John's Journal...

Big Game Bowhunters Recall Their Toughest Shots

Day 4: Brad Harris and Randy Ulmer’s Toughest Bow Shots

Editor’s Note: Making a shot on an animal at crunch time makes-up both a hunter’s dreams and nightmares. Here are some dreams that came true. Can you remember the toughest shot you’ve ever made with a bow? Did you have confidence you could make the shot? Did you get lucky? Let’s look at some of the toughest shots made by some of America’s greatest archers.

Brad Harris of Neosho, Missouri – Nationally-Known Hunter and Videographer

Click for Larger ViewThe most difficult bow shot I ever made was on a turkey in Texas around 1985. The outdoor company I was working with just had begun videotaping hunts. Back then, very-few people hunted turkeys with bows and hardly anybody had a video of a bow-killed turkey. On this hunt we had a cameraman, the guide, an assistant and another member of the company’s staff. We looked like a circus parade trying to hunt a turkey with a bow as we called gobblers in the fall during deer season. When our group walked through the edge of the brush, I spotted a flock of turkeys 42-yards ahead of us. The cameraman got behind me while I watched the turkeys.

Click for Larger ViewThe gobblers started walking in single file through the clearing, and I knew this bow shot would be a long one. However, I felt I could make it. As the first gobbler came through the clearing, I watched how quickly the second gobbler came in behind him. When the third bird entered the clearing, I timed my shot to hit the fourth bird just when it got to where the third bird had been. The turkey jumped straight into the air and fell over dead. I hit him right at the base of the wing. I thought this shot was the toughest ever because I had timed it based on how fast the birds were coming through the opening, shot to where I expected the turkey to be before he arrived there and had the arrow hit exactly where I wanted it to from 42-yards away.

Randy Ulmer of Cave Creek, Arizona – Nationally-Known Tournament Archer and Hunter

Click for Larger ViewEven though I enjoy shooting IBO, ASA and field-archery tournaments, I’m also a fanatical bowhunter. I made my toughest competitive shot in the finals of the 1995 ASA World Championship when I was down by two points going into the last shot of the contest and had to make a 42-yard shot at a caribou target. I could shoot to the 12-ring and tie or shoot to the 14-ring to win. At that distance, I couldn’t see the ring I had to hit, because the target’s 14-ring only was about the size of a silver dollar. But I knew one of the arrows already in the target was about 3 inches above the 14-ring and used that arrow as an aiming reference point. I tried to stop shaking as I drew the bow and concentrated on the spot I wanted to hit. Television cameramen stood behind and in front of me. My arrow flew true, and that shot earned me $25,000. That was the toughest shot I’d ever made in a tournament.

Click for Larger ViewMy most-difficult hunting shot was a 12-yard shot on a big bull elk. As the bull raked his antlers on a tree, I crawled through a thicket and kneeled in thick cover, without a hole through which to shoot. I finally was able to lean over and look up to see a 3-inch hole that gave me a clear shot to the bull’s vitals. I was so excited and nervous that my bow visibly shook, but I finally calmed down enough to steady the bow. From a crouched position, I drew the bow, leaned forward and tried to force the shot through the hole to the bull. I found the shot difficult because of the weird angle I shot from – below the bull and up to him – and my narrow shooting lane.

For more information about deer hunting, get the new Kindle eBooks by John E. Phillips, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” “PhD Whitetails” and “Jim Crumley’s Secrets of Bowhunting Deer.” Go to HYPERLINK "", type in the names of these books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: Ronnie Strickland and Mark Drury’s Exciting Bow Shots

Check back each day this week for more about "Big Game Bowhunters Recall Their Toughest Shots"

Day 1: Jim Crumley and Chris Kirby’s Toughest Bow Shots
Day 2: Jerry Peterson and Ronnie Groom’s Hardest Bow Shots
Day 3: Toxey Haas and the Late Dick Kirby – Their Most-Difficult Bow Shots
Day 4: Brad Harris and Randy Ulmer’s Toughest Bow Shots
Day 5: Ronnie Strickland and Mark Drury’s Exciting Bow Shots

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Entry 679, Day 4