Hunting Pronghorn Antelope in Wyoming with Weatherby and Leupold

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Aaron Hitchens

October 9th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.










We had about twenty minutes of good daylight left as we were glassing the opposite hillside with our binoculars, according to the photographer. It would be plenty light to see an antelope past that time, but the photographer wanted to get some good pictures and video, so we figured we had time for one last stalk before we had to pack it in for the day. My guide spotted what to him looked like a good buck, and pointed out the location to me. He asked, "What do you think", and I responded that every buck we had seen looked good to me, so we gathered our gear and proceeded to work our way closer to the buck, who had just disappeared over the ridge, out of sight. The animal had been spotted at not much over 300 yards, but with rain drizzling and wind blowing, and the buck headed away from us, we thought that maybe we could carefully crest that ridge, and spot him down below us. Having sufficient cover for the stalk, we decided to give it a try before hanging it up for the day.

I had arrived in Glenrock, Wyoming not much past noon, and had figured on not doing any hunting that day, waiting for an early start the next morning. However, I had just got settled into my room at the Higgins Hotel, when Brad Dykhouse knocked upon the door, asking if I would like to go out and look for a decent buck. Having just driven 1294 miles to get there, my response was, "That's why I'm here!"

Brad is a Marketing Specialist, and part of the wonderful group of people at Weatherby, Inc. Weatherby, along with Leupold, were the sponsors of this hunt, and had done an outstanding job of handling the logistics of getting us set up to hunt antelope on the T-55 ranch a few miles out of Glenrock. There were a few other folks on this hunt, all of whom I had never met, except for Mike Schwiebert, VP of Marketing for Weatherby. The other people there with us were Jen Rodman of Weatherby; Dave Domin of Leupold; Aaron and John Hitchens, videographers for Rockhouse Motion; John MacGillivray, another videographer; Robert and Peggy Palm, longtime friends of Weatherby; and Taya Kyle, the wife of the late Navy Seal Sniper, Chris Kyle. Casey and Marty Tillard of the T55 would be our guides. Not everyone on this trip was hunting, but before my arrival that morning, both Taya and Jen had already harvested good bucks, so they decided to go ahead and get me started a day early.

I have hunted with the Weatherby folks a couple of years ago, hunting grouse and chukar in Colorado, and was scheduled to hunt antelope with them last year, but I had to cancel, as I spent that time instead in Vanderbilt Hospital, figuring that the opportunity to hunt antelope with those good folks had passed. However, they graciously invited me again this year, and I was happy to make an appearance in Wyoming. A couple of months prior to the hunt, I received an email from Brad asking what rifle I would like to use. My response was, "I will use whatever you want me to use, but if it is left up to me, I will bring my own." For most of the hunting that I do, I am always using a borrowed weapon, for purposes of doing a review. However, when I am on my own and needing to put meat in the freezer, my rifle of choice is a Weatherby Vanguard chambered for the 257 Weatherby Magnum cartridge. There are many excellent rifles available in today's market, and I am happy to hunt with most any of them. However, when I know the shot might be a long one, there is nothing I have found that I like better than a 257 Weatherby, so I informed Brad that I would be hauling that Vanguard S2 out to Wyoming. For a detailed look at that Weatherby S2 rifle, I refer you to my earlier review HERE. Prior to me leaving Tennessee, Leupold sent out a 4 to 12 power VX-R, which is an excellent scope, with a good, bright image. The scope is built on a 30mm tube, and has an adjustable illumination rheostat to light the center of the reticle, if needed. They were also good enough to send a pair of Mojave Compact binoculars, and their latest rangefinder, the RX-1200i. All of the optics proved to work very well on this hunt, even after the weather turned off bad on the last day.

For ammunition, I used my favorite bullet for such work, which is the eighty-grain Barnes TTSX. Some might consider that weight to be a bit too light for deer and antelope, but I do not, as it has a solid copper construction with a polymer tip. This makes the bullet longer than a typical cup-and-core bullet of the same weight, and it has a relatively high ballistic coefficient for good flight characteristics, even when shooting in the Wyoming wind. In my experience, and that of many others, the TTSX expands rapidly, but hold together for deep penetration. I often handload this bullet in the 25-06 and 257 Weatherby cartridges, but I used the superb Weatherby brand factory ammunition that incorporates the TTSX bullet on this hunt. I ran the ballistics on my computer before I left home. With this bullet running at 3754 feet-per-second (FPS) at the muzzle and zeroed at 250 yards, I could hold dead-on out to 325, and be no more than 1.9 inches high at 150. 

