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World Record Elk from Texas?

Archery Elk Taken in Texas

“This is a picture of Ronnie’s #1 world record elk taken with a bow near Alpine Texas on a free range (not high fenced) ranch. It had a green score of 455 7/8 B&C points. Texas Trophy hunters wants to have it mounted and take it on tour for 6 months.”

Many of you by now have seen this email or at least heard about it from a message board. It includes the photo and caption stated above. This email first hit the scene back around the first week of November 2005. I gathered some information about this bull and was going to do this post a long time ago. However, I was waiting on some other information and then got tied up in the Holidays and I wasn’t able to get to making this post until now. I continue to get phone calls and emails about this monster bull. Therefore, I have decided to post what information I know and try and help clear up some of the information contained in the email.

Let me first start by saying that this is quite a unique situation. The conclusion is not as cut and dry as you may expect, but hopefully I can provide the information that best explains the situation and still give respect to the people involved. I will go through and breakdown every aspect and give you my best conclusions.

Hunt Background:
Ronnie Urbanczyk was hunting with CF Ranch near Alpine Texas for elk. He was hunting with a bow and was being guided by Chris Chopelas. The ranch and hunt area was not in any kind of high fence surrounding. The hunt was touted as a fair chase elk hunt and the area in this part of the state is home to free ranging bull elk. The weather was hot and dry and Chris decided that they would hunt some water holes and test their luck. On the second day of the hunt, Ronnie and Chris were on a water hole. Late that afternoon this monster bull came in to water. Ronnie made a shot with his bow and the rest is history. This great bull is a 7×7 and green scored 455 7/8 gross typical using the Boone & Crockett scoring method and a potential world record archery bull.

Behind the Score:
I have been asked several times about the score of this elk and if it really is a “typical” scoring elk. This question is usually directed towards the extra browtines that are on both sides. Usually typical elk will have two browtines, the third point and then the royal fourth point, etc. It is very rare to have a bull elk that actually has matching third browtines. If there is only one side with an extra browtine, then it is considered abnormal and counted as a non-typical point. However, if it is matching on both sides, it is considered a typical point and counted as part of the typical frame. The bull has seven points on both sides. I have heard of two different scores for this bull. In the original email that was sent around, there is a score of 455 7/8. The net score came in at 444 2/8 net. I understand that this bull was later officially green scored again at 462 gross and 433 net typical. The antlers have a narrow 34-inch inside spread with 54 and 55-inch main beams, but the tine length and mass are incredible.

A guy arrows a “fair chase” bull that is not in a high fence environment. So why all of the questions, and why all the doubt? Two things made me think twice and spark my interest in wanting to find out for myself, if this in fact was a new world record archery bull. The first reason is the fact that this elk was taken in Texas. The second reason is that this bull is reported to have a score of 455. A score that would shatter the current world record typical for Pope and Young. A very interesting combination that you do not see very often (I have never seen this before). Could a bull this big legitimately come from Texas and be considered a world record under fair chase standards? A big question arose knowing that elk in Texas were not accepted game in either Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young. Would this bull cause a change in the rules?

Texas Elk and Boone and Crockett:
I contacted Jack Reneau at B&C in November and ask him about the situation of Texas elk not being accepted entry in their record book. Jack continued to explain the following, “Boone and Crockett Club does not yet have a position on the eligibility of elk taken in Texas for listing in the records book. This possibility came to our attention recently when someone circulated a photograph of a massive elk rack that was allegedly taken in Texas with a bow. Whoever sent out the email declared it a new World’s Record. It has not been submitted to either B&C or P&Y, so neither organization has any concrete information about this trophy, and it is definitely not a new World’s Record just because some unknown entity said it is. Our records committee will be discussing the eligibility of Texas elk at its December meeting in New York City.”

I thought it was very interesting that Boone and Crockett would be discussing further the possible eligibility of Texas elk in their record books. I decided to wait and see what conclusion B&C would come to later in December. After the meeting in December I followed up with Jack and received this update. “We do know that there are elk in Texas and that there have been elk transplants in Texas. However, Texas does not consider elk a game animal; they do not have an elk season; and they do not have a separate elk tag. In order to shoot an elk, you only need to have a Texas hunting license. Texas elk are not eligible for entry in B&C. Texas Parks and Wildlife does not classify elk as game animals, and does not issue an elk hunting license. In addition, there is no season or bag limit for elk in Texas. Instead, they are classified as “Exotics.” The State classified elk as game animals a few years ago, but ranchers petitioned the state legislature to reclassify them as exotics, so it did.”

Therefore, the conclusion on Texas elk being a potential world record? It won’t happen. Even if this bull truly is a “fair chase” bull, really scores higher than any other archery bull, it will not make it into the record books.

A “Fair Chase” bull elk:
The next question, and a really big one at that, is the issue of fair chase. Would this be the case of a legit bull not getting the recognition it deserves? Talking with Chris at CF Ranch, they don’t issue very many elk hunts on their ranch. The area of west Texas is wide open country with no high fence enclosures. The only fences you will find are the normal cattle fences separating different property lines, similar to what you will find all throughout the west. This area also contains the largest herd of free ranging elk in the state. There are about five to six ranches in the area who offer elk hunts, and only a total of about six elk are taken each year. Apparently there have been some elk transplants in west Texas many years ago and I ended up doing a little research on the history of elk in Texas and if there really are free ranging bulls.

Map of West Texas - Area of Free Ranging Elk
Map showing west Texas and the area of free ranging elk

Of the six North American subspecies of elk, two are extinct: the Eastern elk (through hunting, habitat loss and human settlement), and the southwestern or Merriam’s elk (through hunting and increased desertification). A population of Merriam’s elk existed in the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas. The Guadalupe Mountains are a mountain range located in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The range includes the highest summit in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, and the “signature peak” of West Texas, El Capitan. In1928, free ranging elk were transplanted to this area from North Dakota. From what I understand, there have been some additional transplants from the Yellowstone area in the 1940′s.

There are free ranging elk in west Texas that you can hunt under fair chase standards. However, how big are these elk and is there a potential for a 400 class bull? I talked with some other ranches in the area that promote elk hunts and asked them what caliber of bulls they usually take. In general, a 300 to 320 class bull is excellent. There have been some 350 class bulls taken in the past, but no record of 400 class bulls taken from this area. I asked Chris from CF Ranch what caliber of bulls they usually take off their ranch. The results were the same, however, he did mention that two years ago in the Glass Mountains a 370 class bull was taken. I asked if he had any idea that a bull this big was running around. Chris mentioned that he did in fact pick up a set of sheds about two years ago that went 430.

So how did a bull this big get in this area? Was this a freak of nature, or something else? Most people who doubted this bull from the start made the conclusion it must be a high fence bull. It’s just too big. Could this truly be a high fence bull taken in a fair chase environment? Asking Chris further about the history of the ranch, I asked if this could be a ranch bull. He told me that about seven to eight years ago, the ranch did in fact bring in some ranch bulls from a high fenced environment and were released into the wild. The bull that Ronnie shot was estimated at 10-11 years old. Usually ranch bulls that are bought are around three to four years old. Could this bull actually be a ranch bull that has lived in the wild the last seven plus years? The numbers definitely added up. Was this bull released in to the wild at age 3 1/2 and taken by Ronnie with a bow 7 1/2 years later? It started to look that way.

I received further proof about the conclusion it was a ranch bull when I received some interesting news. Chris mentioned to me that all the ranch bulls have tags in their ear. Even the ranch bulls that were released would still have a tag in one ear. When Ronnie arrowed this bull, Chris didn’t notice a tag in its ear and didn’t think much about it at the time. However, some time later, after the hunt, the cape and antlers were being scored and prepared for taxidermy work. The cape was inspected and it was discovered that one of the ears had a round hole in it. It was not a natural tear or hole from an injury. It was a clean, round hole. Chris admitted that the round hole sounded just like the hole that would be made to secure the metal tag from a ranch bull. It looks like this bull originally had a tag in it, but fell out.

Ronnie took this great bull in a fair chase environment, however, this bull is not a fair chase bull. It will not be accepted in the Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young record books because of the managed status of elk in Texas through the Fish and Game. Furthermore, even if elk in Texas were accepted entry into the record books, this bull would still not be eligible due to the fact that it is linked to a high fenced game farm.

Due to the age of the elk and the fact that the CF Ranch released ranch bulls into their ranch about seven to eight years ago, this elk is directly linked to a high fence ranch. It is not even a generation removed from a high fenced environment. I believe it is a bull that directly originated from a game farm, bred in a game farm, and later released into the wild. However, this bull was not released and immediately hunted or shot like some operations. It was in the wild for several years, but this does not change the fact that it is a ranch bull.

I appreciate the time that Chris Chopelas took in answering all of my questions and being very up front about the whole situation. He also gave me permission to post this photo of Ronnie and the bull. I know at that time in November when I talked with him, Chris was also looking for answers and trying to figure out the best way to approach this bull. He wasn’t sure what record book to approach and how to legitimately promote this bull. He wanted to do what was best and fair for the bull and the hunt. After going over all of the facts and information with him, I concluded that SCI (Safari Club International) was probably the only option he had with this bull.

