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.
I had been guiding for other elk hunters for a couple of weeks in New Mexico, but I had a bull elk tag for an Arizona bull. I had had 2 weeks of tough elk hunting, although we were taking a lot of elk. The hunt was tough because of my frustration with my clients. For instance, we had been working really hard to get within bow range of a really-nice bull, I had the bull coming within bow range, but my hunter didn’t even have his arrow nocked. As a guide, when I’ve worked hard to get my client the shot, and he forgets to put the arrow on the string works on my mind. So, I was really looking forward to going on a hunt and not being responsible for anyone but myself.
On the first morning hunt in Arizona, my wife, Cindi, went with me. Finally, I said, “Cindi, I’d really like to go out on my own, be by myself, find a nice bull, take him with my bow and let the solitude of the mountains renew my soul and my spirit.” Luckily, I have a wife who understands this type of mentality. I didn’t not want to hunt with her. I just needed to be alone. I guess I was over-peopled. So, Cindi didn’t take any offense, and honestly, she had rather hunt by herself. But then we hunted together the next day.
A friend of mine had been scouting earlier in the season and told me about a place where he’d spotted a bull elk. He told me, “Although the elk had long tines, I don’t know how many points he had, or what he would score. I saw him late in the afternoon. I was looking at him from a mile away with a spotting scope, and the bull was all by himself.” My friend told me about this bull the day I got into camp. He also mentioned that the bull had gone out on a big, long flat. He suggested I hunt there the following morning. So, the next morning, Cindi and I got up on top of a mesa and started glassing. Early in the morning, we heard a bull bugle. Cindi actually saw the bull before I did. When I finally saw the bull, I said, “Oh, yeah, I really want that bull.” We were on top of a mesa, and the bull was in a wide-open field, feeding toward me. Cindi and I hurried down off the mesa to intercept the bull. As I got closer to the bull, I saw that he had about 13 cows with him. However, he was having a difficult time keeping his harem together. The lead cow wanted to go in a different direction than the bull was trying to push the herd.
Cindi and I split up when we came to a ravine. We felt certain the bull would come up the left side or the right side of the ravine and should present one of us with a shot. In a little while, I could tell the bull was coming up my side of the ravine, because he kept bugling. Since he was calling, I didn’t want to call very much. He was letting me know where he was and the direction he was traveling. So, I didn’t think there was any reason to call to him, if he was coming straight to me. I decided I’d save my calling until I really needed it. Once the bull got to the spot where I needed to take the shot, I gave a little chuckle to sound like another bull. When the bull I wanted to take heard the chuckle, he realized he’d gotten separated from his cows. Now he was concerned about the rival bull he thought was trying to move in and take his girlfriends from him.
He had to walk around a big dead fall (trees that had been blown down) to come to me. When the bull came around the dead fall, he was broadside to me at 25 yards, and I took the shot with my PSE Mach Flite 4. He only went 15 yards, and I saw him go down. I hurried over to him and put my elk tag on his antlers. I wanted to go to where Cindi was, since the rest of the herd had gone right where Cindi was waiting for them. I hurried to her side of the ravine and whistled to her. We both went back to where I had tagged the bull, but the bull wasn’t there. He actually had gotten up, walked about 20 feet and fallen over. Apparently, I was in such a hurry to tag the bull and get to Cindi that I didn’t make sure the bull was down for good. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be weird if that bull had gotten away with my tag wrapped around his antlers!”
The bull scored 370 and was a really nice bull. But more importantly, I was with Cindi. I had been able to get the cobwebs out of my head. Once again, all was right with the world. Of course, Cindi was dressed in Mossy Oak. We all dress in Mossy Oak - my wife, my children and my dad.