May/June 2012 EBJ (Issue 71) - The Arizona big game draw has been good to me over the past few years, but I believe that my good fortune was created. Even from randomized lottery systems and high-pressure hunt areas, there are things any hunter can do to tip the odds in his favor. The data needed to make educated decisions about which hunts provide the greatest chance of draw and hunt success are public information. Today’s savvy DIY hunters know that our favorite hunting publications, EHJ and EBJ, provide easy-to-navigate tables and information that seem to create magic to our uninformed friends. I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked "how are you able to get drawn every year?”
Good fortune smiled on me in 2008 when I drew an Arizona archery bull elk tag.
I had spent first part of the hunt sitting in a treestand listening to bulls bugling in the canyons around me. On the fifth morning, I raced to my stand under the cover of early morning darkness, while hearing a bull rip bugle after bugle no more than a quarter mile away. I was sure that this was the morning he would come in, but he never showed. By nine o’clock, I’d had enough and decided to hit the ground and make something happen.
I’ve always been careful not to stir up elk once they have reached their bedding areas and shut down for the morning. This morning was different and presented the ideal conditions to do some still-hunting. The winds were moderate, and consistent in direction and it provided just enough noise to cover the sound of my footsteps. While sitting in my stand, I was able to develop a fairly solid fix on where the bull might have settled in for his mid-day nap and that’s exactly where I was headed.
I slipped into a stand of junipers. Before long, I was on a hot set of tracks left by a lone bull. I followed the set for no more than 100 yards and walked right into the bull at 15 paces. He was facing me with his head down and feeding when I crept up on him. I immediately drew back as he fed unaware. I waited for him turn and present his vitals, but it never happened. I held at full draw for what seemed like an eternity before I had to let down.
For a full account of Chris's adventure, go to page 24 in the May/June 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.