Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak represents many core values that run through the hearts of most Americans – family, patriotism, conservation and the great outdoors. Corky Richardson of Laveen, Arizona, either has guided or hunted for himself on more than 150 elk hunts, he’s harvested over 80 bulls, and he's a member of the PSE ProStaff. Another constant that runs through Richardson’s veins is family. On many of the elk hunts that he’s guided or been on, his dad, George Richardson, or his wife, Cindi, have been there. Richardson also guides hunters to take free-ranging buffalo with their bows. His favorite Mossy Oak camouflage is Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity.
In 2013, my dad, George Richardson, my wife, Cindi, and I were all hunting together. Cindi took a bull elk that scored 424 inches, a stomp-down monster. Dad and I hunted together. He was the shooter, and I was the caller. I called in two really nice bulls, and Dad missed both of them. He had a new release he was using that had a very-light trigger. The old trigger on his mechanical release took more pressure on the trigger to fire the bow than the new release did. When each of the two bulls came in, Dad reached for the trigger, but before he had the bow steadied and just a little before he was ready to shoot. The bow fired, and Dad’s arrow went under each bull. I was able to get video of Dad missing both elk, but I don’t really believe he wants that video shown.
After Cindi and everyone else who was hunting with us had left to go back home, just Dad and I stayed in camp to hunt for his bull. I really enjoyed the alone time with Dad. One morning we found some elk – about 20 in the herd - got close to them several times, including the bull we wanted to take but then for seemingly no reason at all, the elk just vanished. There were four mature bulls. When we could no longer hear the bulls bugling, I told my dad, “Let’s just walk in the direction where we last saw the herd.” We kept walking and walking, and finally, after about 2 miles, we caught up to the herd.
The countryside we were in was fairly brushy with one little clearing that we thought the elk might use. When I saw antlers, I whispered to my dad, “Get ready, Pops.” As the bull walked across the clearing, I called to him, and he stopped. Dad made a perfect 40-yard heart shot with his PSE bow. Dad was really excited, because he remembered the other two bulls he had missed during the week. Once the bull took the arrow, he ran about 50 yards and then piled-up as he fell into some rocks. The bull scored 330.
I looked back, and Dad was crying. He was thinking about all the years that he and I had been hunting together and spent time in the woods together. He had been with me on a lot of various hunts, with many different clients and members of our family. The emotion of the moment just overwhelmed him.
In every hunt, at the end of the hunt, it’s always been me and my dad. Dad finally got himself together and said, “You know we started out hunting together like this. Our lives always have been together hunting elk and buffalo. Today life is still the same way as it’s always been.” Dad’s not coming to the end of the trail. I know when you get older, you can reflect back on a life well-spent with your son in the mountains, hunting. That’s a beautiful thing that you need to take time to appreciate. My dad is just a good solid man and a great role model.
What I like about hunting with my dad is we are kindred spirits. We can leave camp. I can go one way, and Dad can head in another direction. Usually, within 4 hours of not having seen each other, we’ll be standing or sitting on the same rock, even though we never planned to meet that morning. Whatever I’ve learned from him, and whatever I’ve taught him, we both seem to have the same mind. He’s such a great character to hang out with, and I’ve learned that hunting is my family, and my family is hunting.