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(Previously published in "Dallas Woods & Water Club" newsletter, and "Banner" hunting magazine)

??????????? In 1974 when my son Tim was 6 years old, I took him with me on an American Pronghorn hunt in Hartley County, Texas. ?We had a great time.? I harvested a Pronghorn that scored 83, and it found a home on my wall and in the Boone and Crockett record book. ?I still have this mount in my study along with other notable mounts. Each and every time I look at this beautiful Pronghorn, I remember the excitement we both shared in the hunt and the harvest, but most of all the experience shared by a father and son.

??????????? Thirty-four years later Tim and I went on another American Pronghorn hunt. ?This time we traveled to Farley, New Mexico for the 2008 Pronghorn Hunting Season and hunted on a family friend’s ranch. ?The Christmas Ranch is located in Northern New Mexico on the front range of the Turkey Mountains; it covers approximately 65 sections of the most beautiful cattle country anyone could hope to hunt. We had mountains, hills, canyons and pastures to hunt as we enjoyed 50 degree nights and 85 degree days. ?I don’t think you could ask for a better canvas to paint your ideal Pronghorn hunt.

American Pronghorn are most often referred to or called Pronghorn Antelope, but in actuality, they are Pronghorns and not in the Antelope family at all. They have extraordinary eye sight and can run at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. ?Hunting Pronghorn in the open plains presents a challenge of long range shooting and stealth modes of approach; Tim and I are both very handy with rifles so the distance was never of major concern to us. ?However, getting within a respectable shooting range was! ?The New Mexico Pronghorn hunting season, in the zone where the Christmas ranch is located, began at sun up Saturday August 23rd and ran through sunset Monday August 25th. ?We arrived at the ranch mid-day on Friday and the ranch foreman, Wes Doan, loaded us up, and we went out to get the lay of the land. ?We looked at probably 100 animals over the next three hours at distances of 100 to 300 yards, and I am thinking this is going to be a real simple deal!

Well, Friday night the wind blew all replica watches night at about 35 mph, but we awoke to a beautiful morning with expectations at high ebb. ?I slammed down two cups of coffee and a breakfast bar, and we met Wes at his pickup. ?Tim and I rode with Wes to the North Pasture where we had seen several large bucks the previous day. ?We didn’t see the many small bands of Pronghorn we saw the day before, and the ones we did see we couldn’t get within a 1000 yards. We hunted hard in this pasture and couldn’t create any advantage for ourselves; it was obvious that the Pronghorn were very nervous, as the blowing wind Friday night caused the animals to be very anxious and on edge. We left the North Pasture and proceeded to the South Pasture. ?Both pastures are about 7,000 acres each; our experience in the South Pasture paralleled that of the North Pasture, and we were very disappointed that we never got the opportunity to even put a stalk on a Pronghorn! Back to the Ranch House for lunch and maybe a nap!

Tim and I couldn’t sit around nor could we sleep. ?I think we had Antelope dancing in our heads! ?We loaded up in my Jeep, and the two of us went back to the South Pasture. We hunted hard, but the Pronghorn had their own agenda, and it did not include two guys from Texas. Sometimes as the Earth turns on its axis, the sun glares off the mountain streams and you are holding your mouth exactly right, everything in the universe lines up perfectly! We saw about eight or nine doe going up the crest of a hill in single file.? To our left, we saw four more animals coming from the neighboring ranch about 600 yards away, and they were on a direct route to follow the doe up this hill. ?We put our glasses on these animals and realized the only buck in this group was a real nice shooter. Tim said he thought they would cross the fence and go to the very spot where the doe had been. We put the rangefinder on this location, and it told us the buck would be at 350 yards. Tim took my backpack and used it as his rifle rest as we waited for the buck to appear.? This buck and the three doe did appear and went to the very spot Tim had anticipated; with a keen eye and a steady hand, Tim eased into the shot. ?As I glassed the animals, I heard the safety release and then the report of the 7MM. ?It wasn’t a good shot, it was a great shot! One shot, 350 yards and an outstanding American Pronghorn (Antelope) on the ground; we were both very excited with the results and with the fact our hunt was a success. ?I could hardly wait to give Tim a hug and get up the side of that hill to see this Pronghorn. He is a wonderful animal and will make a beautiful mount; I know in years to come Tim will look at this mount and remember every aspect of this hunt and the pleasure we had doing it together.

??????????? We decided to start our Sunday morning hunt a little earlier than we started on Saturday with the intention of leaving the ranch to head back to Dallas before noon. For me to get another Pronghorn was never a high priority, but I had a permit and the number of quality animals was abundant. ?We left the ranch house at 6:45AM and headed for the North Pasture.? After coming out of the canyon onto the vast rolling plains of pasture land, we spotted a very nice buck. ?I put the rangefinder on him, and he was 273 yards away. ?I got out of the truck, and with my back pack as a rifle rest, I put him in the crosshairs and the rest is history.? We were back at the ranch house at 7:30AM.

??????????? Tim and I have hunted all over the country. ?We went to New Zealand last year and hunted Red Stag and Bull Tahr, hunted Dall Rams in Carrizo Springs, have gone shark and trout fishing, quail, pheasant and deer hunting, but I think my two Pronghorn hunts with him are my favorite, at least until our next hunt!

My testimonial……….
What can I say about the wonderful experience that I had Antelope hunting at the Christmas Ranch north of Las Vegas, New Mexico?? Well, I left my house in Las Cruces on Friday morning and showed up to the ranch around 3:00pm where I was met by Matt and Will, who then took me to check if my rifle was sighted in and still working correctly. I set up on a shooting table that was on their gun range and had to adjust just a tad. That evening the Christmas family treated me to a great steak dinner at the ranch house. The cooking was great and the family was friendly and willing to assist with whatever I needed. After dinner Matt and Will took me out for a little tour of the ranch to check out a couple Antelopes and show me what we will be looking for in the trophy animal we were looking to harvest. The guides Matt and Will knew what animals they had on the ranch and the general area where they liked to hang out. As Matt took me out the next morning, we found a heard of Antelope within 10 minutes of leaving the house. We looked at a couple more before we saw the one that I wanted and decided we could go after. My guide got me within 150 yards of the Antelope we were stalking. Of course I got a little bit a buck fever and missed on my first shot but Matt kept me from getting frustrated and he knew exactly what the animal would do and got me an even better shooting opportunity.? That’s when I got my second shot and the Antelope dropped right where I hit it. So within less than an hour I had bagged my trophy Antelope and had seen so many more. ?My guide was even kind enough to dress out my animal for me. We loaded up and went back to the house where my guide skinned my animal and caped it for me, too.? My taxidermist even told me that they did a fantastic job on my cape. All in all, the staff at the Christmas Ranch was knowledgeable, friendly, professional and willing to help with everything I needed. I would have to say the experience that I had hunting at the Christmas Ranch was one of the best hunting experiences I have ever had and I plan on going back to do some of the Elk and Mule Deer hunting that are offered also.

Marcus Chambers

???? My first elk hunt was in New Mexico with Matt Christmas as my guide.? I was immediately impressed with his knowledge of the animals and of the terrain.? Matt put me on the hunt for quality elk and his enthusiasm was as abundant as mine as he wanted to get the best elk possible as much as I did.? I had only dreamed about dropping a 7 x 7 bull elk at 250 yards.? Matt Christmas provided me with an unforgettable experience and I appreciated his honesty and integrity in arranging and fulfilling this hunt.?
???? I recently had a successful antelope hunt with Matt Christmas and once again experienced his dedication, determination and enthusiasm in providing the most unforgettable hunting experience.

Dwayne C. Kent
New Braunfels, Texas