Astonishing news from the Boone and Crockett Club to kick-off the year:
“Perhaps the largest elk ever produced in the wild—a Utah bull taken in 2008 by a hunter on public land—has been confirmed as a new World’s Record. The official declaration was made [January 2, 2009] by the Boone and Crockett Club.A Special Judges Panel determined a final score of 478-5/8 Boone and Crockett non-typical points, an incredible 93 inches above the B&C minimum score of 385 for non-typical American elk and 13-plus inches larger than the previous World’s Record.
With official data dating back to 1830, at 499-3/8 inches it is the only elk on record with a gross score approaching the 500-inch mark.”
The bull was killed in September 2008 after a 13-day hunt by Denny Austad of Ammon, Idaho, and is affectionately referred to as the “Spider Bull” for it’s unique rack. The Boone and Crockett Club credits “this new World’s Record to the tremendous management of habitat and wildlife by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Fishlake National Forest.”
Near the site of this trophy kill is Fishlake Ranch, a ranch for sale in Salina, Utah. It’s a private inholding, surrounded on three sides by the Fishlake National Forest, and is considered one of the finest fair-chase trophy elk properties available in the world today.
Doyle Moss, president of Mossback Outfitters, is very familiar with the property and says, “The ranch is an absolute elk factory. The rut on this property is total chaos. It’s impossible to describe the bugling and big bulls tearing it up here in September…”
There are 12 bull tags, and over 18 mule deer buck tags allocated through Utah’s Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit Program. Under this program, you can set your own seasons and thus hunt elk during September (rut) with rifles. Over the past five years, the average score on bulls harvested on the ranch has been over 345” B&C. There have been five bulls killed grossing over 385” B&C. Two years ago, a 214” gross mule deer was killed here.
Utah State University biologists even conducted a study in 2005 which revealed that this ranch, at any given time, holds at least 20% and up to 40% of the Fishlake Herd. The Fishlake Herd population, which the formentioned “Spider Bull” was part of, is estimated at 4,000-5,000 animals, so there are between 800 and 2,000 elk inhabiting this ranch. During September, it is not uncommon to see over 100 bulls per day. These same experts believe this property is one of the highest density calving grounds on Earth.
Top photo: Hunter Denny Austad with the “Spider Bull.”
Bottom photo: Fishlake Ranch, a ranch for sale near the Fishlake National Forest.