70-year-old grandma bags pronghorn on her first big game hunt
Dotty Judy of Pendleton, Oregon was doubly lucky on her inaugural entry into big game hunting, first by lucking into a tag then by bagging a beautiful buck antelope.
After waiting nine years for a tag to come through, she prepped for her hunt for six weeks at the rifle range before taking to the woods with her husband, Cliff, a veteran hunter.
Using a Ruger M77 30.06 won by Cliff in a big buck contest, Dotty was hunkered down under a juniper tree to wait for a thirsty buck antelope to arrive at a nearby watering pond as reported by the East Oregonian, when the buck came into view.
After her first attempt ended in a spooked animal-- pronghorn have excellent eyesight and are notoriously skittish-- the retired schoolteacher and grandmother had more success a little while later.
About 10 a.m., “I heard a little snort behind us,” (Cliff) Dotty said. A 100-pound buck with 12-and-a-half-inch horns circled around until he came into view by the watering hole. This time, she didn’t waver as she shot him 130 yards away just behind the shoulder. He went down."
Dressed out, it yielded 57 pounds of meat and a great story.
Not technically an antelope, the pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) is a species of artiodactyl that once roamed about half of North America and was first noted by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803.
Pronghorn are among the fastest animals in North America and can briefly reach speeds of up to 55 miles an hour, with an enlarged heart and lung system to fuel these speedy ungulates. For comparison, thoroughbred horses going wide open at the Kentucky Derby break 45 mph on occasion. This has led to pronghorn often called the second-fastest land animal in the world behind the African cheetah.
By 1920, their population had plummeted to less than 13,000 and through the efforts of the Boone and Crockett Club was among the first species identified for intensive conservation efforts in the country. In Oregon, they were off limits from hunting for a large part of the 20th Century and today their population in the state is strictly controlled. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife uses a draw and tag system that runs on points-- which for some hunters makes pronghorn a once in a lifetime hunt.
Looks like Dotty hit the jackpot, twice.