South Dakota Antelope and Tundra Swan Applications Open
Despite their website having a start and end to the application period, which wasn't for another week, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks announced that applications for antelope and tundra swan are open for the 2020 season.
The application period will run until 8:00 am on August 19 for online applications. Paper applications must be postmarked by August 14. The firearm season runs from October 3 - 18, 2020 if you believe the paper application, or September 26 - October 11 if you look at the GFP website. My guess is the paper application is correct.
2019 was the first year I hunted antelope, technically called pronghorn. I had three points and a buddy with six so we had our pick of the tag. We went to Harding County and had an excellent hunt. We both cashed in on day one with the most exciting three-hour stalk I had ever been on.
I was excited to hunt the fastest land mammal in North America. But my dad and a few of my friends were confused.
"Why would you want to hunt that trash. Worst eating I've ever had!" they would say. "All they eat is sage and it tastes terrible."
I had heard that too, but I had also heard that if you dick around in the field after the kill, especially on a warm early autumn day, that is where you are more likely to cause problems with flavor than anything. When I got my antelope it was right around 70 degrees. I immediately gutted and got the hide off of my pronghorn and packed it out about a mile to the truck and got it into the cooler. It was about 90 minutes from the time I fired my rifle to when meat was on ice. I didn't want bad field care to have an effect on the meat and judging by what I ate my field care was good enough.
The best example I can give of how good the flavor of antelope is that my wife tried it and ate the whole loin I had cooked up for her. I was also shocked at how good it was, and maybe a little disappointed only in that the flavor is so mild. After a few years of eating venison, I had grown accustomed to the stronger flavor. I missed it a little bit in the antelope. I prepared my backstraps and roasts the same way I would venison and had the rest ground into burger and sticks that my family enjoys more than whole cuts of the shanks and other more high maintenance cuts. Otherwise, I'm hoping to get some more meat this year with a doe tag.