In this weeks Intrepid Outdoors’ “Challenge of the Hunt” series Executive Producer, Mike Schmid, took to the plains of Wyoming for a fall Antelope Hunt. Mike is armed with a Big Horn Armory Model 89 liver-action rifle in .500 S&W Magnum, a gun that will surprise even the most experienced hunter.
Being one of the few hunting shows that air 26 original episodes each year, the field producers at Intrepid Outdoors have a mighty big order to fill.
Most of us put in for special tags for Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Shiras Moose, Pronghorn and of course the hard to draw Midwestern states like Iowa for Whitetails. This particular year neither Mike Schmid or I drew a special Pronghorn area, so we opted to buy a left over tag in an area near Mike’s ranch at Devils Tower, Wyoming. Our plan was simple: we’d go after a couple of bucks in October after our busy September deer season was over and when the Pronghorn rifle season opened.
During one of my many trips to Cody, Wyoming — where our studio is located — a neighboring business owner dropped by for a talk. After a short introduction of who he was, and what he did for a living, I realized there was a small gun maker operating right around the corner from us and I had no idea.
I say small, because when you first pick up the Bighorn Armory Carbine lever action it’s about as short as many youth guns. What sets this gun apart from anything I’d ever shot or laid eyes on, was the ammo that came out of it. This was, as far as I knew, the only lever action carbine rifle that used a .500 SW load. I immediately wanted to shoot it, so he and I headed out to the high desert for a little demonstration, or should I say destruction.
The gun, with an open peep sight, was incredibly accurate out to about 150 yards and the best part was it really had no recoil to speak of. It was a pleasure to shoot, so I quickly asked if we could take one out for a Pronghorn hunt to see what kind of situation it might put on one. The owner agreed, so off to Devils Tower I drove. Once at the ranch, Mike Schmid and I practiced with the gun several times, in fact, we had a hard time putting it down. After gaining enough confidence with it, we headed out to see if we could find a Pronghorn buck for Mike to shoot.
After many miles of driving, glassing, and a few failed stalks, we finally found a couple of bucks that weren’t far off the road. But they still would be tough to get close to because of the open terrain. Mike decided that we’d use the road ditch for cover and crawl as close as possible to give himself an ethical broadside shot.
The plan was working pretty good when some cattle spooked a little, which nearly ran our bucks off. We just stayed quiet, though, hoping the bucks/cattle would all just calm down long enough that we could close the distance to about 100 yards. Our patience paid off. After just a few minutes the bucks were back to grazing on grass and sage. We finished our crawl and readied for the right shot angle. The closest buck finally turned broadside. Mike and I both got to our knees, me filming, and Mike settling the peep sight on the, now very aware, buck’s shoulder. BOOM!
The small but very powerful Bighorn Armory 500 barked and the buck hit the dirt.
“Done,” Mike said as he and I looked at each other in total amazement. That buck had no clue what hit him, but was sure enough DONE! We walked up, checked out Mike’s trophy and after a little camera work, we were headed back to Devils Tower with one of my most memorable kills I’d ever caught on film. One that I like to refer to as Sudden Impact.
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