John’s Note: Cindi Richardson has been hunting almost 30 years and is considered one of the most-outstanding women hunters of our day. The Arizona Department of Conservation has a record that’s known as the Big 10, consisting of the 10 Arizona big game species. Cindi was the first person to accomplish taking Arizona’s Big 10, which now has become the Big 11, due to the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep expanding its range into Arizona and having a viable population there. The Big 10 consists of the Coues deer, mule deer, antelope, black bear, mountain lion, elk, desert sheep, bison (buffalo), javelina and wild turkey. Cindi took all these animals with PSE bows, particularly the PSE Fire Flight, Mach 6 and Vendetta XS ( http://pse-archery.com/). Cindi helps her husband, Corky Richardson, also a well-known Western hunter, guide for elk, buffalo and mule deer. At one time, they guided as many as 12 elk hunters a season, but now they’re taking fewer hunters than in the past, and they mainly concentrate on bison and elk. Usually, Cindi does the logistics of the hunt, including cooking and picking up and dropping off hunters at the airport. On her own, Cindi has taken 14 elk with her bow, she holds the Arizona wild turkey record with a bow, and she has taken over 75 animals with her bow, with 40 of those classified as trophy animals.
On this New Mexico hunt, my husband, Corky, was guiding hunters and finding places where they had really-good chances of taking elk.
I went along to cook, but I also had my own elk tag. During this hunt, after Corky and his hunters left camp, and before they returned to eat, I hunted from a tree stand and used the spot-and-stalk tactic. After we had been in this camp for a couple of weeks, and on the next to the last day of the hunt, Corky’s last hunter had taken his elk. Corky said, “Why don’t you and I hunt together today?” Even though he didn’t have a tag, he wanted to go and help me find and take my elk.
The rain was really coming down that morning.
We parked the truck and started hiking. Then, we heard some bugles, and we walked toward the bugling elk. We were sneaking down a trail through some thick woods, and Corky stopped. I could tell by his body language that he had spotted something coming toward us. I looked and sure enough, there was a bear coming up the trail. When the bear was about 30-yards from us, he stopped, looked at us, and then sort of veered off the trail and walked past us.
On the way back to the truck, later in the morning, we heard elk bugling again and moved toward them. Corky bugled back to the bull that was hung-up and wouldn’t come to us. So, when we heard him walk away from us, we started running toward him into some fairly-thick brush. The elk came back but walked parallel to us. I was out in front of Corky. The elk appeared so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to use my range finder, but I knew the elk was at about 50 yards, which was my outer limit for taking a bow shot. I think I was shooting my PSE Fire Flight then, and it wasn’t nearly as fast as the bows we have today. When I shot, the arrow made a huge arc, before it got to my elk. I thought I had shot over the bull and missed.
The rain still was coming down pretty hard. I turned to Corky and said, “I’m sorry, honey. I’m frustrated. Let’s quit hunting. I’m done. Let’s go back to camp.” Corky looked at me and said, “What? You hit him perfectly.” Because the rain was so hard, Corky decided to let the elk have time to bed down, before we went to look for him. We returned to camp and called some friends to come help us. The heavy rain washed away the blood trail. We had to spend quite a bit of time trying to find the elk, but eventually we did. That bull grossed over 350 on Pope and Young but his net score was 349.
To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow: Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska,” “PhD Elk,” “Secrets for Hunting Elk”, and “How to Find Your Elk and Get Him in Close.” Click here to get these books.
About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors.