A Year to Remember

By Zach Bowhay
Utah, Idaho, 2009, DIY, Public Land
A Year to RememberJan/Feb 2011 EBJ (Issue 63) - As the bugling bull appeared, I couldn’t believe my eyes - he was a beautiful six-point that I figured was in the 320 class. I had an opening, ranged it at 33 yards, and he was headed right for it. He stepped through the clearing and I cow-called, but he took one step too many, leaving me no shot. He whirled to run, so I cow-called and stopped him in a very small shooting window. As I released, I watched in frustration as my arrow deflected off a branch and landed harmlessly at his feet.

I started to think maybe I wasn’t destined to kill a bull in Utah. After all, he was the second 320-plus bull I had missed in four days and I was feeling pretty worthless. I went back to camp that afternoon, figuring I would drive up and call my wife to tell her what a poor shot I was. Even though she had been home with two little girls, all while being seven and a half months pregnant, she was wonderful as usual and said to get back out and get my big bull…

I didn’t end up with this tag the way most people do (by applying for years and building bonus points). This was actually the first year I had ever applied in Utah. Since we had bought our hunting licenses already, we figured we would go down to the Western Hunting Convention in Salt Lake City and get in some of the draws for tags. A few days after the Expo, we got on the website and there was my name listed as a winner. Amazing!

I know all of you Utah guys and nonresidents who have been applying for years are cussing me right now, but that’s the way it goes; sometimes it just takes a little luck. I immediately began my research, and after talking to a lot of people about the unit, I thought I had it narrowed down to a pretty good starting point.

On August 21, my buddy Joe Stockton and I loaded up and headed down to southern Utah. We were hoping to get there early enough to glass in the evening, but it was pitch black by the time we got there, so we had to wait.

Zach Bowhay

For a full account of Zach's adventure, go to page 32 in the January/February 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.