The big-game seasons are upon us in the Rim Country and having an Arizona bull elk tag is like winning the lottery to those of us in the hunting fraternity.
Cody Bossert, a 16-year-old junior at Payson High School, drew an early muzzleloader permit after five years of not drawing a tag.
This is an extremely difficult hunt to get drawn for, because of the time of year, which is mid-September when the elk are in the rut. A bull is a bit more predictable in that he will be with a harem of cows and often will be sounding off with his unique bugle, which can aid in locating a trophy animal.
Cody and his father Butch had spent countless mornings scouring the unit looking at numerous six-point bulls in their preseason scouting. As is often the case, elk hunters gather friends who enjoy glassing the canyons in hopes of finding that trophy bull for a young hunter. Longtime Payson residents, Bob Halenar and Ron Ray, were invited to join in the hunt and be ready if a clean shot was made.
On opening morning, the bull elk was spotted as it was moving to thick cedar country, which is the bedding area during the daylight hours. Cody, with the help of his father, made a quick stalk to where they hoped the bull would be exiting from the nighttime grazing area.
The 6-by-7 presented a 50-yard shot from Cody’s 50-caliber muzzleloader and the elk fell in its tracks.
Cody’s excitement quickly encompassed his dad and his friends as they admired the trophy animal of the Arizona Rim Country.
Much to their surprise, this elk fell within a few yards of a road, which enabled them to load the animal in a few minutes and be back to town.
In all the years of elk hunting trips I have ever been on, having a road nearby has never been the case.
The outdoor experiences for this father-son team will last a lifetime and, of course, the stories only get better as they are retold. When the old photo albums are revisited in later years, this hunting trip will bring back many fond memories for the Bossert family.
Dads, this weekend, spend time with your children in the Arizona outdoors, God’s creation.