2012 Strip Archery Hunt

Aaaaand were back! Wow, a guy goes scouting and hunting for a little while and 2 months go by! My apologies for the long absence from the blog. I give my word it won’t happen ever again. In fact, we intend to ramp up our blog activity and hopefully build a faithful following. Anyways….

One of the best pieces of business advice I feel I have ever received is this. “Surround yourself with people better than yourself.” I have worked hard to do this and can honestly say that it has been achieved. Case in point is the unreal job that AZSB guide Bob Dykeman, Hunter Gary Galford and assistant Tyler Tyree, did on the opener of the 13B bowhunt…

In early July while hitting all my old spots I found a great buck that appeared to be half grown. He was a 6×7 and, although a dandy, didn’t strike me as something we would be hunting. My initial opinion was that he would finish a bit over 200″ A dandy for sure but not the type of buck we focus our attention on. So, I dismissed him early and gave him little thought as the summer rolled on. In case you haven’t heard the Strip is suffering a below average year this season. Bone dry conditions thru May and June have reduced many of our 200″+ inventory list to bucks that are mildly interesting to look at. In fact, to put a number on it, we have found exactly 25% of the gross 200″ or bigger bucks than we had found this time last year, or the year before, or the year before that…Anywho it is a tough year to say the least. So amongst our team we had seen 3 bucks that we wanted to kill ahead of this buck. Not to take away from him at all, he just wasn’t going to be our focus. The massive amount of rain the Strip has received this summer climaxed two days before the bow hunt started with a 2.5 inch flood that removed a few roads from existence and furthered the water options for the deer even more than they had been already. So as the 24th of August approached, my gut tightened as we repeatedly failed to relocate any of the best bucks we wanted to kill…




Bob dubbed this buck “Hollywood” due to the fact that the paparazzi seemed to follow him around. He resided in one of the most popular areas in 13B and was readily visible from the main road. He was well known and we knew that he was going to be hunted HARD come opening day. Now, we normally have so many big buck options that we don’t have to join such circus events but this year was different. After discussing the facts with Gary Galford, the Pennsylvania hunter that would be paired up with Bob, we decided to make a run at this buck, at least for the first two days. Bob immediately went to work putting a plan together that he felt would give him and Gary an edge over the other ten tags and guides that would undoubtedly be hunting for Hollywood. Three days before the hunt, the buck vanished. Several camps popped up in the bucks area and the human activity quadrupled in the week leading up to the hunt. Bob was able to put a pattern on Hollywood in the area that he had chosen to hide in. As the night before opening day came to a close, tension was high. It always is on the eve of big buck hunt…

3:00am came quick and as Bob and Gary and Tyler slipped down the main road, not a single light shown from any of the other camps. Bob and Gary parked and walked an old two track up into a saddle near where Bob had been watching the buck. Gary positioned himself in the saddle and Bob climbed the knob just west of Gary. Tyler hung back to start looking in some other areas that Hollywood frequented. Still well over an hour before daylight, Bob quietly set up his optics and began to glass with the little moonlight that was available. As Bob dug through an oak choked hillside he glassed up Hollywood bedded in the dark! The buck was exactly where we hoped that he would be and as daylight began to erode the darkness, Hollywood rose from his bed and began to feed downhill. Gary was 250 yards below the buck. Via signals from Bob, Gary quietly closed 100 yards on Hollywood. Simultaneously, Hollywood closed 100 yards on Gary. Gary hunkered down next to big burnt pine tree as the tremendous deer continued to come his way. Due to the thick brush, only bits and pieces of deer could be seen by Gary. That is until Hollywood stepped clear at 38 yards. Like the well seasoned veteran that Gary is, he eased his bow string back undetected. The rest is history. The 38 yards chip shot went off a second later. The two blade Rage head entered exactly where it was intended and the outstanding buck was down in less than 30 yards. The entrance hole was amazing and if it hadn’t been witnessed I would have sworn that Hollywood was ax murdered! After we all gathered at the dead buck, it was instantly apparent that we had drastically under estimated the size of this buck. As is so common on Strip deer, when you approach a dead one they seem to grow on the ground instead of shrink. Hollywood’s gigantic body was the reason for the under estimation. At a live weight approaching 300 pounds we were 15 inches low on our guesses. We took our pictures and butchered the deer and got him back to camp as quick as we could as the heat mounted.


After reducing the head down to the skull cap and antlers we began to tape the buck. As we figured, each measurement was much longer than we had estimated. The final tally came back at over 220″! To be sure that we had it right we taped him again. It was the same at 220.4 His frame was a hair over 192″ with 28 inches of extra.

I want to say thank you to Gary Galford for trusting us with his valuable tag, I want to thank Bob Dykeman for his unrelenting drive for success and his endless dedication to AZSB. And last but not least to Tyler Tyree for the multiple rough miles hiked and the gallons of sweat he poured out for the cause. I can say with full confidence that the future of Arizona Strip Bucks LLC is blindingly bright and it is due 100% to the team of individuals that make up our company. I could not be prouder of what we are building.

PS- We still have two guys hunting and each is hot on a whopper buck. We unfortunately had a missed shot on the morning of day eight but we are still grinding and odds are fair that there will be more bucks to post in a day or two. Thanks for reading and God Bless….Matt

Be sure to check out Matt’s website here…


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