Problems with elk in Texas:
Will elk in Texas ever get the acceptance from Boone and Crockett? I have my concerns the more I found out about the release of ranch bulls into the wild. I found that this is quite common with other ranches. I don’t know how this can be managed enough to ensure that the wild elk herds in west Texas stay that way. Regardless of whether the Texas Fish and Game (sorry…Texas Parks & Wildlife Department) start to manage the elk and provide a proper season and license, I feel there are problems with the elk in Texas. Land owners and ranch owners can do whatever they want on their property. If they decide to release ranch bulls on their open property, that is their choice. However, if this type of management continues, I don’t know how the elk herds can maintain the free-ranging status they now carry. Time will tell if free ranging, record book eligible elk will be in the future for Texas. I don’t see it changing any time soon.

Once again, 2005 has another controversial bull elk. But with proper information, we got it figured out.

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arrow129 Responses

  1. 99 mos, 2 wks ago

    Very nice bull and a nice article that you wrote on it.

  2. John W.
    99 mos, 2 wks ago

    Nice rack, I just curious if there is any meat left. I’ve never tasted meat off a bull thats been fed anabolic steroids and McDonald’s its whole life.

  3. Chris
    99 mos, 2 wks ago

    in my book any animal shot on a ranch “free range” or not is not worth talking about.

  4. Steve
    99 mos, 1 wk ago

    Cougers (mountain lions, pumas, whatever you wish to call them) are not classified as game animals in Texas. Yet they are indigenous, totally free ranging, and not transpanted or stocked. Just because their hunting is not regulated by the state, would a Texas couger be disqualified from record book status?

    By the same token, farm-raised elk can and do escape into the wild in states like CO, WY, and MT. Should an escaped bull shot on unfenced public land 7 years after its escape be disqualified from the records? Will current record holders challenge any new potential record by theorizing that it was, for some finite period of time, contained within an enclosure from which it could not readily exit?

  5. Phil Hendrix
    99 mos, 1 wk ago

    For many years we hunted Desert Mule deer around Van Horn in West Texas. My last hunt there was in 1990 about 8 miles South of town and East of the huge Laydo (sp?) Ranch. We were on a smaller, but equally fair chase ranch as are most huge West Texas ranches. We were warned by the land owner that well known Texas outdoor and gun shop owner Bill Carter (Carter Country) “had recently released a herd of Elk just to the East of us on his ranch” and if we saw them “For God’s sake don’t shoot one, there will be hell to pay”. I should think after 16 years, they would be considered both adapted to the environment and book elgible.

  6. Mark
    99 mos, 1 wk ago

    Nice bull.

  7. Tony
    99 mos, 1 wk ago

    Yeah, nice. I think that all bulls should be book eligible. The requirements are so confusing and sometimes it IS tougher to hunt on a ranch than free-range. Maybe that would end all these arguements and we could all just enjoy hunting, fenced or not fenced.

  8. Seth
    99 mos ago

    NICE BULL! As an associate member of Pope and Young Club I see that it is only fair that the bull is only eligible for the SCI club. It is impressive however that a pen raised bull survived for that length of time in the wild. Hopefully he passed on his genes and Texas can open a legit Elk season.

  9. Rich Davis
    99 mos ago

    hi im rich davis and im 11 years old. Thats a mega bull, but i dont think it is ethical to kill a bull on a high fence ranch, because its like just bolting its feet to the ground and shooting it. Its a nice bull though.

  10. Rob Goos
    98 mos, 3 wks ago

    This is a bunch of crap….. You cant inject steroids into an animal and call it a trophy. Trophy’s only apply to fair chase animals. There aren’t any elk heards in texas so in my opinion this is not a trophy, this is a purchased rack only! Anyone with $30,000 can take a world record elk?

  11. Jim
    98 mos, 3 wks ago

    Rob – you better look at the going price for a record book elk. “Fair Chase” auctioned elk tags should easily surpass the $100,000.00 mark this year. You are right, $30,000 should buy you a record book animal, but chances are you are going to have to pay a lot more than that unless you are willing to wait for that once in a lifetime draw in one of the western states units that holds these monsters.

  12. Lucio
    98 mos, 2 wks ago

    Steve (#5 comment) in wyoming there is no such thing as a farm raised elk, G&F does not allow it. Any elk in wyoming are true free-range animals!

  13. Michelle
    98 mos, 2 wks ago

    WOW! Nice bull too bad you had to kill it!

  14. Peter M. Cromwell, Friendly Neighborhood Gunsmith
    98 mos, 2 wks ago

    To: #1,3,4,5,6 & 7 – Amen, Brothers!

    To: #2 & 10 – is there, in fact, any evidence of steroids in this animal? Maybe we should call in the Olympic Doping Committee!

    To: #9 – I’m all for fair chase, but get some more years under your belt/miles under your hunting boots before you go casting stones. I’ve seen (footage of) “hunters” in Africa rolling up in their truck, getting out, taking 5 steps and shooting a “wild” animal. Then there are some “game farms/ranches” that are at least as challenging as any “natural” setting.

    To: #13 – No, he didn’t “have” to kill it. And you can survive by eating dirt and drinking from puddles, too!

    All of this points up the perversity of “trophy” hunting where the biggest, strongest, most well-endowed are taken. This is diametrically opposed to the rule of Nature where the old, young, weak, sick, injured, slow or otherwise disadvantaged/easy marks/just plain unlucky are taken by predation.

    I’m not saying it’s “wrong”, or that it should be looked down upon by those who choose not to participate, but it should be recognized for what it is and taken in a larger context. PMC, FNG

  15. Michelle
    98 mos, 1 wk ago

    I really doubt that he ate it to survive. Yeah right!
    Shot the animal up with steroids ummm makes for good eaten. NOT!
    What kind of hunt is that not a very good one . Here in Montana the HUNT is searching it out and actually hunting it. No steroids here thank you

  16. cheeks
    97 mos, 4 wks ago

    well, who really knows how many animals taken per year are really fair chase? in outdoor channels and in magazines. all i know is , that if your going to hunt , hunt with pride and no matter the cost , do it honestly,

  17. Frankie
    97 mos, 3 wks ago

    This is ridiculous!! Yes it was “linked” to a high rise fence farm over 8 years ago. It is not as if he walked up to it with some grain in his hand and then pulled the bow out from behind his back. Also, I agree with 14. Is there any evidence of steroids? Or just jealous people trying to come up with an explanation on how this could have even happened. Accusations that have no ground to stand on. It isnt as if he knowingly knew that it once lived in a high rise fenced area. Which I will add, there is no evidence pointing to that. I dont care who you are, you can deny it all that you want to. If you or I had enough money to go on a hunt like that we would have and done the same thing that he had. I have heard of steroid use in Montana. Should I believe all I hear or read?

  18. 97 mos, 3 wks ago

    Let the elk grow on their own!! Don’t raise them like chickens!!That’s a nice bull.

  19. Doug J
    97 mos, 1 wk ago

    WHOA!!! Thats what I thought when I first saw this BIG Fella, but I guess no matter how you look at it if this guy a HUGE Bull if I was rich I might have to go to the “Free range ranch”.I still wouldnt mind him on my wall.

  20. Ron M
    97 mos ago

    First observation is that this one heck of big rack and one to be proud of.
    I’ve read the artical above and feel that if the information stated in the story is true then this animal was indeed a free range animal taken in a fair chase hunt. Even though it may have been taken on a ranch. I hunt elk in Arizona in an area south Twin Arrows off of I 40. The land I hunt on there is both public and private ranch land and the combined land comprises a Wildlife Management hunt area.
    It sounds to me that the land in Texas and the land in AZ where I hunt are simular in land status. It is a combination of public and private land where some fences do exist but mainly to divide cattle ranging areas and land bounderies, not animal emclosures.
    Texas may not reconize Elk as a native specis but elk are living there on free range land never the less. And it’s one animal I would be proud to have mounted on my wall. I would say to anyone that it was taken on a fair chase hunt!

  21. zack
    97 mos ago

    We have a ranch about 100 miles from alpine and the amount of protein in the everyday browse is amazing. What about Kentucky they released pen elk into the wild and they are able to qualify for the Boone and Crockett book. In west Texas the coyotes run in packs of twenty or more so to say he’s not wild is crazy.

  22. 96 mos, 3 wks ago

    it dosent matter how the bull was taken its still a beautifl elk but i wouldent ever hunt high fenst game it just takes the fun out of hunting, thats why the call it hunting not killing , but congradulations to the hunter!

  23. Pete
    96 mos, 3 wks ago

    who knows, but give the guy the benifit of the dought. I hunted new mexico for the first time this year and shot a 340 class with my bow . Which was the first elk I ever seen in the wild. and between the other hunters there wasnt much to be seen the rest of the week. I dont believe in shooting game with high fences but I do believe in beginers luck so who knows

  24. Colton
    96 mos, 3 wks ago

    it is a VERY VERY nice bull and you guys all know if you would have seen a bull like that you would have shot it in a heartbeat free range or not

  25. Wyohikeit
    96 mos, 2 wks ago

    Something to think about in this potential world record is how the mixing of these different “stocked” elk results in a hybred vigor that can be geneticaly enginered. That fact changes the whole system of fair chase. Which ever state game dept. that finds the biggest mix of bulls wins? Lets not go there. The natural system seems to work fine as long as we don’t kill off all the animals with the best genetics before they pass them on.

