Dennis Dunn Elk

Whenever a hunter sets foot in the field, expectations are one thing; dreams are usually quite another.  Only rarely in life does reality arrive on the scene to overwhelm both — and utterly take your breath away.   In September of 2015, in the State of Arizona, I experienced a public-lands hunt which blew away all the hunting dreams I’d ever had, and replaced them with priceless memories I shall never forget.

After 16 years of applying for a non-resident archery elk tag, the odds finally broke in my favor, and I knew I had been drawn for one of the greatest hunting opportunities I would ever have.  The archery season opened on September 11th.  Although the rut was very slow to “kick in,” sunrise of the seventh morning yielded me a shot at a “bull of many lifetimes.”

dunn-elkHere’s a quote from my story in the July/August, 2016, issue of SPORTS AFIELD:

Well, that was all that was needed!  Instantly, our target bull let out an enraged scream of challenge and decided to abandon his cover.  Thirty yards from me, a cow entered the meadow first, heading in Lane’s direction.  Then all of a sudden, the herdmeister, which we had never laid eyes on till that verymoment, appeared 40 yards away, trotting toward me with his head held high — and possessed of the biggest set of antlers I’d ever seen on a live animal.  At thirty yards he stopped briefly, gave my inert figure a quick glance,  and — seeing nothing  alarming — changed direction by 90 degrees and began walking briskly in the direction of the well-hidden “glunker.”  Immediately I drew my cedar shaft, moving my bow-arm sideways, as I followed the moving rib-cage, and quickly released the 720-grain missile for its rendezvous with destiny.

I’m always most grateful for any providential assistance at such moments, and I do believe the Almighty had a hand in the happy outcome.  Paced off later, it was a 32-yard shot.  The arrow struck the bull just behind the last rib and ended up transpiercing the far lung.  The stricken animal accelerated from four to 40 in nothing flat, and his death run carried him about 200 yards before he crashed into the near edge of the second big patch of junipers.”

I’d been hoping for a Pope-&-Young-quality bull; instead, the monster I arrowed turned out to be a true Boone & Crockett animal — a very symmetrical 6×6 that green-scored 378, gross, ending up (after 75 days of drying) with a net B & C score of 368.

I think back now and keep asking, “Did that really happen to me?”  Was it reality superimposed upon a dream, or vice-versa?  I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I suspect I shall be pinching myself for a long time to come!

In conclusion, let me say “Hats off!” to Vintage Archery for developing such an efficient and lethal broadhead.  The Tuffhead is like none other I’ve ever used, and it will be the last one I’ll ever use.  It may well be the ONLY broadhead in the country that harvested two Boone & Crockett animals in the same 2015 season.

Dennis Dunn

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