Archery hunters find success, one on opening day

Judging by the number of photos, calls and stories I've received in the last few weeks, it seems that local sportsmen who had archery big-game tags have done very well this fall.

Starting off with antelope, I heard that Kingman residents Jon Yokely and Mike Misker both took antelope bucks with their bows in nearby unit 15A.

Archery hunters from Kingman who helped manage the buck population in Unit 18B included Brian Short, Robert Wise, Bobby McFadden and his father, "Bags" McFadden. I heard that both Short and Wise got bucks that scored well over 80 inches, which are huge bucks! Congratulations, guys, on bagging the fast game animal in North America with a bow and arrow!

The archery deer season is still open until tomorrow, both on the Strip and statewide, and I know there are several local bow hunters still in the field on the Arizona Strip. However, I heard that Richard Martin bagged a good 5-by-5 mule deer on his deer hunt on the Strip. Richard got his buck utilizing the spot-and-stalk method, which is very tough when hunting big mule deer.

I had the opportunity to assist a couple of bow hunters on their Strip archery deer hunts, and next week I'll share their exciting stories with you.

Kingman resident John Beauchamp, who every year seems to go to Utah with a few friends to participate in their archery hunt, came through again when he took a great buck on opeing day.

Beauchamp had planned to hunt with friend Chris Favour who lives in Flagstaff. But Favour, who is an award-winning taxidermist, had to stay at his shop, so Beauchamp went hunting with the husband/wife team of Chris and Rhianna Samples, who also live in Flagstaff.

This year, only Chris drew the archery tag, but Rhianna, who is just as much into bow hunting as her husband is, went along to help with the glassing chores.

Opening day found Beauchamp and the Samples high on a ridge where Beauchamp had hunted the year before.

As the darkness of the night gave way to a new day, they could see both hunters and wildlife moving up the mountain.

First, it was a 5-by-5 bull they watched as it moved into the safety of timber. Then a group of eight deer were spotted. There were seven bucks and one lone doe in the group that was slowly moving up the mountain.

A plan was made for a stalk, and Beauchamp decided to head into a gully while Chris Samples stayed up higher on the ridge. Depending on how the deer fed, either Beauchamp or Samples would be in a good position to get a shot.

The deer opted to go up the gully and Beauchamp waited patiently as he saw a nice 4-by-4 in the back of the herd. This was the buck Beauchamp was looking for.

As the other deer moved by, Beauchamp kept focused on the larger buck. Finally, at a range of 60 yards, the buck offered a perfect broadside shot.

Beauchamp released the arrow and he watched as it struck exactly where he had aimed. The buck whirled and headed back down the mountain.

The lethal arrow had found the mark and the trophy buck ran just a short distance before he expired. Beauchamp checked the time. It was 7 a.m. on opening day and he was done.

This was a large-body buck, and when they presented the meat to a local processor, he advised that the four quarters alone weighed 120 pounds.

Favour finally showed up to hunt but had to go back after just one day in the field. Though Favour and Samples had a number of stalks on day two of the hunt, no arrows were released.

Favour had to leave the next day, but Beauchamp and the Samples continued to look for deer. It was late in the afternoon when two bucks were spotted.

Samples worked his way into range and made a great shot on the larger of the two bucks. His tag now filled, the hunt came to an end.

The rifle antelope hunts statewide started last Friday, while the coveted archery bull elk hunts start statewide this Friday.

If you would like to share your hunting story with your friends and neighbors, call me at (928) 681-4867 or e-mail at awoguide@ctaz.com.