  26. Loren Skow
    95 mos, 4 wks ago

    If you want to see another side of this elk, check out photo #7 on the “CF Ranch Elk Hunting Photos” at the CF Ranch website. Doesn’t look very wild to me.

  27. sreekers
    94 mos, 3 wks ago

    This elk is going to be on display for the RMEF in Texas. I talked to the state director last night. She was under the impression that it was going to get booked?

  28. John Taylor
    94 mos, 3 wks ago

    OK people, first of all, most of you need to go back and work on your reading comprehension. The animal was not hunted or living behind a high fence, nor was there any mention of it being given steroids (where did that come from?). And to the author, our department is called the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, not Texas Fish & Game. You’d be hard pressed to find a high fence ranch in West Texas. That is some of the most open territory on the planet. The fences that were spoken of in the article are of the 3 strand, 4 feet high variety, for fencing cattle, not game fence.

    As some of you have said, many of the wild herds that exist today are transplants. So why would the animals of West Texas be any less wild? If the animal originated on a game ranch that’s a valid point of contention, but if it is a descendant of animals released 15 or 20 years ago, then it’s as wild as any animal you’ll find in just about any state. Are the Rocky Mountain/Roosevelt hybrids found in Washington more wild? I don’t think so.

  29. Dan
    94 mos, 2 wks ago

    What the heck are you all talking about? This story isn’t supposed to ask whether YOU would hunt in a high fence or not. It’s discussing the history of this bull. I can understand the 11-year olds comment being incoherant and rambling, but the rest of you talk like middle-schoolers. And what is with “how the mixing of these different “stocked elk results in a hybred vigor that can be geneticaly enginered.” Quit trying to act like you understand biology enough to make these statements. All of you need some grammar lessons, I agree with the last post. Also, quit trying to nitpick at this guy; he went on a hunt after a free-ranging animal, and he made the shot. He didn’t hunt any differently than the rest of us, so get a life and leave him alone.

  30. zack and chzase
    94 mos ago

    Every thing is bigger in texas

  31. 94 mos ago

    The sad and harden truth of the matter is that laziness and convienence has more and more hunters using ranches to hunt from and big animals are what these ranches raise, the sad thing isnt the fact that this animal is a ranch animal but the fact that hunters are spending less time scouting and fair game hunting and more time in there recliners at hom in front of the t.v.

  32. MPJ TX
    94 mos ago

    Everything in TEXAS is bigger even our elk…..Don’t be jealous.

  33. JVR GA
    93 mos, 2 wks ago

    Wow! An awesome animal no matter how taken, free range or fence. God made him just like he made us right? To the hunters on this page. Guys and gals….As hunters we don’t need to be arguing about any hunter or animal and how it was taken as long as it was ethical. Just as you and I are reading this, so are the animal rights activist and they are in “HOG Heaven” knowing that we’re on here arguing and badgering one of our own. We need to come together as one and unite to fight for our God given rights and to beat them at their own game of trying to stop us from hunting. Every day that goes by 100′s of 1000′s of acres are being bought or leased by companies that are back by the activist groups. If we don’t let our senators know how we feel, our children and grand children will never get to feel the excitement of harvesting a great animal as this bull was. God gave us the right to manage the animals and the fish of the world…Read it in the Bible if you don’t believe me, so don’t argue, or be jealous of someone else’s accomplishments. Go out there and make your own!! Are you with me or not? If you care about the future of hunting, you’ll fight for your rights and not one another….As Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?”……We have terrorist that want us all dead, let’s fight them, not each other. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

  34. sj
    92 mos, 3 wks ago

    Wow! This was an amazing accomplishment. For those of you “ranch snobs” in other states, you really need to understand that (1) there is next to no public land to hunt in Texas – it’s 99% private (ranches), and (2) a 5-strand barbed wire fence is NOT a high fence capable of holding elk or deer inside an enclosure. It’s maybe 4 feet tall, and deer and elk hop over those fences with the same ease in Texas that they do in other states.

    If you’ve ever hunted in West Texas, you understand that this is definitely free range, as far as deer and elk are concerned. They go whereever they want to, including into the next canyon (on the neighbor’s ranch sometimes) whenever they feel like it. In that part of the state, ranches in the tens of thousands of acres are small. Many animals go wherever they want to for their whole lives and probably never cross a property line.

    IF (big if) this particular animal was ever given steroids on a game farm, as someone speculated, that didn’t have anything to do with the current year’s antler growth. If a one-time steroid injection is all it took to make an animal or a human “super” for life, then that’s all anyone would ever do. Steroid injections don’t last forever – certainly not 8 years.

    It sounds to me like this was a truly wild elk taken on a truly fair chase hunt, and it was taken with a bow. How could the chase been any fairer?

  35. Larry Boyd
    92 mos, 1 wk ago

    To read some of these comments,makes me laugh—–the trans-pecos area of Texas is very thinnly populated country with ranches of over 200,000 acres–sometimes called the last frontier–there are very few game fences at all in this area of hundreds of miles— fact is ,lots of elk herds in different states were released animals–to call this a game ranch animal ,shows most dont know what they are talking about——–retired State Animal Control Specialist

  36. russell
    92 mos ago

    verry nice. I owuld of shot it.

  37. russell
    92 mos ago

    verry nice. I would of shot it.

  38. Dave
    92 mos ago

    Everything is even bigger in Alaska

  39. Dave
    92 mos ago

    Just kidding, come on guys. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in scoring and trophy competition. Just enjoy hunting and be happy for anyone in whatever state who is as successful as this. If I were his hunting partner I would have been doing cartwheels and shaking his hand until it fell off. Remember there are young hunters watching us.

  40. dean
    91 mos, 1 wk ago

    a big bull elk was shoot in Greenwater park in saskatchewan that should score higher than this one. a 9X9 inexcess of 480

  41. justin
    91 mos, 1 wk ago

    hey i would like to see some pics of this bull from saskatchawan not sayn i dont beleive you just sayn i would like to see some pics

  42. nate
    91 mos, 1 wk ago

    as a hunter i would hope that we can put a stop to farm raise wildlife all together someone start a petition any true hunter would sign it

  43. Dave B
    91 mos, 1 wk ago

    Sounds like a lot of bull to me. (Nice trophy you got there whether the books recognize it or not, Congrats)

    91 mos ago


  45. randy messick
    90 mos, 4 wks ago

    I guided texas hunters for years in Co. on elk hunts, this is typical behavior, I had many clients that wanted to know where the feeders for the elk were. This is why I quit guiding, the b.s. from most of those Texas Trophy Hunters, just because you shoot it, does’nt mean it was Hunting, in fact most of them could’nt get any mature animal unless it was standing under a feeder or behind a fence.

  46. Dr. Barton
    90 mos, 4 wks ago

    I know Randy Mesick, we hunted with him in 1994, we both took monster mules,& I know for a fact this guy is the real deal. he has at least a dozen bucks that go book, but you wont see him bragging on them or himself, thats the way it should be.

  47. Alberta-wes
    90 mos, 4 wks ago

    Dr Barton.
    You are full of ……IT ! ! ! You say this guy is “the real deal”, The elk pictured above is not where my problem lies. My problem is with rich, soft bellied town punks, claiming crap like you just wrote. Now tell me, where in North America does a group of hunters have to go to shoot, and tag out on monster muledeer, or any animal for that matter, all just by going on a hunt. And at least a dozen book deer, before this, hunt. I and many other VERY dedicated outdoorsmen, hit the hills all year long, doing our homework, etc, yet seem to come up dry on smasher deer, elk, moose, sheep, etc, almost consistently every fall. My question to you is, are you fellas the “Real Deal “, or are you trying to draw attention to yourself from the game warden. My last red cent would bet you overweight punks, have never hunted wild game in your lives. If you have, happy night hunting. Over and out.

  48. Angry Bear
    90 mos, 4 wks ago

    Alpine Texas – What a hot, dry desolate palce for elk! I grew up not far from there in another Gem in the desert southwest known as Carlsbad, NM and I will let you know that there are a handful of elk around El capitan I have never seen them down that far but I have seen them in Big Dog Canyon – but anyway….

    The Texas hunters are a hard pill for me to swallow riding around in there jeeps with the high racks and shooting benches on the tops but i guess thats neither here nor there either or what about the way some of them drive the “feed truck down the road and as if by magic deer come for the scrub oak and mesquite and get shot while standing in the road…. I guess if you feed them you may have a chance at a dozen or more book animals seems more like chummin to me…

  49. john
    90 mos, 3 wks ago

    To alberta wes, just the facts, it takes experience to take trophy bucks, granted, alot of them you see are just penned up pets people are passing off for fair-cahse, but, Randy Messick has been bowhunting since 1972, mostly on public land, so dont knock him just becuase you arent successful.

