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World-class elk in Texas?

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World-class elk in Texas?

Trophy bull sparks classification debate on state's elk population

 

By Mark England,Lone Star Outdoor News

 

Ronnie Urbanczyk of Spring Branch, Texas, shot a mammoth elk with a bow near Alpine (TX) in October — a potential world-class trophy topping an estimated 454 Boone and Crockett points — but don't look for it in the record books.

 

The Boone and Crockett Club doesn't record elk taken from Texas, given their status as a non-game animal and lack of a hunting season.

 

But even without the official recognition, the animal was impressive enough to spur Internet chat and guarantee the elk received celebrity status via photos e-mailed nationwide.

 

Urbanczyk was at the sprawling CF Ranch, which covers more than 150 square miles of terrain ranging from rolling grassland to rocky hillsides, to hunt antelope when he saw some impressive elk. The ranch advertises its elk hunts starting at $7,000.

 

"These guys at the ranch had a ton of good-looking elk," said Urbanczyk, who owns Urban Concrete in San Antonio. "We worked out a deal. Two days later, I caught one going to a water trough on top of the mountain. He was 26 yards away. I shot him with a bow. I had to chase him and shoot him three more times. He was a big animal. When we got through quartering him and backpacked him out, it was about one in the morning. It was a challenge. He was a tremendous bull."

 

The decision by Boone and Crockett officials surprised him, Urbanczyk said.

"I kinda thought they would accept it," he said. "They should. We have a bunch of free-ranging elk in Texas. We just don't have a season on them."

 

A Boone and Crockett records official said allowing the recording of elk from Texas isn't in keeping with the organization's philosophy. He added that an elk born inside a high-fence area and released would not qualify for a Boone and Crockett record anyway, according to the official.

 

The largest typical elk recorded by the organization was taken in 1968 in Arizona's White Moun-tains at a score of 442 5/8 points.

 

Boone and Crockett's rejection of what would have been the biggest elk on record disturbs some Texans.

 

"What hurts is that so many are behind a high fence in Texas," said Walt Isenhour, the Texas state chairman for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. "Boone and Crockett must think that they're all behind a high fence." Isenhour, on a hunting trip of his own, actually ran into Urbanczyk while he was hauling the giant elk home.

 

"I've been around the elk foundation the last 16 years," Isenhour said. "I go to Missoula (Mont.) quite often. I don't know of a typical Rocky Mountain elk that outscores it. These elk aren't hunted with intensity they are in the mountain states. Not many know these free-ranging elk even exist in Texas."

 

But the hunt exposed an uncertainty related to the evolving management of game. How do you classify an animal born behind a high fence and then released onto a range?

 

David King, who publishes Hunting Illustrated and tracks trophy animals, said he had doubts the giant elk was a true free-range elk because of its size.

 

"You just don't see many free-ranging elk of that stature," King said.

 

King said he talked to guide Chris Chopelas, who led Urbanczyk's hunt. Chopelas told him that a hole was found in the elk's ear where a tag would go. He also said CF Ranch had released some ranch bulls some seven years before, King said.

 

Chopelas did not return phone calls seeking comment by deadline.

 

Classifying such a kill is difficult, King said. Groups such as Boone and Crockett only record trophy animals they deem shot under fair-chase conditions.

 

"It's a unique situation: releasing a high-fence bull on a free range and seven years later it's shot," King said. "What do you do?"

 

For his part, King questions recording such kills. "What it comes down to is it's not even a generation removed from the farm," King said. Urbanczyk, though, sees the kill as legitimate.

 

"A lot of people are raising whitetails and turning them loose, introducing new genetics into the species," he said. "It's hard for me to see that it's OK on one side and not OK on the other side. The introduction of new genetics is everywhere. I don't think that's a good argument."

 

For more information contact Darlene Sanchez at Lone Star Outdoor News at 214-361-2276.

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Shadowdog.. Sorry I missed this post the first time around. Interesting article.. Here is a pic of the brute... Man.. What a monster!!!!

 

So, is the ranch HF or not. It says it is over 150 square miles and I just cannot see a fence around something that big... I did not understand the article...

post-17-1139501376_thumb.jpg

Edited by Coondog

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WOW, what a monster elk.

 

coondog, I think it said it was born inside a fence and released to the wild later.

 

How can he shoot an elk if there is no open season on it?? There are elk in Wisconsin and no season, and if I shoot one, I go to jail!!! :o

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I think it said it was born inside a fence and released to the wild later.

