The early archery elk season has drawn to a close with a number of quality bulls being taken by local hunters.
There were many trophy elk harvested that were six points on each side and scored in the 320 to 350 range.
The above-normal winter moisture gave plants a jumpstart on spring growth which was coupled with a late May storm that produced an additional two inches of rain.
With this bonus moisture in the prime time for antler growth and the forage being rich in minerals and vitamins, the results were that a mature bull elk could reach his full potential in antler growth.
Clay Goldman of Mogollon Taxidermy, who is an official scorer for Pope and Young as well as the Boone and Crockett, has measured numerous trophy elk already this season.
An elk tag this year can certainly offer a hunter the trophy of a lifetime. Brian Dudley downed a 355-inch bull in unit 22 while Preston Mercer another local archer scored with a whopping 412-inch wall hanger.
The Rim Country certainly has some world-class elk for those hunters willing to do some extensive preseason scouting.
If you are a high school baseball fan, no doubt you remember Preston’s exploits as an All-State pitcher for the longhorns in 1995. He later graduated front Northern Arizona University and currently is employed by the U.S. Forest Service where he has the opportunity to work in the Rim Country of Arizona.
I asked Preston how he knew where to hunt for a world-class bull elk? He stated that he had logged more than 40 trips to the woods before his season had even began. When the season started, he was committed to the entire two-week hunt of glassing, stalking and listening to that distinctive bugle of his trophy bull.
On day three of his hunt, the woods were silent with the exception of a weak bugle which he thought was a raghorn bull in the canyon below. Preston gave a couple of cow calls and within a minute, much to his surprise, “Old Big Boy” came into the clearing for a 60-yard broad side shot from his new Mathews Drenalin bow. The elk of a lifetime became a reality for a hunter who had done all the work in preparation for that moment.
Preston said that the entire experience of being in the outdoors and listening to elk bugle in the early morning hours was a true blessing.
This weekend enjoy the Rim Country, God’s creation.