even how to cape your buck. Do your part and try to be somewhat prepared. Nothing sucks the fun out of walking up on your first antelope like a feeling of, “what now?”

So, what should you do with the meat?  Eat it! It may be the best wild game you’ve ever eaten. I would personally trade my elk meat for antelope meat every single day of the week.

We have people vote on which is their favorite, and over 90% of the time, the “goat” wins the competition. In the field, if possible, get the animal skinned quickly. This doesn’t mean it has to be immediate, but don’t wait all day if you don’t have to.

If you’re going to quarter the antelope, make sure the hide is off before you put it in the cooler to cool down.  When it comes to cooking (as with any wild game) don’t over cook it, and you won’t be disappointed.

Matt Miller with his antelope buck with Big Horn Outfitters.

My personal favorite way to cook backstraps or loins is this:

Trim all the silver tendon skin off with a filet knife and cut the backstrap in half (leave tenders whole). The skinny end where the backstrap meets the neck will have some additional trimming.

When the piece of meat is trimmed super clean, it’s time for seasoning.  I change frequently based on what we have or what we feel like that day.  Generally, I will sprinkle Montreal steak seasoning, seasoned salt, garlic powder, dry mustard and pepper on both sides.

I like to get my grill as hot as I can and baste the meat with melted butter.  I flip the meat frequently, basting with butter before each flip, cook the meat to no more than 140 degree internal temp, then slice and serve.

Best Gear & Equipment

As archers, many of us are consumed by our equipment. We’re constantly asking about which arrows, broadheads, sights, bows, etc. are going to help us be more successful.  I’m constantly asked, “What is the best broadhead and/or arrow for antelope hunting?”

Unfortunately, this answer is different for nearly every hunter, and there are a lot of rabbit holes we could go down, but for the purpose of simplicity, I’ll give you this. The arrow you use truly doesn’t matter if you shoot it well.  Personally, I feel that a mid-weight arrow is the perfect combination of speed and momentum.

Antelope certainly have the capability to jump the string when the bow goes off and they do sometimes, but not nearly as often as the average whitetail.

Do you have the right equipment to get the job done on an antelope buck this season?

A 420-460 grain arrow for someone shooting 70 lbs. is a good example of what I would call a “mid-weight” arrow.  The arrow is simply the vehicle to deliver the broadhead to the target. I will never (and have never) complained about anyone showing up to antelope camp with a big nasty mechanical broadhead.

To be fair, fixed heads don’t bother me at all, but if I had my choice, I would pick mechanical heads 100% of the time for hunters shooting 50 pound draw weights or more. Pronghorn are quick, often times edgy animals, and I’ve seen far more imperfect shots on antelope than any other animal.

The majority of these hits are further back in the cavity than the shooter intended and because of that, I prefer the greater tissue damage that a mechanical generally exhibits than a small hole through the animal with an arrow buried in the sagebrush. I know, I know what the Ranch Fairy says…but let’s ask him how many pronghorn he’s seen shot with a bow.

Contrary to popular belief, pronghorn are exceptionally tough animals.  Don’t get me wrong. As with any animal, if you place an arrow through the heart or lungs, it doesn’t matter how “tough” they are. When your arrow doesn’t find it’s mark, antelope can amaze you.

If you think about whitetails, when an animal is hit behind the diaphragm they begin to dehydrate. This is why they’re often recovered near water or wet areas.  Antelope begin to dehydrate the same way, but because they almost live their whole life in a dehydrated state, they generally don’t succumb to the dehydration as quickly as deer.

The good news is that you can usually watch them from a distance until they expire. But be careful. It’s easy to talk yourself into trying to sneak in for a second shot. 95% of the time, this is a bad idea. Back to broadheads – this is why I prefer the biggest hole with the most tissue damage that you can get.

Regardless of the equipment you use, or whether you wear a Ranch Fairy t-shirt in public, the bottom line is that if you put the arrow where it needs to go, and the rest is history, photos and good eats.

craig graf antelope
Craig Graf with his first antelope.

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