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.
On this hunt, we had taken my brother’s father-in-law, an older gentleman, on an elk hunt. We had found a bull that had a really-really wide rack - a true monster. We had trail-camera pictures of this bull coming to a watering hole at night, but we didn’t have any pictures of him coming to the watering hole during daylight hours. So, I went with this gentleman and sat with him at the watering hole. When the bull got fairly close, I gave the bull some soft cow calls and pulled the bull to within bow range. My brother’s 76-year-old father-in-law took the shot. He was able to pull 40 pounds. The shot was only 9 yards from the bottom of the tree where he was sitting. After taking the arrow, the bull only went about 80 yards and then piled-up. In his lifetime, this gentleman hadn’t ever killed any animal with a bow. He didn’t really realize how big this bull was. The bull scored 403 inches. This bull’s rack inside spread of the main beam was 60 inches. He had a spectacular spread and was a real trophy.
The Strongest Man I’ve Ever Met:
In 2005, I was hunting in northern Arizona, and the bull elk were bunched-up. Because I was hunting early in the season, I got into a group of 250 elk. For some reason, they were eating yellow flowers in a meadow. That herd of elk probably had 80 branch-antlered bulls. I picked out two of those bulls that I wanted to take - with one that would score in the upper 360s. I stayed up with that herd for 6 days, before I finally got close enough to get a shot with my bow on the big bull. This bull had long main beams and excellent third points - a really good-looking bull.
Each day I hunted the bull, I got closer and closer, because I was hunting just ahead of the rut. When I saw the bull starting to cross an opening, I got ahead of him, reached the other side of the clearing and got in some brush. The bull couldn’t see me in the brush wearing my Mossy Oak camouflage. When the bull was at 35 yards, I took the shot. He wheeled and ran right out in the middle of those yellow flowers. I told my dad, “I got him.” We found the bull, loaded him up over the tailgate of the truck and carried the bull out.
Then I began to think. My dad always had been with me, whether I was guiding or hunting on my own. I’d never killed an elk that my dad wasn’t with me. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t remember anything I’d ever hunted that my dad wasn’t right there with me. When I guided clients to elk or buffalo, Dad was with me. If I was guiding a client, and we had to walk about 5 miles before midday, Dad would figure out about where I planned to come out, study his maps and bring the truck there. When my client and I got close to the road, he could pick us up. If we harvested an elk, Dad always was there to help me get the elk out. I often say jokingly that Dad always was thinking 2-hours ahead of where I was hunting to be close by whenever I needed him. The word I would use to describe my dad is accommodating. He's always on the hunt. He’s wherever I need him to be and helps me do whatever I need to do to make the hunt successful.
My dad is also the toughest man I know – even at 76-years old. If we need someone to hang tree stands, Dad’s the man, because, he's the strongest and most agile of anyone I've ever been with in the woods. My buddies always say, “Hey, that place you plan to hunt has some really hard trees to hang a tree stand in, so you better make sure your dad goes with you.” My dad is so strong he can climb a tree safely with just his hands. I don’t know which I like more - hunting elk or being with my dad. I can’t remember a time that my elk hunting and my dad haven’t gone together.