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Game Changer

By Wayne Brown
AZ, Elk

In 2018, my results all turned up empty. However, I then got a call that said, “We had a hunter surrender a tag in unit 1, and you’re the first applicant on our alternate list. Call us by 10 a.m. Monday if you’re interested.” Somehow, an Arizona tag had fallen in my lap. I called Duwane Adams, a fantastic outfitter I’d hunted with in the past, just to make sure he could work me in. He said he could and that I could also get the guide I had back in 2008, Frank Lopez.

The next few months raced by, and I was ready to fly to Albuquerque and drive to eastern Arizona. I got to Duwane’s camp just after dark. The next morning, we hoped the bulls would be bugling. After we had eaten and loaded up on coffee, the hunters started leaving with their guides. I had hunted with Frank 10 years ago and was excited to get out in the woods with him again.

We headed down a two-track and could hear one bull. Frank said he knew where he was headed, and we paralleled the ridge he was bugling on for about half a mile. As we crested the ridge, the bull bugled again just ahead of us. That meant down the ridge and further out to try and get ahead of him. Frank saw the bull and a few cows, but they had already gotten past us.

It was almost 10:00, so we headed back toward the truck. About halfway there, we heard another bugle. We slowly headed toward the bull. After half an hour, Frank spotted a cow bedded down. We got down on the ground and glassed to see if we could spot the bull. Frank started calling and tree scraping, and the bull answered. He got out of his bed and wandered over to a pine tree, and I got a pretty good look at him. He was a solid 6x6 with a lot of mass. Frank said we could either sneak out and come back in the early evening or try and crawl to where we’d be close enough to get a shot. I said we ought to see how close we could get.

We finally got close enough to see the bull bedded down, and when he swung his head our direction, I asked Frank if he was the one we were looking for. He just smiled and said yes. Frank ranged the general distance to the bull at 50 yards. The bull stood up and turned toward the cows. When his head went behind a tree, I pulled my bow back. I had a narrow window that looked good and released my arrow. The shot was near perfect. The bull walked toward his cows, started wobbling, and collapsed.

The bull green scored 346". All it took was a good guide and a great God. Frank got us right on him, and somehow God had my arrow flying right into his heart at 50 yards.

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