Being prepared for any adventure you’re going to embark upon is a smart investment. As important even as the money it’ll take to fuel the trip. The tricky part about killing a trophy pronghorn after planning the trip, drawing a tag, booking a reputable guide service, purchasing the proper equipment, traveling to your destination, spotting him (unless you’re hunting a waterhole), stalking him (unless same aforementioned scenario), losing him then finding him again, is making a good shot, some of which will be long distance or running, or both. We say all this to emphasize the importance of the shot - finding a solid rest, locating the buck in the riflescope, slipping off the safety and squeezing the trigger.

Start Immediately

If you book a hunt on September 17 for that same date the following year, you should already be at the range. Throughout his career as a baseball player, Chipper Jones took batting practice before and after every game and watched countless hours of film to perfect his swing. A 300-yard shot doesn’t seem so bad when you’ve done it a few hundred times. Make sure your rifle is zeroed at your preferred distance, likely 100 or 200 yards, before you get begin the next few steps.

Work Your Way Up

Start small. Hone your skills at 50 yards before you start lobbing bullets. Remember the old adage “walk before you crawl?” Makes good sense here. Consciously work on your breathing, posture and trigger squeeze. Only when you feel confident should you move to a further distance.

Alternate Positions

It’s very important to not shoot from the bench each time. Because, honestly, what good is that doing when you’re likely going to have to make a shot prone, kneeling, sitting or off hand? Again, shoot from the various positions until you feel confident in yourself.

Make it Difficult

Go ahead and put yourself in a hunting situation. Imagine that you have to hustle 20 yards, get down in the prone position and make a perfect shot at 200 yards. Will you have the stamina to control your heartbeat to make the shot? What if sweat rolls down into your eyes as you’re getting set up? Season yourself in every scenario you can imagine.

Invest in Good Glass

This could easily be the first item on the list and can definitely be overlooked. If you’ve been shooting the same mediocre scope for 20 years, you might not even know what good glass looks like - it’ll make a world of difference in your abilities as a marksman! Not to worry, folks! TRACT riflescopes have been developed just for you. Without the retail markup, you’re looking at coupling your trusty rifle with a scope that has already been compared to the high-end companies, but without the high price.

Hunting is not a competition and should never be treated as such. Don’t pressure yourself to rush through the practice regimen. And even if you don’t feel confident in taking some shots when the moment arrives, don’t pull the trigger and don’t be ashamed of it. It takes a real conservationist to know his limits and never risk wounding an animal. Preparing for your first antelope hunt is about the thrill of chasing these wary, fast-footed animals across the open plains of the west. Will you be ready?