In 2013, I bought the New Mexico enhancement pronghorn tag. I have purchased that tag each of the eight or so years that the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has offered it.
After securing the tag I called Tony Grimmett of Pronghorn Guide Service, whom I have hunted with previously as the enhancement tag holder. He and his son, Eli, did some scouting at various times that year in May, June, and July, and had picked out two or three good bucks to try for that season. On July 31, 2013, I received a call from Tony saying I should meet him and Eli at a motel in Magdalene, New Mexico.
I made the drive to Magdalene and met them in the morning. After checking in, we went scouting that afternoon. We looked at several bucks and saw many does and fawns. Out again before dawn the next morning, we set up the spotting scopes and glassed many pronghorn. We moved a couple of times, and then spotted one of the bucks the Grimmett’s had taken note of.
We studied the buck and discussed it for some time. We determined that his horns would score 94 inches, plus or minus, so we made a plan for a stalk. This actually turned out to be the first of many, as I’d decided to take the buck with a Gunwerks muzzleloader. The gun had been loaned to me to try out.
I loaded the muzzleloader and headed out to try to get within my effective range, which I felt was 500 yards or less. To make a long story short, we tried for three days, but couldn’t get within 500 yards. Every time we’d get within 550 to 800 yards of the buck, he’d quarter away at a walk, trot, or run. On occasion we’d see him alone, but soon he was with others and one member of the herd would start them all trotting or running off, and we would have to wait for the buck to settle down.
After several unsuccessful stalks over three days, I decided to use my Gunwerks 7mm LRM (Long Range Magnum), which would allow me to shoot from a greater distance if necessary. That day, Tony and I set out on what turned out to be our final stalk. We observed the buck headed away at some distance, so we cut across on foot and were able to intercept him at about 550 yards. He immediately started quartering away from us, as big bucks often do, so I dropped to a prone position and was able to take him with one shot.
We high-fived, as we had finally gotten the buck, and we talked about how challenging and fun the hunt had been. When we walked towards the buck our excitement grew—the bucked seemed to grow the closer we got. There was no ground shrinkage this time!
Some tight, but rough measurements told us the buck was bigger than we’d thought. Then we began the 60-day minimum wait for official measurement, followed by panel measurement and more waiting, until this amazing New Mexico buck was confirmed as the new world’s record!
I’d like to thank Tony and Eli for many years of fun hunts and friendship. I’ve taken a couple of bucks since this one and haven’t lost my enthusiasm or anticipation for the next great hunt. I’d also like to thank the Boone and Crockett Club’s Records Committee for acknowledging my buck as the legitimate world’s record pronghorn.