When the month of September rolls around, I always get a little curious to see when the first Internet reports of a potential world’s record elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope or whitetail will surface on the Internet.
Why? Because late August and early September is when Western big game hunting seasons begin in earnest, not to mention a few early bowhunting and muzzleloader seasons for whitetails in scattered portions of the country.
Given the speed at which news – and rumors – can fly now across both the Internet and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, and it is little surprise big buck or bull news that used to take days, weeks or even months to trickle out now speeds from coast-to-coast in a matter of minutes.
Sometimes record-book animal information is solid, sometimes it is not. Hence, the annual rash of early autumn rumors – and my potential skepticism – about big critters with massive antlers, sometimes being touted as potential world record critters.
So you'll understand when an e-mail arrived in my Inbox over the past few days, I nearly rolled my eyes when I saw the subject line touting the possibility of a new world’s record typical bull elk with a bow. Until I noticed this wasn't some random e-mail, but an official news release from the Boone & Crockett Club.
Needless to say, the e-mail suddenly had my attention.
And now the breaking big game news contained in the e-mail has the attention of hunters everywhere since B&C says a typical bull elk taken by a Montana resident bowhunter on Sept. 10 could in fact be a potential new world’s record bow kill for an American elk.
Specifically, if the news is confirmed after the 60-day drying period, then the early-archery season bull reportedly taken on Saturday, Sept. 10 could become the new Pope & Young Club's archery world’s record typical elk.
The bowhunting world has been rocked in the last few days with news of a massive typical bull elk being taken by an unidentified hunter in Montana. If the reported 429 6/8 inch net green score is upheld after the official 60-day drying period, the bull appears poised to shatter the existing Pope & Young Club world's record mark. (Photo courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club)
While details are still somewhat sketchy and slim, the B&C news release reports some eye popping numbers. It indicates the massive bow-harvested bull elk has a reported green gross score of 444 7/8 inches and a green net score of 429 6/8.
After the bull was harvested, it reportedly took the bowhunter – who was hunting solo and is choosing to remain anonymous for the moment – a couple of days to pack the animal out.
When he finally got his massive bull to the taxidermist, a Boone & Crockett Club measurer was summoned and a rough green score was obtained.
It is important to note due to the mandatory 60-day drying period referenced above, the above numbers are not official.
Still, they should be very much in the ballpark of the final numbers that will be obtained in a couple of months.
And if those 60-day entry score numbers eventually verify through future panel scoring by Boone & Crockett and/or Pope & Young Club measurers (all potential world’s record animals are panel scored), then the Montana bull elk could eventually become the new bow-killed benchmark for the species.
"The antlers need to complete a required 60-day drying period before they can be officially scored," said the Boone and Crockett Club's Director of Big Game Records, Justin Spring, in a news release. "But a senior B&C measurer taped the bull, so we're confident with the green score."
To put the early numbers on this bull into proper perspective, the current Pope and Young Club world’s record typical American elk was taken back on Sept. 16, 2005, in the big bull-rich state of Arizona.
That world’s record bull from Coconino County was harvested by former NFL football player Shaun Patterson, a defensive lineman for Arizona State and then the Green Bay Packers from 1988-93.
When the Patterson Bull was panel scored by the Pope & Young Club, the giant 2005 elk was given a final score of 412 1/8 inches.
For the record, Patterson's 2005 world’s record bull topped the 2000 world's record bull, a 409 2/8 inch typical elk killed by renowned archer Chuck Adams while he was hunting in Montana.
Incidentally, Adams nearly broke his own world’s record mark in 2003 when he tagged another Montana bull that eventually netted out at 399 1/8 inches. That bull was a part of a tremendous five-year run of elk hunting success that saw Adams tag five bull elk – including his world’s record – that all gross scored more than 370-inches.
It's been more than a decade since former NFL football player Shaun Patterson set the current Pope & Young Club's world's record for a typical American bull elk. That benchmark appears to be in serious jeopardy after an unidentified bowhunter in Montana tagged this massive bull. (Photo courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club)
But that was then and this is now with the news of a giant Montana bull elk by an unknown hunter.
In addition to potentially becoming the Pope & Young Club's world’s record for an archery killed typical American elk, Boone & Crockett Club officials indicate the current green score of this epic bull elk is some 4 3/8 inches higher than the current #4 typical bull in the B&C All-time Record listings.
"This bull may well be the largest typical American elk taken in the last 48 years," acknowledges Spring.
While this Montana bull elk won't threaten the current B&C world record mark – that bull is a 442 5/8-inch monster taken by Alonzo Winters in Arizona's White Mountains back in 1968 – it is still historical news as potentially the fourth largest bull of all-time with any weapon (rifle, muzzleloader or bow).
"After meeting the hunter, hearing the story and seeing the photos, I knew this was a special animal and a historic moment in big game hunting and conservation," said Spring. "I immediately contacted P&Y."
With a potential world’s record elk happening in the first year of his tenure with the P&Y Club, executive director Joe Bell issued the following statement:
"Any game animal taken in an ethical, sportsmanship-like manner is a trophy worth honoring," said Bell, a former editor of a bowhunting magazine who took over the top post at Pope & Young in 2015.
"However, some specimens are remarkable, not only for their size, but how they symbolize successful conservation efforts," he continued.
"The existence of outstanding specimens like this incredible animal is testament that today's hunters, wildlife professionals and conservation organizations are achieving tremendous success by practicing sound conservation and wildlife-management programs."
What will be next for this giant Montana bull elk? First, the animal's rack has to complete the mandatory 60-day drying period following the reported Sept. 10, 2016, harvest.
Then, providing the hunter chooses to have the bull officially scored, the giant bull elk will likely be given an initial entry score, one that would not become final until a panel scoring session of measurers takes place at some point between now and the P&Y Club's 2017 National Convention next April 5-8 in St. Louis, Missouri.
At that point, the bull could indeed officially become the new typical bull elk king of the bowhunting world.
In the meantime, stay tuned to OutdoorChannel.com as details emerge about this giant elk and this story continues to develop.
Current Pope & Young Club Top-10 Typical American Elk
- 412 1/8, Shawn Patterson, Arizona, 2005
- 409 2/8, Chuck Adams, Montana, 2000
- 404 0/8, William Wright, Arizona, 1992
- 402 5/8, Will Huppertz, Alberta, 2004
- 400 4/8, Larry C. Fischer, Arizona, 1998
- 399 1/8, Chuck Adams, Montana, 2003
- 398 7/8, Robert North, New Mexico, 2004
- 398 3/8, Marvin W. Wuertz, Arizona, 1993
- 396 2/8, Bill Clark, New Mexico, 2006
- 395 3/8, Jeff Larson, Montana, 2007
Source: Pope & Young Club's Bowhunting Big Game Records of North America, Seventh Edition 2011