A young outdoorsman has many firsts in their lives.
They remember the first rabbit or quail they took.
They remember going on hunts with family and friends.
And as they get older, they remember hunting big game, be it javelina, deer or elk.
Clayton Holloway is one of those young guys who, even though he just turned 18 years old, has had a lot of success as an outdoorsman and hunter.
This Kingman resident has grown up around hunting with his father Jay, who is also an avid sportsman.
Clayton has hunted a lot of different animals, and his passion is archery hunting.
He has taken javelina, deer and even the elusive bobcat and a coyote with stick and string.
This year, he beat some high odds when he drew one of the 25 tags that were offered in the multi-unit hunt in game management units 15A, 15B and 18A. He lucked out when he got tag number 5. It was the first tag he has drawn since he was 10-years old, when he had drawn a late unit 10 antlerless tag.
He had eight bonus points going into the draw, and though he had been on other elk hunts in the past with his dad or friends, this would be his first ever archery elk tag.
Holloway is passionate about archery hunting and he knows from past experience the challenges that archery hunters face when hunting with a bow and arrow.
Clayton, who is a senior at the Kingman Academy of Learning, is a star running back and defensive player on the football team.Despite all the time he spends at football practice, he also practices year around with his bow and arrow.
“I shoot at least 20 arrows a day,” Holloway said. Holloway uses an Obsession Bow set at 83 pounds, and VAP arrows that are topped with the deadly Muzzy Trocar broadheads.
Even though he is in school and playing football, when the time came to go hunting, he was able to make it all work.
Going on his hunt would be his dad and good friend Garrett Reinoso.
Holloway said that he and his dad spent some time in Unit 18A scouting for his upcoming elk hunt, along with his stepmother, DeDe, who drew an early rifle tag in the same units. Assisting on his hunt would be good friend Garrett Reinoso, who himself is an accomplished bow hunter.
The area that Clayton decided to hunt in held a lot of elk, including bulls.
“We saw a lot of bulls in one area and I decided that I would try and take one of two big bulls that we had seen,” Holloway said.
One of the bulls that Holloway had found he named “Cheater,” as the bull had an extra point on his right antler. In hunting terminology these extra points are commonly referred to as a cheater points.
Another bull they had found was called “Whale Tail.” Elk hunters look at bulls that have long 5th points on their racks that give the impression of a whale tail. These are very desirable traits for mature bulls.
For Holloway, the opportunity to go hunt one of Arizona’s most prized trophies was something that he was looking forward to.
On opening day, they heard a bull bugling just over a hill not much more than 10 yards away.
The young hunter slipped in and found that the bull doing the bugling was a 320 class 6X6 who had a fair number of cows with him.
Since it was opening day and Clayton knew there were at least two better bulls in the area he decided to pass on taking a shot, even though he said the bull was within range.
Later than morning they heard more bugles and he and Garrett went after the bulls, but they never got to within range.
Jay, on the other hand, did see the “Whale Tail” bull and another 6x5 bull in some head-to-head battles, but Clayton and Garrett were unable to get close to them.
Holloway noted that since he had a football game that night, they decided to back out quietly and come back the next day.
After the game Friday night (Clayton scored a touchdown!) they went back to camp.
It was a short night, as they got up at 03:30 a.m. and headed back out to the area where they felt the elk would be.
The next morning Clayton and Garrett were hiking down into some thick brushy country while Jay sat on top. He was going to be the “eyes in the sky” for his son.
Garrett and Clayton had hiked down a wash when Jay told them that he had seen “Cheater” and his cows in an area that they had just left.
Clayton and Garrett ran back and got set up to intercept the herd as they started towards their bedding area.
“The cows started coming out at 40 yards,” Holloway said.
Then he saw him, the bull he was looking for. “Cheater was there just 43 yards away.
When Holloway released the deadly arrow it flew straight and hit the bull exactly where he was supposed to, right through both lungs.
The bull jumped and ran a short distance to try and figure out what had happened.
He didn’t even know he had been fatally wounded.
Clayton got him ranged at 76 yards and let another deadly arrow fly.
The months of practice paid off when this arrow hit the bull in the “pocket” an area right behind the shoulder than produces a quick fatal wound.
The bull ran a little further and the two young men heard the bull cough and fall.
He was finished when they got to him.
Clayton’s bull is very impressive.
Sporting a 7X6 rack with long points, they scored the bull at 353 4/8 inches, which far exceeds the Pope & Young minimum standard for entry into this prestigious record book.
Holloway decided to do a European mount on the trophy and it now hangs proudly in his room in his Kingman home.
Besides the rack, the meat was processed by the family (Jay is the head butcher at the local Bashas’) and will provide many meals for the Holloway family in the year to come. Did I mention he scored a touchdown?