  50. robert roberts
    90 mos, 3 wks ago

    Texas hmmmfffpppp the only way they know how to hunt is to shoot it from a barn door when the thing has it’s head in a bucket of corn. how anybody can call this hunting must be from Texas or the south east where they do the same kind of hunting

  51. phillup Mccrevis
    90 mos, 2 wks ago

    Everything is bigger in my pants……that for everyone from texas

  52. James
    90 mos, 2 wks ago

    I am a proud Texas hunter. I have hunted both at a feeder and by walking canyons and flushing them. I have to say that feeder hunting is the most worthless and boring activity ever devised. It doesn’t even compare to the stalk hunting in enjoyment. Unfortunately most Texas hunting leases save for far west Texas only allow feeder hunting because there is too high a density of hunters and is the only safe way to do it. And at prices easily exceeding $2000 per gun for open range stalk style hunting which is very diificult to afford for a mid 20-something just out of college (much less a family with kids). All that being said I choose not to hunt deer rather than do the B.S. “grocery store” hunt. It is sad that a fair chase hunt must be so expensive that it precludes many who want to from doing so.

    P.S. If you want a real rush hunt spring turkeys (shotgun only)

  53. Alberta-wes
    90 mos, 1 wk ago

    John #50,
    I fear you have taken a portion of my comment the wrong way. I have enjoyed my share of success on P&Y critters. I live right smack in the middle of big deer country. However, these bucks I have harvested are by no means monsters. There are a couple in our group that have lucked out, but have not been logging more time in the field than anyone else. The bottom line here, is that we dedicated, hunt fair chase. Good luck this fall.

  54. KEN
    90 mos, 1 wk ago


  55. Lloyd
    90 mos, 1 wk ago

    How many elk bulls were harvested in Texas last year ?
    How many of these were on an exotic ranch ?

    ” Here’s the truck , the blind . the corn, and feeder site.
    You supply a warm cadavor , bulllet , a camo suit, 50 Large and the Balrney. Sleep in the guest suite right after’” Chef Debris”, fixes the 8 courses.
    I’ll drive you out there at 6:30 where I have programed them to listen to the Jimmy Buffet tape for a feed lot call. The’ll walk right in after they hear me park the truck.
    Ready ?
    Let’s go huntin ! South Texas Style !


  56. Lloyd
    90 mos, 1 wk ago

    Yes I got my buck this year.
    Scouted the area for weeks on end, Got up at four, had the horse saddled by 5:00 A.M,
    Found my spot and waited , herd a shot from long range then saw one run down a long , narrow oak brush draw. Stalked for three hours and 22 minutes . Spooked two does with a fawn and later a spike.
    Got within 50 yards when he stood up. Nailed him with a 30-30 open sight . Dressed him out and hung him as high as I could in the scrub oak. Walked up hill to the horse .
    Got him loaded on and led the horse 3 1/2 miles back to the house .
    Hung him the root cellar for two days then spent half a day cutting , sawing , grinding and smoking jerky .I am enjoying a loin roast as I type.
    That is my idea of a Western hunt , perfect three point Muley.
    Of course he would have been an 8 by eastern justification , but a great hat rack out here in the west.

  57. Clayton
    90 mos ago

    I dont care if the elk was pen raised and released into the wild or not. If that elk survived for seven years in the wild it should be considered a legitimate fair chase bull. An elk has to have very good survival instincts to survive. The issue of genetics is irrelevant in my eyes.

  58. James
    90 mos ago

    I Live in South dakota and high fence ranches dont exist here.All the hunting is fair chase We have over 5 million acres of public land to hunt.Any hunting with the aid of feeders or baiting is not hunting its Just killing and nthats not what hunting is about. We have Monster mule deer and white tails and I have taken both but not without countless miles of walking.As far as elk we get 1 tag about every 8 to 9 years even though we have a huge elk population.We have monster bulls and a 350 to 450 is not uncommon. But we dont brag about our animals.Anyone with money can kill not hunt a huge bull.Most of us are just happy to get out in nature for some quality time. and if you happen to take a nice animal that just makes it all the better.

  59. Justin
    90 mos ago

    This was copied from the CF ranch website.

    “The hunts are not guaranteed; all hunts are conducted in a fair chase manner. The ranch strives to be accommodating to our hunting guests as various situations arise, with hunters leaving with a good experience.”

    And yes, there are free ranging elk in Texas. We have a ranch in west Texas at the base of the Guadlupe mountains, and on occasion we see a few head of elk, we know for a fact that no one near us had them released. Enough said.

  60. Tim in AZ
    89 mos, 4 wks ago

    Would anyone else agree with me that over the past fifty years or so, the vast majority of us so called “hunters” have forgotten what hunting should be about?

    Hunting used to be a means to provide food for your family. You all still remember that food is something you can eat. Meat is a great example of such, however, antlers are not.

    It seems to me that it is us, todays hunters, that have decided to displace the hunting traditions of our ancestors, (like spending time with our family and friends while revelling in the freedom that only the great outdoors can provide), with the quest to be famous for bagging and tagging the current world record of some species of wildlife.

    Sure everybody likes to tag big animals and I am no exception. However, I can I honestly say that every animal I have ever tagged is a trophy to me, “in my book”, including the little 1×2 muley I bagged just 3 days ago.

    Never would I exploit a game animal that I harvested just so it could be listed as being trophy class or myself as the hunter who killed it.

    It is a disgrace to the sport of hunting that we even bother to keep official record books. We surely would not have animals on steroids or doctored photos and BS stories every year all over the internet if us so called “hunters” were hunting for the right the reasons.

    If there was no place for these “want to be in the spotlight hunters” to publically advertise the death of these magnificent animals by listing them in record books and exploiting them for fame there would not even exist controversy as to where an animals may have been born, spent part of its’ life, rather they had been injected with steroids, or even if they were bagged on Native American Tribal lands. None of it would matter then. Just like it shouldn’t matter now.

    I know there are lots of folks out there that feel as I do and I hope I have not offended you. To you others that like the taste of hard antlers and a brief moment of fame over a savory elk or venison steak, I can only say that you are like a growing ulcer to the tradition of hunting. Eventually, “all” of us hunters will suffer the pain from this ulcer.

  61. Tim in AZ
    89 mos, 4 wks ago

    I forgot to congradulate the hunter who tagged the huge bull elk in Texas, it is truly an incredible animal that every hunter would be proud to place in their personal trophy book. I also commend all other hunters that manage to fill their tags this year and any other year, they will all make tremendous personal trophies for them. Just remember it is up to you make it a trophy, not some record book full of guidelines and limitations as to rather it qualifies or not.

  62. Todd in Alaska
    89 mos, 3 wks ago

    I always thought B+C P+Y were about recognizing the animal.

  63. coconnor
    89 mos, 3 wks ago

    most bulls taken anywhere are between the ages of 3-4,this bull
    lived almost a double life in the wild. Obviously a smart bull ,having lasted 7 seasons. good hunt.

  64. austin
    89 mos, 1 wk ago

    that elk is awesome
    me myself i just killed my first deer!
    im only 13 but i love that elk its soooo huge!!!

  65. Mike Montana
    88 mos ago

    Wow nice bull. To bad everything about this discussion is bull. Free range, fair chase, high fence…blah…blah …..blah. No one truley knows what hunting is anymore. Hunting…killing is being conducted and exploited by the fat pocket books of the greedy rich landowners and there clients. Fair chase does not exist anywhere you pass money to walk on someones land, who has planted fenced, made permanent blinds by water holes fully stocked for these so called hunters. Blah…blah..blah. Wonder what knife he used to gut, cape and quarter, I dont see any blood on his hands. What kind of pack did he use to make several trips to haul his animal out. Hunting……whatever? Working class blue collar hunters had better unite were being squeezed off public land, private land, all for a friggin dollar. Return mother earth and all its bounty to the real hunters the peasants of this country. This is not Europe ya know.You Dont allow the general public to hunt free of charge.. no record books for your animals…..period. What is Texas now 3% public land? Free range……..WHATEVER! Envy……no…..pity on you. I live to hunt and hunt to live. Try it! No fences! I would hoot and hollar for any person that took even close to this animal on public land with a public tag all I can say in this case is nice animal bad kill.

  66. Joe Martinez
    87 mos, 3 wks ago

    Incredible Bull Elk…and incredible BS… All of you nitpickers and clowns are thumping your chests and feeling brave out here in the net but I bet each and everyone of you would pull the trigger fence or No fence! and you would be bragging everyday for years hell even decades! That is a fact! So don’t give me that crapola about free range being more fair or anything. Hunting is hunting and by any which way you harvest an animal is the way to do it! Period. So long as you eat the animal and not let it waste.
    When is the last time anyone jumped out from the stand or blind and chased down a deer and killed it with a knife?? how bout a sharp stick? mano a mano… cmon big hunters where is Daniel Boone when you need him? Complaining and making excuses is lame!! Be proud a fellow hunter claimed this magnificent animal and hope you can do the same cause they are out there!

    I live in California and to hunt here is so difficult its stupid. We have destroyed our hunting tradition here because of all the liberal stupid laws being passed. We the (Hunters) are too busy to help each other out but man do we have time to knock each other down. Look around how many hunters are out here for real?

