A TAG WORTH WAITING FOR
Some hunters may tell you that the only way to kill a big bull is to spend a lot of money. That is not true. There is still one way an average Joe can harvest a big bull, which is drawing a tag in a trophy unit. Yes, drawing a tag in a great unit can take years, but more often than not, it is worth the wait. Cody Nelson from the Outdoorsmans is willing to wait for a good tag. “Drawing a great archery tag in Arizona can take years, even though I am a resident. Because it can take a long time to draw a tag in some of the more coveted units, some hunters simply don’t bother putting in for tags which is a big mistake. Over the last decade, I have drawn a couple great tags that were worth the wait,” Nelson explained.
This year Nelson drew a great tag and spent almost ten days looking for the right bull. “We spent a lot of time glassing and looking for the right bull. When you wait a long time for a tag, the last thing you want to do is shoot the first decent bull you see. I was willing to put my time in and hunt hard. Being willing to stick it out to the bitter end has been one of the keys to my success over the years. Even when I have a great tag, I am still hunting on public land and finding the right bull can require lots of time,” Nelson added.
On the ninth day of the hunt, Nelson spotted a nice bull that he estimated scored close to 360 or larger. “I spent a fair amount of time watching that bull in the evening. The bull ended up fighting a smaller bull. What was amazing to watch was the smaller bull broke the main beam off the 360 bull in two places while I watched them fight,” Nelson said. As the evening progressed, Nelson watched the bulls and was hoping he could find him again in the morning. “I was using the new Swarovski 8X42 EL Range binoculars and was amazed at how well I could see in low light conditions. I continued watching the bulls late into the evening. I figured if I could locate the bigger bull in the morning, I would try to get a shot and go recover his broken tine after I shot him.”
The plan changed slightly the next morning when the old bull who had broke the tine off the 360 bull came within bow range. “This old bull had an enormous amount of mass and a large body. It was clear after looking at him that he was an old bull so I decided to shoot him. He didn’t go very far after the shot. I use Wac ‘Em Broadheads. I am amazed at how quickly they bring down big bulls. He is a 7x6 that scored nearly 330 inches and was a massive bull. It was amazing watching the bulls fight the day before. It’s a hunt I will never forget,” Nelson exclaimed.
This hunt is proof that waiting on a good tag and working hard to find a good bull can pay off. If you don’t play the tag drawing game like Nelson, you probably should. It is still the best way to put a monster buck or bull on the wall without breaking the bank.
In “Food Plots For The Rest Of Us,” I will discuss how bowhunters with small parcels of property can build a food plot that will attract bucks and provide good shot opportunities. On TV, bowhunters often see large green food plots that cost thousands of dollars to build and maintain. This article will show readers how to put in small food plots that don’t require much time, effort or money. Many food plot companies are offering seed blends that are drought tolerant, can handle a wide range of soil conditions and can be planted without the use of expensive machinery. With $100, a rake, a shovel and some elbow grease, hunters can put in a food plot that attracts deer. I will do a sidebar on how to build a small food plot in a remote location and a second one on the importance of doing a pH test. I will interview Steve Scott from the Whitetail Institute about how a small plot can often be the secret weapon bowhunters need to harvest a whopper buck.