Harrodsburg resident Terrell Royalty’s 7×7 elk scored 372 6/8 in the Boone and Crockett Club scoring system, besting the old record of 367 7/8 taken in Harlan County in 2008. Royalty took his record elk from a wildlife management area in Knott County on Oct. 4, 2009.
“This new state record shows the quality elk hunting we have on our public lands,” said Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Jon Gassett. “In addition to the great elk hunting on private lands, Kentucky boasts world-class elk hunting on public lands as well.”
A non-typical rack means the tines are not located in a typical location. Royalty’s elk had seven tines each on either side of its rack. The score is the totaled measurements of the main beams, tines, width and mass. The trophy could not be officially scored until after a 60-day drying period.
“I’ve hunted all of my life, I’ve had buck fever and all, but this bull was by far the biggest adrenaline rush of my life,” said Royalty, 52. “Once it hit the ground, I felt like I was being stabbed with a million needles and it lasted two or three hours. I was almost in shock.”
Royalty said he scouted the area with help from his friend Paul Moore, who participated in the 2008 cow elk hunt. “We started scouting well before the hunt and found this bull,” Royalty said. “Paul and I grew up together, and he helped me a bunch.”
The first week of the 2009 bull elk season started Saturday, Oct. 3. Royalty’s hunt proved fruitless for a day and half. Then, about 2 p.m. Sunday, Royalty, who was hunting with his best friend, Brad Smith, and guide Bob Hunter, heard a bugle.
“After we heard that bugle, we moved to get out front and downwind,” he said. “We tracked and tracked to stay out in front of this bull. About 5 p.m. or so, a cow calf came out and we cow called back and forth. Then, the one cow calf turned into about nine. The cows came out in twos and got older and bigger as they came out.”
The trophy bull then appeared in the clearing around 6 p.m. and bugled at another bull in the distance. “He turned broadside and everything was perfect,” Royalty said. “It took 15 minutes to get the right angle on him.”
Royalty, who estimated that he was 340 yards away from the bull, aimed his .300 Winchester Short Magnum rifle and shot only once.
Tina Brunjes, big game coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, was not surprised to learn the record had been broken. “Kentucky continues to produce new state records with regularity,” she said. “Each year drawn hunters can reasonably expect a chance to beat the state record.”
Applications for this year’s hunt are now on sale online at fw.ky.gov, the official Web site of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. It costs $10 to apply, and a hunter may apply only once. The drawing for the elk quota hunt is open to residents and nonresidents. The deadline to apply for this year’s hunt is April 30.