 

I understand that part, just was not sure if this particular ranch is HF. I dont think it is though.. Since Elk are not native to Texas, we do not have a season or limit on them from what I understand. They are considered a "non-game" animal. It works the same if an exotic gets out of a game ranch it is fair game. I had a buddy who hunted black-bucks all summer one year because they got out of some guys place down by where he lives. He got to hunt them all he wanted to and kill as many as he wanted...

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WOW :cheers: Nice Elk :cool:

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Birddog.. Here is what I found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website:

 

EXOTIC ANIMALS

Refers to grass-eating or plant-eating, single-hoofed or cloven-hoofed mammals that are not indigenous or native to Texas and are known as ungulates, including animals from the deer and antelope families that landowners have introduced into this state.  Includes, but is not limited to feral hog, Aoudad sheep, Axis deer, Elk, Sika deer, Fallow deer, Blackbuck antelope, Nilgai antelope, and Russian boar.

 

There are no state bag or possession limits or closed seasons on exotic animals or fowl on private property.  It is agains the law to:

-Hunt an exotic without a valid hunting license.

-Hunt an exotic on a public road or right-of-way.

-Hunt an exotic without the landowners permission.

-Possess an exotic or the carcass of an exotic without the landowner's consent.

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WOW!!! What an elk!!! HF or not, that thing is an absolute MONSTER!!!

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Shoot, if I got that thing, I would be more worried about how I was going to finiance the addition to the house to hang it, than wether it made some record book. :)

 

The B&C folks have a scewed look on things, as was mentioned in the article, as well as folks who just don't seem to like something slapping a whooping on what they might have in their state. The B&C folks to me are sort of like the high dollar golf courses, in that they only allow in who they feel deserves it. IMHO.

 

They have no problem listing whitetails that were bred and/or taken from highly specialized sources. Course in the areas I hunt, I don't think I will ever have to worry about having to deal with them on these matters anyway. :P

 

Sorry, just some things get to me more than others. Stuff that average folks have little chance of ever getting into, is one of them. Bottom line is $$$ does the talking. If they only took free range native blood line animals that would be different, but the genetics that have gone into so many of the top deer are not what it all started out as. Sort of like steroids in sports.

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Agree it is a beautiful elk no matter where it was raised or turned loose but I do not agree that it should go into the B & C Record books.

 

Sometimes I just don't understand why folks get upset with the rules and guidelines of these clubs as they were set for a reason and there are other newer clubs out there that will recognize the elk so what's the big deal.... :2cents:

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gslam95,

 

Your absolutely right, but I look at it from the deer hunting standpoint. I have seen on a first hand basis what the genetics have done to the "free ranging" deer here in Texas. It's a huge business, both for the breeders as well as the investors.

 

There are many ranches here with thousands of privitely owned acres that have "free ranging" deer on them, but I can almost guarantee that most have introduced genetics in their herds.

 

This is not to say that Joe Shmo might not get something recorded from such and such national forest as it happens. It just doesn't happen with any frequency that the big ranches which promote guided hunts do.

 

Me personally, will never see a deer on my wall which doesn't come from plain jane backwoods property. Even if it isn't a B&C record, it will be a trophy to me none the less. Even more so than if it had come from a managed ranch.

 

Ones like these are and will always be to me, worth way more. IMO

 

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Buck01.jpg

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The B&C folks to me are sort of like the high dollar golf courses, in that they only allow in who they feel deserves it. IMHO.

 

I thought that was SCI? (Shoot Critters In-fences) :eekout:

Edited by CoyoteBandit

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Hey Coondog, I can remember in BOWHUNTER magazine about 10 - 15 years ago Texas had an elk lottery draw hunt for residents only. I can't remember which county but it was in west Tx. around the Glass Mtn. range. Don't know why they stopped it.

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Your absolutely right, but I look at it from the deer hunting standpoint. I have seen on a first hand basis what the genetics have done to the "free ranging" deer here in Texas. It's a huge business, both for the breeders as well as the investors.

 

There are many ranches here with thousands of privitely owned acres that have "free ranging" deer on them, but I can almost guarantee that most have introduced genetics in their herds.

 

 

So when you say "free ranging" I take it that there are no high fences to keep the animals in and the way I read the above quote are you saying that people are buying captive deer and turning them loose into the wild for genetic breeding purposes........ Is this correct? and if so is that legal in Texas? I am not 100% sure on this but I think in most states this practice would be illegal and very risky health wise to the herd of a population of free ranging wild deer.

 

 

41 Mag - Congratulations to and your family as you have truely been blessed with some of Gods true gifts from nature... :ThumbsUp:

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