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A trophy for the wall

Karter Kenis, 12, from Albert Lea stands with his .30-06 hunting rifle between his father, Paul Kenis, left, and his grandfather, Brad Edwin. The trio went big-game hunting in western Wyoming, and Karter shot a pronghorn antelope buck. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Karter Kenis, 12, from Albert Lea stands with his .30-06 hunting rifle between his father, Paul Kenis, left, and his grandfather, Brad Edwin. The trio went big-game hunting in western Wyoming, and Karter shot a pronghorn antelope buck. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Boy from Albert Lea takes down pronghorn antelope on hunting trip in Wyoming

After a successful excursion to western Wyoming this fall, Karter Kenis can add big game to his hunting repertoire.

From 110 yards away, Karter — a 12-year-old from Albert Lea — took down a pronghorn antelope on the run with a .30-06 rifle while hunting with his father, Paul Kenis, and his grandfather, Brad Edwin, on Oct. 1.

Karter Kenis looks into the distance in the Thunder Basin National Grassland near Bill, Wyo., after shooting a pronghorn antelope while hunting with his father and grandfather. — Submitted

Karter Kenis looks into the distance in the Thunder Basin National Grassland near Bill, Wyo., after shooting a pronghorn antelope while hunting with his father and grandfather. — Submitted

Karter may not be a teenager yet, but he has plenty of hunting experience. Before he was allowed to use a rifle, he practiced by shooting pop cans with a BB gun at age 5.

“Karter started going on hunting excursions when he was about old enough to walk,” Edwin said. “He’d carry a toy gun originally. Then he went to a BB gun, and when he was old enough, he started carrying a shotgun or rifle.”

Albert Lea Lake sits to the south of Karter’s living room window, and he hunts in the area frequently.

“He goes with his dad and does a lot of waterfowl (duck and goose) hunting,” Edwin said. “He’ll go deer hunting and turkey hunting with me, and together the three of us will do as much pheasant hunting as we can in the fall.”

Along with the pronghorn antelope, Karter also has a turkey and wood ducks waiting to be stuffed by the taxidermist. Among his finished mounts are pheasants, another turkey and a deer.

Since he’s gone on a variety of hunting trips, Karter has utilized a variety of weapons. Along with the .30-06 for big-game hunting, he has two shotguns — a .410 and a 20-gauge — and a .22-caliber and .223 rifle.

“You can’t go duck hunting with a .30-06,” Paul said. “They’re different tools — different guns for different game.”

When Karter turned 12, he completed the firearms safety certification, which allowed him to go on big game hunts in other states.

Edwin and Paul decided to take Karter pronghorn antelope hunting in a remote area of public land called the Thunder Basin National Grassland outside Bill, Wyo., a town with a population of less than 20.

“We had a 30-minute drive just to get to gravel, and about two hours on gravel to get to blacktop,” Paul said. “It’s out in the middle of nowhere.”

The day before hunting season opened, the trio scouted the area with an all-terrain vehicle and a small dirt bike. They woke up early the next morning to track their prey.

“He (Karter) was chasing the antelope, and a lot of times, we were chasing him,” Paul said.

The terrain didn’t have many trees, and it looks flat from a distance, but that’s deceiving, Edwin said.

“There are actually a lot of hills, ravines and creek beds,” he said.

After getting noticed by the pronghorn antelope on an early stalk, the group walked more than 10 miles. As they neared a location they spotted a pronghorn earlier, the trio crawled about 100 yards to get a better look.

“All of the sudden, the buck antelope appeared,” Edwin said. “It must have heard something, and it was looking right at Karter. He took a knee and aimed his rifle as the buck and his herd sped off.”

Karter fired.

“I knew I hit it, because I saw it go down,” Karter said. “But they didn’t want to get too excited right away.”

The group walked to the top of the next ridge, looked down, and the pronghorn antelope was on the ground right in front of them.

“It’ll be another trophy on the wall for him,” Edwin said.