Bagging one of the big three — Pronghorn antelope hunting in Northwest Colorado

Northwest Colorado is well known for herds of mule deer, elk and pronghorn antelope, which attract hunters near and far, including Gary Ambrosier, who traveled from Mesa County to Moffat County for the 2017 big game rifle hunting season.

Ambrosier recounts his successful hunt on public land in Game Management Unit 3, which — much like his fleet-footed prey, pronghorn antelope — arrived at a swift conclusion.

Following is Ambrosier’s first-person account of that successful hunt.

It took 13 years to draw the rifle tag, and Colorado Parks & Wildlife gave me pointers on where to go. They were so helpful. I want to thank them.

I went on my hunt with an 84-year-old gentleman who drove the truck. I don’t think it’s a good idea to go hunt alone. It’s always a good idea to have someone, especially to know where you are going.

On opening day, we got up and left a little after 7 a.m., once we had enough light to see. We hadn’t gone a quarter of a mile, and there was a buck chasing a doe across the road right in front of me. I stayed and watched it for a minute. I thought, “Hell, I ought to get out, and maybe something would happen.” I stepped clear down and off the road 80 to 100 feet and watched the buck and doe chasing each other. They went running … headed down toward the Little Snake River.

After that, I got back into the truck, drove a little ways and saw 20 antelope in a draw. There was a really nice buck walking in the sage, but I didn’t shoot and risk hitting two animals. So, we drove a bit more. A little ways further, I saw this buck. I was sneaking up on him. We were on a little hill. He was laying down, and there were four does around him. They stood up. My first shot missed. He went up on a hill. The does didn’t jump, and I waited, and the buck came back. He was looking down the draw, and I put the ka-bammy on him.

The meat is so good. I skinned him, boned him, got the little sucker in the cooler with some ice within a half hour or 45 minutes. Went back to camp. Had another cup of coffee. Broke camp, went to Maybell and had lunch at the park and talked to some people before heading home. It’s not like an elk hunt, where you work your fanny off.

I’ve been hunting since I was 14, when I killed my first deer in Ouray. Moose is still on my bucket list. I learned how to hunt with my dad. My son, Jeff Ambrosier, and daughter, Amy Ambrosier, both hunt. My wife, Annemieke Ambrosier, is from the Netherlands. She really likes elk meat and is right in there with me preparing it.

Hunting is about being with your family. I like going with my dad, my daughter and my son, and I think people need to keep doing that. When you get something, take care of the meat. If you will get that meat off the bone and cooled down right away, you should have good meat.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or