The whoosh of the golden eagle’s wings startled me. Both of us were hunting antelope. Only the eagle had the advantage of seeing and swooping in on small band of antelope 150 yards ahead in the sage. I was on my hands and knees crawling along at a snail’s pace and trying to sneak up on the antelope while avoiding getting stuck by cactus.
The antelope scattered as the eagle sailed in. I just watched in awe. With his wings outstretched he looked bigger than the doe antelope he hunted. That is the great thing about hunting. You get to see things that would make the nature channels green with envy.
The chiseled featured of the Lemhi mountains framed the scene. More than 20 miles away the snow-capped peaks loomed so close it seemed I could reach out and touch them. Rivulets of water flowed down from these peaks making the desert green along the tiny watercourses. The water fed the giant alfalfa miles away that drew the antelope during the winter months.
I drew one of the 40 controlled antelope hunting permits for traditional muzzleloader hunting in the high desert near Leadore. Only patch and lead round balls are allowed on this hunt. No fancy scopes, custom built rifles, special bullets or powder pellets are allowed. No use of off-road vehicles to assist in hunting. It is on foot, and goes back to the traditional weapon of pioneer hunters.