I am new to this site. I am assuming Mike Eastman views and posts on this forum. Hopefully he does and he can reply to me. . . . or for that matter, anyone is welcome to provide their .02.
I am most of the way through reading his book, Hunting Trophy Antelope. I did not see anywhere where he mentioned preferred calibers for hunting antelope. What is the preferred caliber? I shoot my .22-250 a lot at coyotes. Would that be sufficient?
My second question is that there was very little about taking the wind into consideration (from a scent standpoint). Are their noses as good as a whitetails? Or do they primarily rely on the eyes and scent is not as big of an issue.
Well, I'm not Mike Eastman, but here is my .02:
Bunches and bunches of antelope get taken every year, legally, in MT with .22 centerfire cartridges like .223 and .22-250. However, they are not optimal. Most .22 caliber bullets are frangible varmint bullets, that can have shallow wounds. A "hard" bullet like the Barnes TSX would be a good choice, if you are set on using your 22-250. Those hard Barnes bullets make small calibers outperform their caliber.
My recommendation would be moving up to one of the classic antelope cartridges, particularly .243 Winchester or 25-06 Remington. These are flat shooting and easy on recoil. Again, a bullet designed for hunting, and not varmint shooting needs to be utilized for consistent terminal performance.
If you have a deer rifle you are comfortable with, that is also an excellent option.
If you are looking for a good antelope cartridge, that can also be used for larger game like mule deer and elk, consider the 7-08, perhaps my favorite all-around caliber. Powerful, flat shooting, and low recoil.
Thanks for the input, guys! I will be hunting in western Nebraska, where a .22-250 is allowed as long as it has 900 ft. lbs. of energy at 100 yards. I have a friend that has a 7mm Mag that I could borrow. Would that be a better choice?
A 7 mag is a great choice, as long as you are comfortable shooting it. It will have a lot more recoil (nothing to be afraid of, though) than your .22-250, so range time is a must. It is a high-velocity cartridge, so look into controlled expansion bullets for it, in order to minimize damage to the meat.
If your hunt is this fall, I would borrow the rifle sooner rather than later, so you can find a load it likes, and get a lot of practice shooting before the season.
Then go have fun chasing those speed goats!
Thanks, I plan on getting a lot of shooting time with it prior to the hunt this fall. I am also experienced at shooting larger caliber rifles. So, you are saying you would go with the 7 mag over the .22-250?
And what about their noses? No input on that yet?
There noses are very good. In antelope country though the wind can be blowing so hard at times that it makes it hard for them to smell you and detect your location, but don't understimate their noses! Good luck.
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I would get some loads for the .22-250 with nice sturdy bullets and just go with that. I love those little calibers. Study their anatomy and go plug one right in the heart. The only reason I would decide to go with something bigger is if I knew the wind was going to be blowing hard.
On second thought, I would be using a bow in the first place... but I digress.
Thanks for the input on their noses. I don't see where Mike specifically addresses their noses. Well, I am very comfortable with my .22-250. I hunted antelope once in my life back in 2000 and used my .22-250 back then. It did the job for me at 190 yards. But in Mike's book, he stresses that it is difficult getting inside of 300 yards with a trophy buck. If so, I was thinking that the .22-250 might be a little light. I'd prefer it, but if it is not the right caliber, then I don't want to undergunned.
I took up archery last October. So far, I have had decent luck as I took a pretty nice buck last fall and 3 toms this spring. Chasing an antelope with a bow would be a lot of fun, but I don't know that I am ready for that yet!
Last edited by NECoyoteHunter; 05-12-2011 at 06:19 PM.
NECoyoteHunter as you can see everyone has there own opinion on rifle calibers. So in any of my books I don't write about that subject. I have left it up to other writers and hunters who shoot several different rifles and bullets. I have one rifle I use for western big game and one bullet weight. I know how much it drops and where to put the cross hairs. It works for me. But sometimes I do miss boy can I miss! I’m a simple shooter. The caliber is 7mm Rem. Mag. with Nosler 160 grain partitions. From 17 years old I have been using that caliber for western big game more years then I want to count.
On the scent subject they do smell but I found that eyesight is the number one factor. 6mm Remington is right on the wind and scent. However at 300 yards they don’t seem to have much of an issue with it. I guess I should of wrote on it. Just make sure the wind isn’t at your back. They like to see what they’re running from and because they can out running every thing in their world antelope use distance as a buffer. Where as elk and deer smelling or see humans take off for the nearest cover.
The Form is you guys and gals I don’t need to get on your form too much unless some one has a question for me. Hope the book helps and good luck on the antelope hunt. Hey let use know how you do! Mike
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