OUT: Utah hunter’s ‘spider bull’ elk measures world class numbers

Courtesy Boone and Crockett Club
DENNY AUSTAD of Ammon, Utah, used a rifle he designed to kill this bull elk last September near Monroe Peak in Fishlake National Forest. The elk has been scored by the Boone and Crockett Club as possibly the largest ever killed in the wild.

An Ammon, Utah, hunter this fall killed what’s been scored as the largest elk ever taken on public land and perhaps the largest elk ever killed in the wild.

A special judges panel from the Boone and Crockett Club last week gave Denny Austad’s bull elk a final score of 478-5/8 nontypical points, more than 93 inches above the Club minimum score for nontypical elk and more than 13 inches larger than the previous world record.

According to Boone and Crockett officials, the bull elk had a gross score of 499-3/8, the only bull in records going back to 1830 that approached the 500-inch mark.

The Boone and Crockett scoring system rewards antler size and symmetry but also recognizes natural imperfections with non-typical categories for most antlered game.

Austad’s bull has been dubbed a “spider bull” for its unique antler configuration. The bull’s final score of 478-5/8 inches includes 140 inches of abnormal point, including nine points on the left antler and 14 points on the right.

The larger antler has a base circumference topping 9 inches.

Austad was hunting near Monroe Peak on the Sevier Plateau in central Utah when he killed the bull on Sept. 30. He said he hunted for 13 days before harvesting the animal.

Eldon Buckner, chairman of the Boone and Crockett Records of North American Big Game committee, congratulated Austad and credited his world record to the tremendous management of habitat and wildlife by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Fishlake National Forest.

“Utah’s conservation professionals really deserve a pat on the back, as do the citizens of

Utah for their support of their state’s wildlife programs,” said Buckner.

The previous record for non-typical American elk was 465-2/8 B&C points. That bull was found dead, frozen in Upper Arrow Lake, B.C., in 1994.

For hunter-taken non-typical American elk, the previous top bull scored 450-6/8 B&C points, taken in 1998 in Apache County, Ariz., by Alan Hamberlin.

Buckner said qualifying Boone and Crockett records book entries for American elk have increased 193 percent over the last 30 years, from a total of 14 in 1977 to 41 in 2007.

Across all categories of native North American big game, the overall trend is even higher with 344 qualifiers in 1977 up to 1,151 in 2007— almost a 235 percent increase.

Buckner credited the increase in qualifying entries to ever-improving conservation practices resulting in flourishing big game populations with balanced age-class and mature, trophy animals.

More information about the Boone and Crockeet Club is available at http://www.booneand


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