    I am originally from Texas and deer hunting is a tradition. Deer feeders, Mineral licks, food plots and all the rest of the “special” equipment are the same… just tools. Does it mean that putting on scent killer and doe urine make you a cheater? I don’t think so… Do you have to have camo? No, I have hunted in jeans and a tshirt and have taken deer. Sooo all of this fair chase and anti feeder high fence stuff…Use all the hot air to blow the grunt calls guys! And who came up with steroids? You sir should be completely ashamed of yourself for even bringing that up without an ounce of truth or facts!!? What the…? For crying out loud!!!! All of it sounds like jealousy to me, straight up whiners…. LAME LAME LAME!!!

    Congrats to Ronnie and the CF Ranch on that magical Bull!! P&Y and B&C should include this fine animal in the record books! Texas Parks and Wildlife should have an Elk hunt and should recognize these incredible creatures!

    Texas Proud and Texas Strong

  67. Jeremy
    87 mos, 3 wks ago

    Of course anyone from Texas would want this animal considered for the records. It seems ludicrous to think that anyone would even consder these Texas elk in the same category as all of the great hunting states of the west. It would be nice to see people be honest about their animals without putting up some facade about what the truth is behind them. Hunting for trophy’s is a great thing and should not try to be spoiled by the dishonesty of ranchers and hunters alike. I mean in reality who really has to live with the truth. Honestly this animal is huge, but just about as huge as the one that i seen in a Zoo when i was younger. Lets get real here and find your true fame in the wild not on a rancn.

  68. Robert Hauser
    87 mos, 3 wks ago

    I think this is a magnificent Bull Elk. Taken with a bow on open land impresses me. This bull lived 8 years on his own competeing for cows and avoiding coyotes etc. Being he was not fenced I do not see it the same as if he were let out 2 weeks ago and shot. * years folks!!!!!
    I do not like canned bear hunts or anything hunted in a fence even if the fence is 4000 acres in size. I do not fault the bowman here or his attempt to get into a record book. Steroids do not last for years and would have been long gone by now IF THEY WERE GIVEN THIS BULL AT ALL? Nice bull, too much BS from all you winers. How many buck deer are shot from a truck along the highway and touted to be from a stand in fair chase. There are many guys who would return your lost wallet but shoot a deer any way possible to own the prize. Nice bull, mount it and enjoy it in your old age. Robert

  69. granto
    86 mos, 3 wks ago

    #66 mike montana took the words outta my mouth
    and i dont want to be classified the same as high fence ranch hunters thats a load of bs , lets see mr blah what size elk do you want 30000 for a 320 b&C 45000 for a 380 b&c and 80000 for that one 480 bull that the kids are petting right now, well i think ill pick the 480 and pretend i got it on a fair chase and try to submit it in bc like everyone of my great white ranch hunting buddies do
    atthe least to say that is an amaazing bull and if it was hunted fair well nice job by the hunter and well given that he knew texas didnt get accepted in to the real books like py and bc it shouldnt matter. if he wants a record book elk start applying in states like arizona utah and nevada for their limited entry units than there wont be a problem with the record books
    besides he can put that into the high fence record books (safari club int.) oh and to anyone that hunts high fence your not really hunting so get over yourself.

  70. Jake
    86 mos, 2 wks ago

    The harvested Elk shown is a world class animal – a true monarch. As for the decision concerning its entry into B&C and P&Y record books that is up to them. As far as what hunting is – that is the choice of the person doing the hunting. Hunting today has a lot of hype pumped into by various forces be it the manufactures, the outdoor magazines or the state agencies. Yes states do promote tourism and the revenues are huge related to hunting in some states. So for those that don’t like the current trends in hunting – look at the outside forces before attacking the hunter! You don’t have to agree with another hunter’s methods or ideas but for all those ‘purists’ out there complaining and whining about what hunting is – get over yourself. Unless you hunt with a flintlock or longbow and wear a coon skin cap then don’t tell everybody how to hunt and what hunting is. Of course if you dress like this while hunting you probably are past mental reasoning. You do your thing and let all the rest of us do ours – we may ride horses some days, sleep late some days, jump in a truck at times and heaven forbid miss some shots from time to time, but you see we still enjoy hunting. Hunting is basically the only place where you are always the boss!

  71. Samuel
    85 mos, 2 wks ago

    There is a high Fence on this part of the Ranch(Head Quarters) This High fence running east to west blocks any elk from leaving this part of the ranch account the remaining part (Top south side) is encompassed by sheer rock bluffs in this part of the Davis Mnts.Which the Elk cannot traverse,making it a natural enclosure.Make no mistake these are tame elk bought from game ranches that have no fear of humans.I have been there and seen them with my on eyes.

  72. KEN
    84 mos, 4 wks ago

    be proud of the accomplishment no matter
    what everybody says who is trying to please who? be thankful that you are able to get in the outdoors

  73. RENE
    84 mos ago

    Great bull . Having guided in Colorado for these animals, I am truely proud to know this one is from TEXAS !!!

  74. Brad
    84 mos ago

    Why does every hunter seem to think that his ethics should be followed by every other hunter?

  75. David Lemmon
    82 mos, 4 wks ago

    Guys,Guys,Guys! All I am reading is a bunch of crap! jealous people! I take my hat off to the guy that shot this bull! Congradulations to him! Until I have PROOF that it was something else! At the mere mention of a fence everyone goes balistic! Any elk in the world can clear a “normal’ 3-4 foot fence with out even breaking a sweat. They also can and will run several miles with out stopping when spooked.Obviously none of you have ever been on a west texas “ranch”. I personally have never seen a ‘high fence’ there. A small piece of ground might be 50,000 acres. there are lots allot bigger than that.It basically sounds to me like allot of jealous people that have no clue what the heck they are even talking about! Congrats many times over on a great bull!

  76. Guy
    81 mos, 3 wks ago

    Nice bull – nice hunt! How many of us could have kept a bow still enough to make a shot on a bull like that! The elk was “wild” he may have came from a farm and had superior genetics, but 7 years of searching for food, avoiding predators and making a living as an elk prove to me the elk was “wild”. Ronne nor the CF Ranch ever promoted the elk to be anything greater than it was, nor did they ask a bunch of “greater-than-thou” hunters to play down the magnificent animal or the hunting situation in which it was harvested. AND YES – #13 – HE DID HAVE TO KILL IT! And way to go #9 – I am proud of any young man who is not afraid to express his opinions and step into a world full of people who can make themselves feel better by putting others down.

  77. chris maule
    81 mos ago

    Who would win in a fight between an elk and a moose?

  78. EMS
    80 mos, 1 wk ago

    “Farm Raised” or not, it’s still one heck of a bull. One that any hunter in this country would take pride in hanging on the wall. Those of you who are trying to take that pride from this man should think a little bit more before speaking. Not to offend anyone, but you were not there, you only know what you have heard and im sure you would be very upset if you were the one working your butt off for days in, trying to reach the goal of every hunter in North America. That is to take a beautiful creacher like this one. I think in all respect and good spotsmanship, everyone should be telling him what a great job he has done and wish him good hunting in the future, and who knows, maybe the good loard will make you the next lucky man to take such a great creation. Congrads on such a fine bull!

  79. Rick in Idaho
    79 mos ago

    Steroids or not, meat is meat. Anyone that says they wouldn’t eat it cuz of the steroids, I’m sure have also never enjoyed a “fast food” burger. I’d eat his ankles if ya cooked it right. It may not be everyones “style” of hunting, but its still a BIG bull. Regarding new records and such, was the shooter even the one that ‘put it out there’? I’m all about finding my own, callin them in, ect., but I’d let someone pay me for a bit to showcase that for me on tour….at least then I could afford all my draws for other hunts (that I never get)

  80. Joe Henderson
    78 mos, 4 wks ago

    First, West Texas hunting is challenging to put it mildly. Second without game management under whatever category you name it, is necessary to preserve the animals. Third, hunting is now so expensive that it is closed to middle class or below folk…only the wealthy could afford $30,000.00 elk, and it is a strain for most to afford what a deer hunt costs. So our hunting is going the way of the European or African….for the elite. As for the rest of us, it has as much acutal reality as reading about the new Ferraris in the slick coat car magazines. I do have proper gear, an elk rifle, etc. but at the cost of hunting one, I actually have a fine boar slayer.

  81. Hans Fruger
    78 mos ago

    That is a massive bull elk!!! I definalty agree with whats been said already, although this bull has been raised on a ranch, it still is wild because coyotes can be visous animals when travelling in large packs. One time I was attacked by twelve coyotes.

  82. Jeffrey
    77 mos, 3 wks ago

    first off #51 I’m from Mississippi which is a southeastern state and we do not shoot deer with their head in a bucket of corn. corn is not legal here nor in any other southeastern states. there are no game fences and everything we kill is free range. so please don’t classify the southeast because Texas which isn’t even considered in the southeast allows people to hunt over corn. and also i dont know where you are from but my brother just got home from a hunt in Iowa and guess what he was in a game fence. so i guess you innocent northern states are taking after Texas after all and putting up some fences of your own. only difference i guess is he paid his money and never got to even shoot at a deer. i bet if he had went to texas he would have at least killed something ha.

    secondly what all you brilliant people that are so against game fences dont realize is that a deer will spend its entire life in about a 6 sq. mile area of where it was born. That comes out to less that 4000 acres a deer will spend his entire life on fence or no fence. Why do you think you see the same deer on your game cameras every year, and why do pro’s like Lee and Tiffany pass on 3 year old monsters because they know that deer isn’t going anywhere he will be on that same farm next year and be a giant. so when you go to talking about a ranch thats a couple hundred thousand acres in south texas which most of them are a deer would never dream of leaving a place that big. and also when they build that fence just think about all the deer they are saving from wondering onto their ranch and getting shot by some paying hunter because if the fence keeps the deer in it must keep others out.

