It is official. A massive bull elk taken in Knott County, Kentucky during the October rifle season opener is now the largest in the state’s history. According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, David Giles bagged an elk that had an astounding green score of 408 and 3/8 inches gross. After a 60-day drying period, the elk’s final score on the Boone & Crockett Club scale was 377 5/8.
Giles, a 64-year-old banker from Lexington, said it was his first elk in 15 years of entering the state’s annual elk lottery. Every year the state receives tens of thousands of applications for the elk hunt, but less than 1,000 permits are issued. This year Giles happened to be one of the lucky ones.
“I think I put in every year since day one,” Giles told officials.
The state held its first elk hunt in 2001 after reintroducing the animals using herds from Western states. It has been a long and trying process, but Kentucky officials now estimate the current population to be around 10,000 animals.
“This is one of the first years where I didn’t go online, in the first part of May, and see if I’ve been drawn,” Giles recalled. “But then I got a mailer in the middle of May, and it was Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. In it Fish and Wildlife said ‘congratulations, you won a bull tag.’ That was [my] first time. I was totally surprised.”
The hunter said Knott County was his first choice because a guide had told him that there was a big elk wandering though private land there. Giles shot the bull at 322 yards with a .300 Win Mag, and said it happened so fast that the excitement only came after. As it so happened, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Greg Johnson was in the area at the time and managed to see the big bull up close. The elk was also featured on an episode of Fish and Wildlife’s outdoors show, Kentucky Afield, which you can see below.
By the end of the measuring, officials determined that the bull beat out the state’s old record, a 372 6/8 elk taken by Terrell Royalty in 2009. In addition to the record, Giles said he is enjoying about 480 pounds of elk meat.
“I’ve got it in several freezers,” Giles told the Lexington Herald Leader. “I think we’ve got three kinds of roast: pot roast, chuck roast, rump roast. We’ve got three kinds of steak: T-bone, sirloin and ribeye. And we’ve got a lot of 1-pound bags of burger.”
He plans to give out some of the meat to relatives over the holidays.
Image courtesy Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources