A book editor sent me an email the other day, asking if someone could rope an antelope and brand it? My reply was anyone that crazy should be quartered at the state insanity ward. I didn’t tell her it hadn’t been tried but it would be more likely than roping mountain lions.
A good friend in high school in his senior year drew an antelope permit up by Winslow, Ariz. His father bought him a new Weatherby .270 and scope for this trip. He went for five days up there to hunt. He only saw two faint ones even in the good scope the first four days. Then on the last day he saw a nice one, took his time, aimed and then shot it. The antelope fell in pile and he was excited.
He stayed in the same place to be sure if it got up he’d shoot again. No movement. So he steadily went in that direction, keeping his eye on the downed game. No movement; obvious the powerful cartridge had downed him for good. His next task was cut his throat and let it bleed out. Then he’d have to pack him a couple of miles to his vehicle. No problem at least he had one.
At 18, he had done something his father had never done in his lifetime. His father had shot trophy deer, elk and bear in Arizona and was considered a great hunter. But he had never shot an antelope.
He walked softly approaching the downed game. He sat the very expensive rifle against a juniper bush so nothing would happen to it. He highly regarded the weapon and planned to get more trophies with the accurate rifle.
He drew out his almost new Bowie knife and reached down to get his hand on one horn and prepared to cut his throat. Then the antelope came to life, jumping up and down with him hanging on to one horn. This crazed critter, he claimed was jumping 4 feet in the air with him trying to bull dog it one handed. He began trying to stab it. He told us, he was so mad that the killer in him emerged despite the pain in his arm and hand. He said they must have torn up a large patch of ground in the struggle of man versus animal. He was bruised all over afterwards.  His shirt and even his Levis were shredded but he prevailed.
The antelope at last went to the happy hunting grounds, he sat on the ground and frowned at the broken stock and smashed scope of his new rifle. The walnut stock was broken, smashed into splinters. The expensive scope looked flatter than a flitter.
About a week later a bunch of us were invited to his house to have antelope stew. There’s better game to eat but since he’d sent engraved invitations to a dozen of us, I decided to go.
He announced that he wished for us to see what was left of his pride and joy – the Weatherby .270. In the original box open for us to examine on the pool table was the smashed gun and scope. Then he showed us the shredded Levis and destroyed shirt he wore that fatal day. After all that he began the story of what had happened. When he was done he told us, that he figured the antelope stew his mother fixed for us, cost him $100 a bowl and he wanted to share it with his friends. God bless America,
Western novelist Dusty Richards and his wife Pat live on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas. For more information about his books you can email Dusty by visiting ozarksfn.com and clicking on ‘Contact Us’ or call 1-866-532-1960.



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