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Connor Gabbott & Steven Drake | 8.15.2020

Land of Opportunity

A hunt with a lot of opportunity is what so many of us dream about, and that’s exactly what Connor Gabbott found while bowhunting antelope on Montana’s publicly available BMA land last September.“For me, each hunt scratches a different itch,” he says. “I love the action of an antelope hunt. You can basically hunt them all day long.”

While he drew his tag, Gabbott says that the odds are extremely good in the draw—so good in fact that the draw has not reached capacity the last few years and remaining tags have been available over the counter.

As a British Columbia resident, Gabbott did his scouting from afar, primarily using the OnX app. “To be able to have the overlays right there at your fingertips, to match up those spots with water, especially hunting the early season, it’s super helpful,” he says. “There are a lot of big open flat areas, but in amongst there, you can find some specific spots with small, rolling, undulating hills that are more conducive to stalking.”

Temperatures during this mid-September hunt can be extremely hot, 100 degrees or more. Gabbott emphasized the importance of apparel choice during conditions like this, and for him, the SITKA Ascent System is the lightweight, breathable, and low bulk choice. His favorite part of the system? The integrated knee pads.

“I used to fight with knee pads for years because I didn’t quite like hiking with them, but once you actually start hunting and spending time out there you realize how much time you spend crawling around,” he says. “The eyesight of an antelope, they say, is 8 times better than a human’s. Being able to stalk in stealthily is super important, and because it’s so flat out there you’ve got to get down and crawl.”

Gabbott’s largest takeaway from his hunt is that it dispelled for him any misconception that antelope meat is not good. “Treat it with proper care, get it cool as fast as you can and your chances of having enjoyable table fare are very good.”