Eleven years old and Brady already had the need to hunt big bulls. After being unsuccessful on drawing a juniors only cow tag for the first two year, I can remember the day he said to me “ dad I just want to hunt big bull elk." So from that day forward the plan kicked in. It wasn’t rocket science but I knew that by the time he was a young man and with a little luck, he would have a great chance at being drawn for a great Arizona tag. Bingo, we were right, by the time he was 16 he had accumulated 8 points (1 loyalty, 1 education class and 6 years of being unsuccessful in the draw) he had a lot of luck on his side and pulled an early rifle tag in a little lesser known unit in Arizona.
To the date he had missed a couple of opportunities at harvesting deer, and I believe he started to doubt his shooting abilities, I knew better as I was probably more to blame for his misfortunes than he was. That is another story but all I can say is “I screwed up and could have improved his set up." With a couple of good rags from my friends he probably did have a few negative thoughts going on, but after an entire summer full of target practicing all the way up to the last night before the hunt, he was feeling really good.
Opening morning was set to be a very warm day and overnight we saw a full moon, but nothing mattered to us as we knew that we had plenty of bulls in the area and no pressure from other hunters. We had a great first morning, looking over a total of five bulls and on our first attempt we brought a bull twenty yards from us screaming his head off, sending his thunderous bugle through our bodies. The smart wapiti eventually busted us before we got a chance to make a decision on him, so we continued on. The afternoon and evening hunt was very quiet, but nothing worried us, because we were thoroughly enjoying each other's company along with his uncle and my best friend.
Day two, started off with less than ideal conditions, warm and windy but a good bull was heard and spotted right away across a canyon that we checked out the first morning. We were bringing bulls in from a half a mile away with some sexy girl talk. We had then heard some screaming going on behind us that we chased down. We had nine different bulls in one canyon, to which we were able to look over seven of them. We picked one out that we decided was worth his tag but was unable to get off a good angle.
After a very short time we had one of the bulls approach us and came within ten yards away, but with busted up tines Brady passed and just enjoyed the bull staring at us for 2-3 minutes. Finally as we moved along just below the ridgeline a good bull was spotted about five hundred yards away. Brady set up in a perfect place and after bringing the 6x6 bull to within 108 yards he squeezed off a perfect shot with the .308 (165 grain) Barnes triple shock. I have never seen an animal go down so quick. No tracking, no doubts this bull was lights out! The excitement I witnessed from my son was incredible and I knew I did my job on creating the next generation hunter that is hooked for a lifetime.