  83. baby jesus
    77 mos, 3 wks ago

    nothin killed on a high fence ranch should be considered a trophy. thats like a ‘who can grow the biggest deer’ contest. it’s not huntin no matter what anyone says and it’s not fair to the real hunters that don’t pay $10,000 for every animal they harvest. look at the guy in the picture. he’s not a real hunter. he’s just some rich dude that wanted to kill an elk. so he went to the closest place, paid a few grand, and killed an elk. there’s no such thing as elk hunting in texas because there is no free ranging elk in texas. as a matter of fact, just today on my way home from my deer lease in west texas, me and my dad saw a giant bull elk on the other side of a high fence. absolutely beautiful. it made me want to go elk hunting…but not in texas. in the mountains where it’s hard to kill a record bull elk. i feel the same way about any high fence game. its like huntin dairy cows. and if i offend anyone…im not sorry. you’re wrong.

  84. Texas_Jeff
    77 mos, 1 wk ago

    Obviously the previous poster didn’t read the entire article. There ARE wild elk in Texas.

    Just because you saw one elk behind one fence in Texas doesn’t mean there aren’t any free ranging elk here. In fact, there are free ranging elk here, and have been for MANY years.

    There are 254 counties in Texas, some of which are nearly as big as some small states. NOBODY can possibly be an expert on what wildlife exists in every part of every county. As for myself, I’m just waiting for Sasquatch season to open.

    Please don’t bash others and say “im not sorry. you’re wrong”, when it is a documented fact that elk live here in the wild.

  85. Chance
    77 mos ago

    Very nice article and good investigation into this bull; however, I think that some facts should have been added by the writer, or maybe they were unknown. I am a federal law enforcement agent who lives in Alpine. Not only are there free ranging elk in the Guadalupe Mountains to the North of Alpine, but there are free ranging elk herds to the East in the Glass Mountains, and to the south near Terlingua around the Nine point Mesa Ranch (this ranch by the way is roughly 126,000 acres). The Cf ranch where this bull was killed is not high fenced, and I was told by a local guide (to remain anonymous) that he was actually taken near the entrance to the CF on top of the mountain on the O6 Ranch. These two ranches border each other and have a good working relationship. From what I’ve been told by locals, these elk heards were established in the 50′s. How can you even think that they aren’t free ranging? There are documented cases of motorists hitting them on the highways every year. If they aren’t free roaming, how are they getting on the highways?
    I drive this part of the country often and have seen herds of these elk. Two weeks ago I saw 6 huge bulls near the roadside park between Alpine and Ft. Davis on the Calamity Creek Ranch. These same bulls roam bewteen the CF and O6 ranch. I saw a nice 6×6 last year about four miles from the junction of interstate 10 and Hwy 67 (Ft Stockton). That’s about 60 miles from the CF Ranch!
    Hunting in this part of the country is extremely difficult and anyone who can shoot an animal like this, especially with a bow, should be commended. Several people have mentioned coyotes in their blogs. Look up how many cougars have been killed on the O6 Ranch and the CF alone. One of the Guides said that they have spotted this bull off and on for 6 years! He was definately not pen raised or high fenced.
    I guided hunters in CO. one year and see no difference in spotting a nice elk in a herd and taking a hunter to hunt it a few weeks later, than the way this animal was taken.

  86. texas owner
    76 mos, 2 wks ago

    my family have been land owners 20 milles south of alpine tx for many generations.we have known of large elk herds not more than a few miles away for sometime now and we can’t wait until they migrate to our land.the high fence comments are ridiculous because there are none. the land is vast,open, rugged and fertille. it is expensive to hunt these high quality animals but alot of different types of hunts are.but you better be ready to work hard for a trophy because that is the way it is for mule deer on our place. what a great bull and it should be considered for some sort of texas record.

  87. 74 mos, 2 wks ago

    I just happened on this blog and would like to offer a few facts. I enjoyed a 28 year career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a Wildlife Biologist in the Tran-Pecos area of Texas.
    I began my career in 1967 and retired in 1995. When I first went to the area, there was an established herd of free ranging elk in the Glass Mountains originating from a stocking by Ira “Cap” Yates on the Iron Mountain Ranch in the 1940s. There was also another herd of free ranging elk in the Guadelupe Mountains stocked by J. C. Hunter in McKittrick Canyon, also in the ’40s. In the late 1980s, wild trapped elk from Idaho were stocked in the Fox Canyon area of the Davis Mountains, and on the Bill Carter Ranch in the Wylie Mountains Southeast of Van Horn. By the time I retired., the Glass Mountain Herd had dispersed into the Del Norte Mountains southeast of Alpine, and were being seen ranging as far south as Elephant Mountain. Let me say here that just because I mention the word “ranch” , I am talking about cattle ranches, not game ranches. These elk were not confined and were free to go where ever they desired. This area of Texas, with its rugged mountains, should not be confused with the Hill Country of Texas 350 miles east where high fenced exotic ranches abound. During this period in time, the free ranging elk west of the Pecos River were considered game animals, and a permit was needed to legally harvest one. It is possible that at least some of the elk in the area of the CF Ranch moved in from the above listed successful stockings.

    I would congratulate the young man on collecting a fine trophy. If an animal taken fairly in this wild rugged area of Texas does not qualify for record book consideration, then no animal does.

    Also, I might mention that the chief predator of elk and mule deer in the Trans-Pecos is mountain lions, not coyotes.

  88. jessica
    73 mos, 2 wks ago

    to #78: a moose would win in a fight, they are much larger…

  89. Dave varley
    73 mos ago

    I’m a 60 year old from the East and I’ve hunted free range whitetail every year with the exception of when I was stationed in SE Asia in 1968. However after wanting to go Elk hunting out West for all my life and saving up considerable money I went only to find the outfitter had over stated the availability of elk in his area and understated the physical requirements of the hunt. My guide and I saw several from a quarter mile or so away, but never closer. Yes I trained; was I in good shape?; reasonably so for a 60 year old with typical joint pain and a little extra around the middle. So who has the right to tell me that if I choose to spend my money hunting elk where I am assured of the opportunity to “hunt” and shoot a reasonable bull that I’m wrong! To heck with your ethics! If you’re such a purest why not put your .300 mag down and start hunting with a spear? I don’t care how much you scout or how far you walk or how great physical condition you think you’re in you don’t speak for me! I’ll be happy to hear the elk bugle and walk over what I’ll be sure is a adequate area of 2,000 acres or more ( yes, my standard ) to find that bull and have reasonable assurance that I’ll bring him home. I can’t afford to spend the kind of money it takes to go many times from the East coast only to see them from a mile away. Even getting close and not getting a shot would have been something to remember.

  90. brad
    72 mos, 3 wks ago

    Take a real hard look at why you hunt,think about it. If all bulls had 12 inch spikes and they never got any bigger,,,ever,,,regardless of where they lived or how old they were would you still hunt elk? Sure you would because elk are one of the most fabulous animals in the world to hunt,,,, so,,,, why are we so hung up on the size of their antlers??? We could have used body weight as the criteria for the best trophy or maybe the age of each animal,,, why do we use horn size? BECAUSE,,, horns are easy to see,,, they last forever on your wall or in your garage and there is a lot of variation depending on age,genetics,location etc. in other words horns are cool. Everytime I look at some of the horns from some of the bulls I’ve killed it takes me back to that time,that place on that mountain,,,maybe in the shivering cold,,, maybe day10 of a 12 day solo hunt, maybe within easy walk of my pickup,but always one of the most exciting times of my life and I really mean that! We as hunters are losing our way. This sport we do is NOT,NOT,NOT about who can kill some hifence,lowfence,penraised kind of nonethical but maybe legal elk with huge bone on his head,no man it’s about the experience. We have become too hung up on score and are losing the experience.
    Don’t get me wrong,I have dedicated a large part of my life to trying to kill the biggest bulls I can but there is a lot of unethical stuff going on out there. Elk are way to cool an animal to be treated as a commodity. I wouldn’t trade one of the bulls in my life for that Texas monster. If you, I mean you would kill that bull just to get his 400+ inches, not for the experience,,,,,,,then you really have no business taking an elks life at all !

  91. Chris Meyers
    72 mos ago

    This is a very nice bull in anyone’s standards. I can tell you one thing. If I arrowed this bull I sure wouldn’t care if it made the books or not. I’d love to have this one on MY wall. I have hunted and shot elk all my life and never even came close to seeing one this big. Very Very Nice.

