Editor’s Note: Phillip Dalrymple of Tucson, Arizona, and his family had a history with Jennings bows. For Dalrymple to break from the tradition of shooting Jennings bows and start shooting PSE bows back in 1983 was almost a major family problem. But since the switch, he’s never looked back – and today is one of the nation’s top bowhunters.
I don’t believe there’s anything more fun than to get out in the woods in the mountains and chasing elk when they’re bugling. So far I’ve taken four Pope &Young bulls in Arizona, after having been issued five tags. In Arizona, we have to wait 4 or 5 years after we take one elk before we can take a second one. My best bull net-scored a little under 340 inches, but some of his top-antlers – his G5 and G4 – were broken off on each side of his rack. If he hadn’t had those broken tines, he would have been a 375- to 380-class bull. The first three points on both sides of his rack were 22-, 20- and 21-inches long. I took that bull on the 13th day of a 14-day elk hunt. On that hunt, I saw a lot of big bulls, because the area I was drawn to hunt was notorious for having really big bulls and a lot of elk. Due to these two factors, you’d see a lot of broken antlers in this area.
I first saw this bull early in the season, before he’d broken the points off his rack. However, he fought so much during the season that he’d broken off his antlers by the time I took him. That was one of the problems I had to deal with, because I’d got gotten in close enough to take several big bulls. But they had broken antlers also. I decided to take this particular bull, since he had so much antler on the front end of his rack that I just couldn’t pass him up.
I took the bull with the PSE Vengeance bow using Carbon Force arrows. We had caught up to this bull three different times during the course of the hunt. The first time I got close to him, he was in some Jack pines, and the foliage was so thick I couldn’t get a shot off. When we caught up to him again, the wind changed direction, he smelled us, and the hunt was over. The third time we found him, he was near a water tank, and by then just about all the other hunters had gone home. I set up in a tree stand near a catch drain – drainages where Arizona Game & Fish have built small dams to hold water for elk and other wildlife to drink. The bull came in, and I got to watch him rut for about 1-1/2 hours. He came in right below my stand, bugled and then went running up a hill. He fought another bull and won, brought his cows back down to the water and left the water tank two or three different times, fight and then would return. Two or three times I tried to come to full-draw, but before I could get to full-draw, he moved in a different direction. That bull would come to within 30 yards and then move out to 100 yards. I didn’t think I’d ever get him to stay within shooting range. Our hide and seek went on for about 1-1/2 hours.
Finally, as dark was approaching, he came in and took a drink of water, but he was facing me. It seemed like he drank forever. When he finally finished drinking he stood up and gave me a 27-yard broadside shot. When he took the arrow, he spun around, but then he just stood there. I could see the blood hitting the ground, so I quickly nocked a second arrow and shot him again. The second arrow landed within 2 inches of where the first arrow had hit. One arrow went in one lung, and the second arrow went in the other lung. After taking the second shaft, he walked about 30 yards and went down. This elk was a giant, even if his antlers were broken.
Tomorrow: PSE’s Phillip Dalrymple’s Hunt for the Bison
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