Arizona Teen Takes Down Monster 428-Inch Bull Elk

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: 6381380

At just 16 years old, Arizona native Cody Vine has accomplished something bow hunters spend their whole lives trying to do: taking down trophy-caliber bull elk.

Before, Vine drew a coveted Unit 9 archery elk tag in just his 5th year of applying. “That particular archery tag takes residents usually 16 to 20 years to draw,” the teen said. “I just got lucky.”

Before the hunting, Vine set a goal of trying to harvest a bull in the 375-inch range. Fortunately, his dad and hunting partner, James, is a local guide known for leading hunters to big bulls.

“He hunted up there for about 20 years,” Cody said of his dad. “We spent almost every single weekend all summer long up there looking at bulls.”

Once the season began in September, the pair could get some good bulls from jump. After pursuing one particularly large creature, they covered a good section of the 1,600-square-mile unit while looking for another trophy-caliber bull.

“I think I passed on probably 80 or 90 bulls in seven days of hunting,” Vine admitted.

Then on Sept. 17, the father-son-team heard elk bugling and decided to pursue one particular bull that was close.

Responding to James’ cow calls was a massive bull that came into 12 yards, presenting Cody with a close shot. At 7:10 a.m., Vine let go of his arrow.

“He ran probably 35 or 40 yards and we could hear him crash and then we walked up to where he ran and we could see him instantly,” Cody said. “He didn’t go anywhere.”

Teen bags massive bull elk along with his dad: ‘It was way bigger than I could’ve imagined’

When they found the downed animal, it allowed Cody to see how large the bull was.

“I didn’t even get to see it really good when it came in,” Vine recalled. “My dad just said, ‘Draw your bow.’ So, I did. He said, ‘Put your 20-[yard] pin right on the center of its chest and let it go.’

He added: “So, I shot and I never got to see the points or anything. And, when I walked up to it, it was crazy — it was so big. It was way bigger than I could have imagined.”

In retrospect, Vine said the hunt was a fantastic experience, especially since he shared it with his father.

Vine said one of the reasons for their success was persisting all day long. Although he noticed some bowhunters were returning to camp by 9 or 10 a.m., he and his dad continued to hunt from sun-up to the last moments of daylight.

“We were out all day, every day, and we were always on bulls, and they were always bugling,” he said. “You just had to get in pretty close to them and then start talking to them.”

Vine’s bull officially measured 428 non-typical, with 55- and 56-inch beams and a 45-inch spread.