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3 Epic Elk Hunts From 2022

Here are the awesome stories behind three of 2022's biggest bow-killed bulls.

3 Epic Elk Hunts From 2022

Mahlon Barkman of Ohio poses with the gigantic 6x6 he harvested while hunting New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness with New Mexico Professional Big Game Hunting in 2022. The bull grossed 404 5/8 inches, with a net score of 395 5/8. (Photo courtesy of Ben Chapel)

Gila Wilderness Giant — Mahlon Barkman

When Mahlon Barkman opened an email from the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish in spring 2022, he was shocked to learn he’d drawn a tag for one of the coveted elk-hunting units in the Gila National Forest in his first year of applying. Securing the permit, however, was just the first step on an incredible journey that would take him to great highs and lows by hunt’s end.

Barkman, who would be bowhunting with New Mexico Professional Big Game Hunting, immediately reached out to guides Ben and John Chapel, since he still wasn’t fully convinced he’d pulled a tag.

“I couldn’t believe my...

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