More than 20 cows had streamed past my hidden location, but from the increasing intensity of the bugles, I knew antlers were about to fill the shooting window before me. There was nothing else to do but try and remain motionless until the bull showed himself. That was becoming increasingly difficult as the bugles pierced through the cedars, shooting jolts of bull fever through my body. Suddenly, the waiting was over as he made his appearance.

I couldn’t have directed him better, and it was doubtful I could have directed him at all with adrenaline now in full control of my muscles. His broadside position was textbook, and I drew on him as he looked ahead at his cows. His peripheral vision caught my draw, but I released before he could react, and the arrow disappeared completely in his side. The bull raced away, pausing once to look back, then, disappeared for good in a deep drainage.

In the rush of the hunt I didn’t get a good look at the hit, but fortunately for me, I had instant replay. I was hunting for a television show and a video photographer was right over my shoulder. He had everything on tape for evaluation.

“How did the hit look?” I queried my video photographer, who was busy rewinding for the information. After replaying the video several times, we knew the bull was mortally wounded. The arrow had passed completely through and was hanging by the vanes on the opposite side. A short tracking job confirmed the video information, and I collected a Pope and Young-class bull as my reward.

For that hunt, I had researched my gear and beefed it up for the bulls that were proportionately larger than the whitetails in my back yard. Much has changed in the few years since that hunt took place. Carbon arrows have overrun the market, new broadheads hit the spotlight every day, and technology has increased the energy modern bows are able to deliver. With the world of bowhunting ever changing, how do you make sure you’re equipped to take on big bulls out West?

Next: Elk Dimensions