It has been some time since I reported on antelope outfitters, especially in New Mexico. One of the best western outfits, Bucks & Bulls Guides and Outfitters (801-785-5050; http://www.bucksandbulls.com/) has produced monster bucks there for over 20 years. Ever since Kim Bonnett first leased the Fort Union ranch, hardly a year has gone by without this outfit’s clients tagging at least one buck scoring 85 points, often larger and just as often, several! Not content to rest on these results, Bonnett recently added more great antelope ranches located in the same vicinity as the Fort Union.
Two years ago thanks to a joint venture arrangement, Bonnett began to offer a few hunts on the Express UU Bar. When I heard that, I signed up because I had followed the trophy production on this ranch for many years. I didn’t pull the trigger that year, not because I didn’t see several book bucks, but because I was looking for a 90-point antelope that had been seen earlier, and I just couldn’t find him. This season, I returned and killed one of the bucks that I passed on last year. He scored nearly 85 points. Other book bucks were taken the last two years, including several equaling my buck and bigger.
The addition of another unnamed ranch this fall has resulted in an additional several hundred thousand acres to hunt – all with proven genetics and track records for trophy pronghorn. One reason this outfitter consistently produces outstanding bucks is that he strictly limits the hunters on each ranch. For example, on the Express UU Bar, there are only four permits allowed during the three-day season in September. You can hunt all day looking for that “big” buck and never see another hunter. I can tell you that because I’ve done it.
Leasing properties of this quality isn’t cheap, especially when you take so few hunters, so these are expensive pronghorn hunts. But for those of you looking for that once-in-a-lifetime buck, it’s worth every penny. Do yourself a favor and visit their web site to see the outstanding bucks taken by clients over the years. Many hunters have hunted antelope for years and have never seen a book buck, yet you will see one “Booner” after another taken by Bucks & Bull’s clients.
A three-day hunt (the entire season) costs $7,900, which includes a 1 x 1 guide and all accommodations. These are guaranteed landowner permits, but you still have to buy the proper New Mexico hunting license ($290 last season). By the way, the accommodations at the Express UU Bar’s lodge could only be described as incredible, with the meals second to none. It’s a perfect place to take your spouse, as I have done. There’s plenty to do on this working ranch, and the surroundings are beautiful....