    71 mos, 2 wks ago


  93. Darren Kramer
    68 mos ago

    First thing I’d like to say is congratulations Ronnie that’s one hell of a Bull. Myself personally the record book means nothing. If it is for the recognition of the animal why is the hunters name in the book. Have the book, remove the hunter, then you are recognizing the animal. The way I understand the article the main reason P&Y doesn’t recognize this Bull is the State of Texas doesn’t recognize it as a game animal. Maybe those who choose to hunt Texas need to spend the effort to get that changed if record books are what you what to hunt for. I would have taken that Bull in a heart beat and never applied to be in a book. But thats me different strokes for different folks so they say. big money, little money, no money it doesn’t matter we are all able to hunt in the U.S. and have the right to do anything we want that is legal. Every State has different laws governing method of take, bag limits Ect. Did Daniel Boone have to follow any game laws? Poachers and anti hunters are the enemy folk so Hunters Unite and lets keep our hunting heritage alive. CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN RONNIE WHAT A TOAD! ! ! ! !

  94. Rambo
    67 mos, 3 wks ago

    Nice BULL!!! dwarfs Utahs spider Bull (or better yt ‘the hype bull)
    Utah fish & game officers are greater in numbers than utahs elk herds

  95. Big MAC
    67 mos, 2 wks ago

    Just like one person said the anti-hunters are just loven this hate talk. Look ,I have a ranch in Texas that I highfenced it all most 20 years ago. Why you ask. Because the ranchs all around me shot everything that had horns on its head. Sence we highfenced it we have better deer bigger deer and we have only harvested 10 deer. We spend lots of money taking care of these animals. I love to Elk hunt , and some of you talk about the big rich guys buying hunts. Want does a elk tag cost for a local in the western states 20 40 100 dollars . Out -of-state $400.00 to$ 600.00 then a truspast permit cost $2,500.00 and up. So I dont want hear some of you take about hunting in Texas is all about the money. Oh by the way do you know what PETA stands for . No not that. People Eating Tastey Animals. Have a great hunt.

  96. Jaw Breaker
    67 mos ago

    New Mexico Elk are recognized yet the current stock are not native. Yes they were in New Mexico historically (Merriam’s and Rocky Mtn) but they were extirpated in the late 19th Centrury and imported in the early 20th Century.

    Same story for New Mexico’s Rocky Mtn and Desert Bighorns.

    Hell, New Mexico will be reintroducing the North American River Otter in the near future.

    I don’t know the history of other states but I have a hunch this trend is not an anomaly.

    67 mos ago

    Ok I have a few things to say… For all you people questioning whether it was a fair chase or not, this bull had been living wild for seven years after it was released and if any of you knew anything about “nature of the beast” then you would know that it doesn’t matter if he was born domestic. When this bull was released, he still had all of his natural instincts and after living seven years in the wild, should be considered as a wild animal. On top of that, there isn’t one of you fellow hunters out there that would take the time to ask yourself if you should shoot or not because it might have been domestic at one time. Considering how all other Texas hunters hunt (you know by sitting on a food plot or a feeder), I’d say this was very fairand to that I say congrats Ronnie!! Don’t let all this BS get in the way of you being proud of your trophy. Everyone feel free to write me with your arguments.

    P.S. If any of you food plot tree stand hunters want to know what real hunting is all about, come see me in western CO.

  98. Debbie
    67 mos ago

    I have hunted, filmed, and guided for elk, whitetail and other game for the past 30 years. One of the lessons I’ve learned is “A way is just a way”, mine or yours. The true meaning of a trophy falls to the “one who hunts”. A real deffinition of a hunt comes from deep within your soul, not through someone else’s idea of what should be. Years ago when I deciced to hunt with bow, I made a pack with myself and set my goals. On the elk side of things, a total of four years of hunting these magnificent creatures passed by before I harvested my elk. However, many wonderful memories of stories that I tell have nothing to do with a harvest. Two such stories come to mind: One of my fondest is of a giant 7×7 who presented me with a shot which I did not take. As I left his turff that day, I tipped my hat to him and that beautiful mountain; Another that brings a smile to my face every time I tell the stoy is about very young whitetail buck. Like most hunters who are passionate about the game they hunt, I’ve been fortunate enough to harvested my share of “trophy” game. Each and every one of these animals also hold a special place in my heart, and some on my wall. Amoung the antlered game, a whitetail doe stands clearly out. Moreover, the best of all the best is when I take a child hunting or fishing, these are the KINGs and Queens of “trophies”. Watch a childs expression when he catches his fish or harvest game; is ours as satisfiying. It is our responsibility to set an example for the generation of young people who will take our place. Ronnie knows if this great animal is a trophy to him, congratulations to you sir if it is.

  99. Texas West
    66 mos, 2 wks ago

    I have hunted elk in N. Colorado…we caught a migrating herd coming off of high BLM to the low ranch country we were on. Free Wild range elk (they cleared the B-wire nicely). My boy stepped out of a truck (on a mud road) and shot a nice 6 x 5. Took my youngest to Canada and hunted a huge ranch there (some would call this not free wild range). Worked our butts off on foot for 5 days before we hammered a 6×7. It is all in what makes one happy. Remember however, the gun grabbers and anti-hunters are after us all regardless how we hunt so we better all get it together. Actually my most exciting hunt was South of Penwell Texas…hunting wild boar at night with dogs, armed ONLY with a good knife. THAT will get your heart pumping. Good hunting all…

  100. Gut
    66 mos, 2 wks ago

    This cannot be considered “fair Chase” I lived in that area for two years. It is not in the least bit fair chase when you feed the animals on a regular basis. Shooting this elk is no more game then shoot a cow (bovine) eating hay at the feeder. Don’t me wrong this is a beautiful animal but as far as a real hunt this is far from it. You might as well start hunting cattle in Texas too because when you feed wildlife you are doing nothing more then domesticating them.

  101. Cooper
    66 mos, 2 wks ago

    Well spoken Texas West….we all may not hunt the same way or appreciate the way others may but its all in what floats your boat. We do need to stick together at the end of the day though because we may loose these rights if we don’t

  102. jonathan
    66 mos, 1 wk ago

    The way I see it texas deregulated elk they are considerd a exotic spieceis in the state of texas I don’t think it should make the books because of the state it was killed in

  103. Woody
    65 mos ago

    I just bought a small ranch right smack dab in the middle of where these elk are. There are no fences for miles around and I do not plan on fencing. So my sons and I hope that some of these free-ranging elk will paay us a visit. Congratulations on such a wonderful BULL. A wise man once told me that a thropy is in the eye of the beholder. And if the boys and I ever get a chance to harvest an ELK, it will be free-ranging. Again the Bull is breathtalking and one to be pround of and remember for what he accomplished in his long lifetime.

  104. El Paso
    64 mos, 3 wks ago

    I honestly don’t know the complete history of this particular kill (and neither do the rest of you).

    I can tell you that is is definately plausable that this animal was as wild and free ranging as any (Yes ANY) elk taken in North America.

    This is an extremely rugged, VAST and untamed region we are talking about folks.

    We are so married to the artificial boundries we call states it is nauseating sometimes.

    This part of “Texas” is BY FAR more similar to most of Southern New Mexico than the other two thirds of the state.

    There are NO native elk left in New Mexico by the way. They were extirpated long ago.

    What a stunning example of the species.

  105. george evans
    64 mos, 2 wks ago

    Nice article, Im glad the truth was discovered about it being a high fence bull, and ranch bull, I just don’t see how any man can be proud of that. People hunting ranches are giving us real hunters a bad image, trying to claim huge bulls all the time its a new record!!!If you ask me thats not hunting at all.

  106. jace
    64 mos, 2 wks ago

    Ranch hunters, fence hunters, its a joke people hunt for horns anymore and its a tragic blow to hunting. The size of the horns on the animal is not what matters and I wouldn’t want to hunt with a man like that.

  107. 64 mos, 2 wks ago

    A lot of this discussion begs the question: elk (and other game) should not be raised like livestock.

    It spreads disease like CWD from domestic to wild animals, and it promotes unethical canned hunts.

    Any game farm escapee should be treated like rogue livestock, and not as wild, fair-chase game. No record book.

    As someone pointed out, many game farm animals are fed steroids and other “supplements” to grow big racks.

    Geez, as hunters and a hunting nation, is this what we’ve come to?

  108. 64 mos ago

    well it is not a wide bull but i will
    give you your mass and points.

  109. Doug
    63 mos, 3 wks ago

    Nice bull. Nice article that covers all the angles. I enjoyed reading it a lot more than all these posts. Only a few were worth the time.
    Sounds like the guy had no idea it was “ranch-raised” or had ever had a tag. For that matter, the hole in his ear could have easily been a bullet hole.
    I have only ever seen ONE (and only one) that might come close in Idaho, and I would shoot it in a second if allowed. Until then, raghorns and cows taste fine.

  110. 62 mos, 4 wks ago

    great article so balanced and fair what a relief from the usual politcal slant in so many sport reports

  111. 60 mos, 2 wks ago

    For the 50,000th time, “Nice Bull.” By the way, the claim made above by “El Paso” that there are no native elk left in New Mexico is bull, no pun intended. However, I do agree with his statement that West Texas is vast and untamed. I believe that there are native elk left in Texas or at least some that have wandered down from New Mexico. Most folks are unaware of the fact that species such as elk, black bears, and even grizzlies are native to Texas, though most of them were killed out in the 1800s (all of the grizzlies, most of the black bears and elk). I would like to see these species make a comeback. Also, all you tree huggers need to quit whining and stay out of Texas’ business. If you don’t like hunting, don’t read hunting articles. You can take your Bambi mentality somewhere else. Keep Texas wild.