We spent the first couple of hours glassing across valleys and on hillsides, and saw a lot of antelope during that time, but nothing that Marty considered to be outstanding. I saw some that looked pretty darn good to me, but deferred to Marty's and Mike's expertise, and we kept looking. After a while, we spotted a herd moving up a slope, and using a spotting scope, we eyeballed a pretty good buck. The herd was more than five hundred yards away, and increasing the distance, so we decided to move around the ridge, and try to intercept them on the other side. After getting into position to see them from the other side of that ridge, they held up at about four hundred, and my position to shoot was impeded by brush, so we stalked carefully to within what the Leupold rangefinder indicated to be 314 yards. I set up on the Bogpod shooting sticks, with Marty spotting for me. He continually whispered "No shot, no shot", as at all times, the good-looking black-faced buck had other animals either in front of or behind him, so I had to let them wander off the other side of the ridge, out of our sight. We gathered the equipment, followed by Aaron and John toting the cameras, but when we reached the top of that ridge, fully expecting to see the herd below, they had disappeared. Back to glassing for more animals.

In this part of Wyoming on the huge expanses of the T-55, there are plenty of antelope, so after another hour or so, we spotted another buck which we all agreed to be a pretty decent specimen, but he headed off over the ridge out of our sight, so we began the stalk to get within range, with daylight quickly leaving us, as I mentioned at the beginning of this piece. As we stalked to the top of the ridge, the buck had headed back up that ridge from the other side, and we found ourselves within 120 yards of the animal. Setting up quickly on the Bogpod, I was just barely visually clearing the top of the brush through the scope, but figured that it would be an easy shot at that distance. With Marty spotting, and Aaron indicating that he was set up with the camera, it was up to me to put that bullet in the right spot. Just as I was about to send that Barnes bullet on the way, the buck had spotted us and started to move out, so I knew that it was now or never, so I squeezed the trigger on the Vanguard. I could not see the shot due to the rifle's movement under recoil, but from the reaction of the other men, I knew that the buck was anchored, and there was no need to chamber another round. The Barnes TTSX from that Weatherby cartridge had performed perfectly, entering high behind  the right shoulder into the spine, and exiting in front of the left shoulder. The buck never twitched. The entrance wound was as large as a man's fist, and the exit wound was about an inch in diameter, quite the opposite of what is expected from a conventional cup-and-core bullet. The TTSX bullets expand almost instantly, but do not come apart as do conventional bullets, almost always fully penetrating the body, in my experience. I have never recovered one of those bullets from an animal.

The Weatherby Vanguard S2 performed perfectly, as expected. The design of the stock, pioneered by Roy Weatherby decades ago, while radical at that time, has proven for generations of hunters to be extremely comfortable to shoot, while placing the eye directly behind the lens of the scope, as it should be. As mentioned earlier, the Leupold optics performed splendidly as well. When the equipment works as intended, it makes the job of the shooter much easier, and I had no complaints at all with the rifle, optics, nor ammunition.

I suppose at this point, being a gunwriter, I am supposed to remark something about this being just another part of my job, as if I had become accustomed to such things, but I am not. I still get excited before I pull the trigger on a game animal, whether it be a squirrel or a bear, and I still get excited over a quality firearm, but the best part of this job with which I have been blessed is the people with whom I get to share the experience. This industry is full of quality folks that are gracious and hospitable, and it is a joy to get to spend a few days with them. Back when my beard was shorter and blacker, I often wondered what it would be like to get to see the inside of a gun factory, or to travel many miles to hunt game, and now I have experienced those pleasures many times, yet it never gets boring to me. I used to peruse the Weatherby catalogs every year, fully realizing that with a wife, kid, and mortgage, those beautiful rifles were beyond my financial reach. If it ever gets to the point where the excitement is gone and handling a great firearm in pursuit of game becomes routine, I hope that I have enough sense to do something else, but for now, I will ride this horse until it throws me, and hope to again get to hunt with the new friends that I met on this trip, as well as the fine folks who represent one of the premier firearms companies in the world.

For more information on Weatherby firearms and ammunition, go to

For a look at the extensive line of Leupold optics, go to

For info on hunting the T-55 Ranch, contact:

T-55 Casey Tillard

Hwy 95-715

PO BOX 2285

Glenrock, WY 82637

Phone: 307.359.0827


For a look at the superb video production of Rockhouse Motion, go to

Jeff Quinn

Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.

Click pictures for a larger version.