GRAND FORKS -- A certified measurer for Boone and Crockett says he hopes to score two big bull elk taken by area hunters recently in Kittson County of northwest Minnesota.
Whether the big bulls shot Sunday, Aug. 23, by Gavin Nordby of Grygla, Minn., and Sunday, Sept. 6, by Lacey Lupien of Lancaster, Minn., can top the Minnesota state record remains to be seen, said Randy Dufault of East Grand Forks.
Brad Penas of Moorhead shot a 6x7 bull elk in September 2013 in the Caribou Township area of northeastern Kittson County that stands as the highest-scoring elk taken by hunting in Minnesota. Dufault, who also scores for Minnesota Official Measurers, also scored that bull, which measured 393 2/8 inches in the typical category for symmetrical antlers.
As reported at the time, the previous record for an elk taken by hunting in Minnesota scored 371 6/8 inches typical and was shot in 1996, according to Boone and Crockett, the official record keeper for animals taken with a firearm.
Dufault said he’s had several people ask him if he was going to measure Lupien’s bull since a story about the big elk appeared recently in Forum Communications media outlets.
The hope, he said, is to measure the rack after the mandatory 60-day drying period Boone and Crockett requires for a score to become official.
Nordby’s elk had a 7x7 rack, and the bull elk Lupien shot Sept. 6 had a 7x8 rack.
It’s hard to estimate scores without seeing the racks in person, Dufault said. Lupien’s elk hasn’t yet been measured, even unofficially, she said Monday.
“Boy, it looks very big,” Dufault said in an email. “I just don’t trust photos because everyone is getting good at how to make them look bigger in a photo.”
Given his natural curiosity, both as a certified measurer and a hunter, Dufault said he hopes to measure both of the racks, perhaps at the same time.
“I think both bulls deserve a story after the final measurement regardless,” he said.
Kittson County in recent years has gotten a well-deserved reputation for trophy elk. In December 2010, a massive bull that died after falling over backwards and getting its rack mired in mud below the snow while trying to cross a fence measured 458 4/8 inches after the 60-day drying period.
The rack of the trophy bull, which was found in the Caribou area of northeast Kittson County, later was confirmed as No. 4 in the world Boone and Crockett. Dufault, one of two certified measurers to score the rack, said it was the largest set of antlers he had ever measured.
In response to a herd that exceeds population targets, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources this year offered a record 42 elk permits in Kittson County, split among six, nine-day seasons that began in late August and continue into December.
Hunters had 100% success during the first two seasons, taking 16 elk – 14 in Zone 20 in central Kittson County and two in Zone 30 near Caribou in northeast Kittson County, said Blane Klemek, assistant regional wildlife supervisor for the DNR in Bemidji. The third season began Saturday, Sept. 19, but no reports on hunter success were yet available, Klemek said Monday.