  112. Ash
    58 mos, 3 wks ago

    I don’t have a problem with hunting. I live in Mississippi so I am around it all the time and even went hunting when I was younger with my dad. But something that big and magnificent should have been left alive. I guess all we could hope for is that he was able to get his genes out.

  113. joe
    58 mos, 2 wks ago

    I worked down there in the oil fields. all of the elk that I saw had eartags which means that they were all imported, probably from new mexico where elk are meant to be!

  114. Rick Payne
    57 mos, 1 wk ago

    Hi Guy’s,
    The Elk (Wapiti) that was harvested here is magnificent, and yes this Bull is most definately an “exceptable example” of nature at it’s “Best”……….on the other hand, the other bull (trash talk), would also be an “exceptable example” of nature at it’s “Worst”!!!…………..Please remember that we are blessed to be able to enjoy these awesome creatures, and that when you are layin your head on the pillow at night,….. you know what’s right and wrong!!!!……………….Work with the facts, throw out the opinions, and understand that we are not in a posistion to point the finger!!

    P.S. Antlers not horns, are what these animals have topside……they are replaced every year by something better, or possibly larger…..and the beauty of the animal is greater than the bounty, although the best looking Elk or Deer I have ever seen, was on the barbeque grill!!!
    Rick/Traditional bowhunter!!

  115. Greg Taylor
    57 mos, 1 wk ago

    Nice bull but several disturbing facts are misguided. First is the mention of how Eastern and Merriams subspecies became extinct. This was not due to hunting but as a result of Market hunting. Hunting as a managed practice did not cause the extinctions. Secondly it is disturbing that elk are being released from farm operations which introduces the great chance of spreading diseases into wild populations. CWD, Tuberculosis and Brucellosis as prime concerns! This is a prime concern and dangerous to our wildlife!!

  116. shane
    53 mos, 3 wks ago

    it should be in the B&C, it doesnt matter that elk are not native to texas because we raise them and sell them them to new mexico and colorado ranches anyway

  117. magdalene
    53 mos, 2 wks ago

    The only bull in this picture and story is the kind left after the cows come home. The model is as real as a 3 dollar bill.

  118. Nicho
    53 mos ago

    things sure are a lot different in Montana, where a trophy comes from hours of effort not dollar bills in the back pocket. regardless to all this talk about legit hunting ethics and the debate between grain/steroid fed, this is a lot better than climbing out of a jeep and blasting an elephant bull from 15 yards and claiming “an amazing hunt”. Congrats to you on the bull.

  119. Kacey
    50 mos, 3 wks ago

    What a joke. That bull is huge, but they get that way when they are selectively bred on a farm. Even the friggin ranch owner admitted it had a hole from a tag in its ear. I dont have a problem with the guy paying money to shoot a huge bull, thats what the majority of hunting is moving towards. Just dont try and tell me west texas is an elk mecca that could naturally produce a bull that size without selective genetics. Also, what elk couldnt live 8+ years in texas, where are the predators? coyotes? Mountain lions? gimme a break it was released full grown. it has no competition for food, cattle cant jump fences. if coyotes and cats were so hard on elk then why were’nt western elk killed off till wolves were re-introduced? where are the grizzly bears? hey texas elk experts, are there free ranging herds of grizzlies too? Just because it isnt in a high fence doesnt make it natural. I am glad there are herds upon herds of huge elk in texas. All you texas hunt masters dont have to come to Montana.

  120. Dale Parker
    50 mos, 3 wks ago

    Congrats on the nice bull. I think anyone on here would’ve pulled the trigger on him. I live here in the area and work on a place that neighbors the CF. I don’t know if the hunter reads this blog or not…I kind of hope he doesn’t. It’s a shame to me to hear all the bashing of this guy. Hunting has changed over the years…most of us aren’t trying to feed our families. Those of you disparaging these trophy hunters don’t seem to have any problem having their license fees subsidize your public lands. I’m all about maintaining the integrity of fair chase, and I probably never will be able to pay for a really great elk…but I don’t have to trash the guy that can, unless he’s putting a bullet in something they just kicked out of a trailer. That’s not the case wtih this bull. There’s sure been a whole lot of talk from folks that don’t live around here,speculating on this hunt. Ronnie sure didn’t shoot him out of a feed bucket on the CF. You can say all you want about where folks should hunt, but in Texas this is our option…small percentage of public land. That talk about “this ain’t Europe” smacks of redistribution of wealth. My opinion is this guy has nothing to be ashamed of…he took a great bull on a fair chase hunt. After the fact it seems this bull may have come off a game ranch, but he’s been running wild for a long time, and Ronnie didn’t get to see his pedigree prior to laying him down. I can see why he couldn’t be in the books, with him being born on a game ranch and all. I really don’t see Texas elk ever being recognized because there’s just too much money to be made releasing these elk to sell for high dollar hunts. Even if they were to somehow legislate the release of bulls, I don’t know if the herd would thrive based on the amount of habitat and predation. Anyway, good bull no matter what and nice to be able to discuss him. Good hunting!

  121. oneshot
    48 mos, 3 wks ago

    I lived in the Fort Davis/Alpine area for several years. There have been elk there for many more than 7-8 years. For all of you folks who do not know it, Mount Livermore, northwest of Fort Davis, has seen the harvest of several large bulls, none of which have ever had ear tags. They were born there and, having been on hunts, the terrain is mountainous with pine trees, etc. and no fences. The animals are “free range”, not fed, and the hunts are real.

  122. John
    44 mos ago

    In the 1950′s and ’60′s a rich old man named Cap Yates brought in many elk in the southern part of the Glass Mountains near Marathon Texas. These Elk populated and spread across the range and over the years some wound up in the Davis Mountains between Alpine and Fort Davis. The distance is not that great. I have seen many 300+ class bulls during my cowboying days in that country. They are sparse, but still there. I doubt if this bull was a CF import. One Ranch, near the original Cap Yates property, where he is buried in a high canyon by the way, used to wake us up bugling just a few hundred yards from our bunkhouse. He was as reliable as a rooster and would have scored well over 350 BC. We never bothered the elk because it was just kind of cool having them around, except for the fact that they play immortal hell on fences.

  123. cw
    42 mos, 1 wk ago

    there is no high fence between nm and texas. so elk have crossed into texas and vice-versa forever. same as pronghorn. the country in question is desolate and extremely rugged.

  124. Adam
    41 mos, 2 wks ago

    Nice Bull, thats all im going to say about that.

  125. 40 mos, 3 wks ago

    In the 1950 Cap Yates brought elk in to the glass mountains.
    No elk before that there or in the the davis mountains. The elk in question was brought in and raised and feed. Either by CF Ranch Or Beal ranch. In no way should this be a record although it is a great elk.
    The terrian is not that good the have an elk that good in this area without feeding thern. Those ranches feed them all the time. I was raised here and my family came to davis monutaina in 1896 an on the Marathon basin we were friend with Cap Yates. no natural elk no record

  126. justin
    40 mos, 1 wk ago

    no biggie. I killed a bear the size of a jeep

  127. DavidM
    38 mos, 2 wks ago

    An added thought- if you could breed them that big, promote them as a tourist attraction- the Prehistoric Elk park.

  128. 32 mos, 3 wks ago

    I have a little land in the area and I have seen mule deer and pronghorn antelope but there is such tremendous pressure from cattle and sheep, and melon farms and irrigated golf courses and fences of course. Elk are native to the region since the Pleistocene folks, the wander freely between the TX and NM border. I have mixed feelings on trophy hunting but you know the facts are that hunting dollars have kept animal habitats INTACT around the planet from Africa to West Texas, which is a feat that no NGO or save the cuddly wuddly animals private non profit can do. I think there is a huge opportunity here–the Trans Pecos could be rewilded, cattle could be minimized and elk, bison, jaguars could be brought back to the region. The pronghorn antelope which have had a terrible time of it and the native Desert Bighorn sheep are also just hanging on as well, and they would thrive if the region gets on a campaign to replant with native grasses and forages. And thats just the mountain regions, there is a whole fast area between the mountains and the Pecos River and that whole region could be a new home for endangered Rhinos, The Somali Wild ass and some other african species–safari eco tourism would be a sustainable and lucrative industry to revitalize the region, which is in a constant state of semi depression and drought. The hospitality industry on down would benefit–it would revitalize the ecology and be my eyes, unless I am totally niave it would be a win win all around…Mike

  129. Terry Honeycutt
    32 mos, 2 wks ago

    It’s all about the money, what does the Elk know about high fences or for that matter any fence. Just because they are protected by private property, and fences does that mean there not a trophy. You people act if they were a hybred or some special cross breed Elk. it all has to do with longjevity, nutrition and not being persued on a daily basis. Folks an Elk is a Elk. But as I stated in the first part of this response it’s about money, It’s also about very jelous people wanting it all to theirself, to charge hunters more money. I’m suprised someone has not sued these outfitters for charging higher fees for trophy animals, if there are not farm raised like cattle then they are public property, managed by the game department. Therefore, the Lacey act will prevail, no different in selling game animal parts than charging more for a animal that God has created in a old trophy size.

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