TIMES STAFF REPORT
FRANKFORT - A bull elk taken by Franklin Scott of Floyd County is not only the new state record typical bull, but also Kentucky’s first Boone and Crockett Club record elk. Officials with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources measured the bull’s antlers Monday at an official scoring event at the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort.
The bull’s final score was 361 4/8 in the Boone and Crockett Club official scoring system, surpassing the former state record typical bull elk score of 319 6/8 held by Paul Cummins of Mt. Vernon. The Boone and Crockett Club officially recognizes trophy elk when they score at least 360.
“This is the first bull we’ve had that qualifies for the Boone and Crockett three-year Awards Program,” said Tina Brunjes, big game program coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “Having Boone and Crockett-caliber animals is indicative of the overall quality of our elk resource. We have a healthy elk herd now. It’s time to grow it and manage it.”
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, together with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, began restoring free-ranging elk to Kentucky in 1997. The elk herd now numbers an estimated 5,700 animals in southeastern Kentucky. Scott took his state record bull in Knott County during the 2006 bull elk hunt. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Scott said. “I’ll cherish it, that’s for sure.”
Seventh District Fish and Wildlife Commission Member Doug Hensley announced the official score and congratulated Scott on his successful hunt. “This is a magnificent animal,” Hensley said. “I’m proud to live in Kentucky and to have an organization like the Department of Fish and Wildlife to take a chance and release elk in this state.”
Knott County Judge Executive Randy Thompson is proud that the official state record elk came from his home county. “It doesn’t surprise me at all,” Thompson said. “We have the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi here in Kentucky. The potential for tourism for this state and for Knott County in particular is tremendous.”
Elk enthusiasts will soon be able to see Kentucky’s new state record at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg. The park, known for its guided elk tours, will display the elk mount in the lobby of its May Lodge.
“We are fortunate and very honored (Scott) chose to give us the opportunity to display it here at the park,” said Park Manager Scott Ringham. “It will be the first thing you see when you walk into our main building."
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials also scored the non-typical bull elk taken by Danny Waldroup of Waynesburg. The bull scored 342 3/8, larger than the former non-typical state record of 320 2/8, taken in 2005 by Matthew “Train” Hall of Middlesboro. Officials expect Hall’s non-typical bull elk record to fall this year. However, a new non-typical record has not yet been declared because another large non-typical bull of similar size, which was taken during the 2006 hunt, has not yet been officially scored.
Kentucky’s state record has fallen almost every year since limited elk hunting began in 2001. With a growing herd and quality elk habitat in southeastern Kentucky, hunters may again see a new state record in future years.
“Everything that’s happened until now has been exciting,” said Chad Miles, Kentucky’s representative for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “But what happens in the next 10 years will be even better.”
For your chance at hunting elk in Kentucky this year, pick up an elk lottery application before July 31 anywhere hunting licenses are sold. Lottery applications cost $10 and winners are drawn randomly in early August.