Dave Kammerdiener acquired one hell of a birthday current this 12 months. After 21 years of making use of for a bull tag in his house state of Pennsylvania, he lastly drew one this August. Just a few weeks later, with some assist from the guides at Trophy Rack Lodge, Kammerdiener killed the largest archery bull ever taken in Pennsylvania. He tagged the bull on Sept. 15, the identical day he turned 66.
Nicknamed the “Dagger Bull” by Kammerdiener’s information, Matt Lutz, the bull’s rack was formally measured by a Boone and Crockett scorer on Sunday, Dec. 12. The 11×7 non-typical big scored 446 and 0/8 inches (462 and a pair of/8 gross). Along with crushing the present state archery file of 400 and a pair of/8 inches, Kammerdiener’s bull will even go down because the second largest Pennsylvania bull ever taken by a hunter with any weapon.
“At any time when I drew this tag for Pennsylvania, I stated it was like me profitable the lottery,” Kammerdiener says. “And once I acquired this bull, it was like hitting the Mega Thousands and thousands.”
Profitable the Lottery
Kammerdiener has utilized for one in every of Pennsylvania’s coveted bull tags yearly because the state Sport Fee opened its first fashionable elk looking season in 2000. After accumulating choice factors 12 months after 12 months, decade after decade, his title was lastly drawn this summer season.
Now retired from his profession as a heavy freeway carpenter, Kammerdiener says he’s hunted whitetails with a compound bow for a few years. However he now hunts with a crossbow as a consequence of a rotator cuff damage, and when he realized that he had drawn the tag in late August, he solely had three weeks to prepare earlier than the season opened on Sept. 10. (Pennsylvania’s common archery season runs for 2 weeks, excluding Sundays, from Sept. 10 to the 24.)
“I hadn’t even began practising for archery as a result of [deer season] doesn’t are available till October right here, so I believed I’d higher begin,” Kammerdiener tells Out of doors Life. “I used to be placing them in a grapefruit-sized goal at 50 yards and placing them in a paper plate at 60. However 50 is kind of a poke and I believed that was about my restrict.”
Kammerdiener determined to go along with an clothing store, since this is able to be his first and sure final likelihood to chase elk in Pennsylvania. (PGC requires hunters who draw elk tags to attend 5 years earlier than making use of once more, which implies Kammerdiener must wait till he’s 71 to even have the chance to attract one other tag.) After talking with a pair native outfitters, he booked his hunt with Trophy Rack Lodge, which is owned by Larry Guenot.
“I met with Larry, and he instructed me, ‘I’m gonna put you in entrance of a 400-class bull. My information Matt has been after this factor for years.’ And I’m pondering, Yeah, appears like a automotive salesman to me.”
Calling the Dagger Bull Into Vary
Because it turned out, Kammerdiener, his information Matt Lutz, and his good friend Bud Sagle, who joined them on the the hunt, would catch a glimpse of the record-breaking bull on the opener. It was the second elk they’d heard that morning, and Lutz acknowledged the bugle instantly. It belonged to the identical monster bull he’d been chasing for the previous two years.
“Matt known as this one the Dagger Bull,” Kammerdiener says. “He acquired him on a path digicam a few occasions and stated he had lastly confirmed again up this season. ‘That’s the one we’re after,’ he instructed me.”
The bull slipped again right into a dense patch of bushes with a couple of cows by the point it warmed up that afternoon. This gorgeous properly summed up their routine over the subsequent 4 days of looking: get up early and hike six to 10 miles by noon, then head again to the lodge for the afternoon earlier than setting out once more for a night hunt.
“He would come choose me up each morning, and we’d stroll again alongside gated roads onto state sport lands,” Kammerdeiner says. “Matt’s about 120 kilos soaking moist, and he strikes like a gazelle. I don’t know the way he strikes so quick, however I’d nearly should run to maintain up with him.”
On Sept. 15—his 66th birthday and his fifth day chasing Lutz by way of the Pennsylvania woods—the three have been joined by one other information, Abner Dunkermiller, who’s an skilled elk caller and the gross sales director at FOXPRO sport calls. Dunkermiller cow known as by way of the morning and drew the Dagger Bull inside earshot, however once more the bull stayed out of vary. Dunkermiller additionally known as in a giant 6×6 that morning. The bull walked properly inside Kammerdiener’s vary, however he handed on the bull they usually headed again to the lodge for the afternoon.
Someday after 4 p.m., Lutz, Sagle, and Kammerdiener hiked again into the identical space on state land. Fairly quickly they heard the Dagger Bull bugle once more. Afraid of pushing it even deeper into the forest, they waited in a meadow on the sting of the timber and tried to name the bull into the open. Slowly however certainly, the bull labored its manner towards them, and Kammerdiener lastly acquired his alternative about quarter-hour earlier than authorized taking pictures mild expired.
“Over the last 5 minutes he actually closed in. Matt gave a cow name, and proper earlier than he stepped out into the sphere, Matt’s telling me, 50, 45. Shoot. Shoot,’” says Kammerdiener. “I had a heck of a time as a result of I needed to ensure I had a very good shot on him, however once I let her rip, it appeared like I hit a five-gallon bucket.”
When Kammerdiener regarded again at his information, Lutz was shaking greater than he was. Two years of arduous work, mountaineering, and scouting had lastly paid off. Lutz took them again to the lodge, the place they waited till 11 p.m. to begin monitoring. It didn’t take lengthy to get better the bull as soon as they discovered a blood path. Kammerdiener’s bolt had handed by way of each lungs and nicked the guts. When he noticed the elk piled up in a patch of ferns, Kammerdiener began shaking too.
“These ferns have been about 4 foot excessive,” he says. “I regarded down and noticed horns sticking up, and I’m like holy hell. I get down there, and oh my God is that this factor large.”
Kammerdiener despatched within the Dagger Bull’s official scoring sheet to the Boone and Crockett Membership on Monday, and the PGC will add the bull to its file books after it’s verified by the membership. Evidently the Dagger Bull will even take his place within the B&C file guide, as Larry Guenot claimed in a latest Fb submit that not solely is Kammerdiener’s bull the second greatest elk ever taken by a hunter in Pennsylvania—it’s additionally the seventh greatest non-typical bull ever taken in keeping with membership information.