It is the buck I was after, and I spent seven days hunting specifically for him before finally taking the buck of my lifetime! Many hunters and guides had known of him over the past four years, and he had become a bit of a legend as I understand, having been hunted hard on public ground by bowhunters, rifle hunters and even statewide Raffle and Commissioner Tag holders over the past few years. However, I don’t believe any hunter had ever actually seen him in person (only an occasional trail cam pic, often at night, and his sheds had occasionally been found).
The first person to find the buck, four years ago, was a guide named Tory Brock. Over the past few years he had guided several hunters and at least one auction hunter in hopes of taking the buck, but nobody had managed to even see him. Tory helped me scout for the buck (even though he had never actually seen him in person either). Together we made the decision that I would hunt for him exclusively and on my own for the first half of the season. Then if I couldn’t manage to take him hunting solo, Tory would hunt with me the last 10 days of the season. After telling me the buck’s history as he knew it over the past four years, and sharing some trail camera pics with me, I hunted hard for seven days before finally locating him and sending a perfect shot into his chest (yes with a Rage Hypodermic)! He didn’t go far, and when I walked up to him for the first time he looked SO MUCH BIGGER than I expected. Because his body is so unbelievably huge, his antlers don’t look nearly as big in photos as they do in person. It was the exact opposite of ground shrinkage, and I was thrilled beyond words and thankful when I walked up to him for the first time and saw how truly giant he was! The wealthy auction hunters and raffle hunters, that are permitted to hunt year-round and statewide in Arizona, normally kill these sized bucks before the regular hunting season opens each year. It was nice to see one slip by them and go to a bowhunter that just drew the tag for the regular 21-day season in the random drawing for a change. It took me 13 years to draw this tag, but hopefully I’ll get luckier and not have to wait that long to go again!!
As far as entering him, I will definitely enter him in Arizona's bowhunting records, but I'm leaning away from entering him to any other programs due to the fact that I'm not sure I'm willing to strip the velvet in order to do so...