Not too long ago, there was little real art in hunting game on open ground. From the Great Plains of North America to the
grasslands of Africa, the Russian steppes to the deserts of the Middle East, open spaces tended to harbor vast amounts of game.
These animals were unused to firearms which could kill from a distance, and their numbers so large that shooting them was almost
like shooting fish in a barrel.
The times have changed, and the big open spaces of the world have changed with them. Many species of plains animal have learned
through experience and the experience of their mothers that humans are to be feared, even from a long distance away. Hunting on open ground,
then has become a much more refined art form than it used to be. Hunting foreign lands is another matter, but in North America we have several
species that are typically found in open areas and that can make for a great stalk.
Included among the bigger game species to be found in this environment are the pronghorn antelope, found only on the vast expanses of
the Great Plains that stretch through North America from Canada to Mexico. The pronghorn is a testament to conservation, as it was once
endangered but now actually outnumbers people in some states such as Wyoming and some parts of Colorado.
Another species of ungulate that you are likely to hunt on open ground is the mule deer. Mule deer have an unearned reputation for
stupidity, as in the past hunters have found them much easier to bag than their whitetail cousins. This label isn't exactly accurate,
however. Mule deer are designed to survive in open spaces, so they do not tend to use cover the way whitetails do. Anyone who has been
up close to a muley can see that it is meant to sense danger from afar; it has large ears and a broad nose to detect danger out in the open.
Successful hunters for these species will always have the right type of equipment to negate the advantage these animals have in terms of
senses and in fleeing power. Once a pronghorn catches wind of a hunter, the game is up, as these animals are the second fastest land mammals
on the planet and can sustain their speed for a much longer time than their only speed rival, the cheetah. The first step in a successful hunt
is overcoming the advantage the animals have in terms of sight, so make sure and go out with the right optics.
There are going to be very few obstacles in terms of viewing out on the flat areas and small rolling hills these animals inhabit,
so powerful binoculars will come in handy. Full size binoculars such as the 12 x 50mm Atlantic Green binoculars
are ideal, as you will not have to worry about the larger size getting caught up in the brush as you stalk. For those who hate fooling around with focusing,
the PermaFocus models
might be the best fit.
Next, thing about equipping your gun with the best scope. Again, you do not have to worry about being hampered by overhanging branches or brush
when out after open ground game, so choosing a larger scope that offers a good field of vision, such as a 25 x 50mm Long Range,
will work well. Make sure you sight in and practice before going out!
For those that prefer the closer shoot, a stalk after spotting will be in order. You should already be in good camo gear, and depending on the
time of year you might want a model such as Ghillie Woodland Camo
so you blend in with the natural surroundings. Naturally, you will start out downwind of your quarry, but the winds on the plains are apt to change quickly,
so you will probably want to take advantage of a scent cover up in the form of the various scent elimination soaps, deodorants, and sprays available.
Open ground stalking is an art form in itself; you are meeting the prey in its most basic environment, one that it has evolved with over the centuries.
In order to bag your quarry, you will have to use a lot of tricks to overcome the natural disadvantage of the human!