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Elk Hunting Tips & Techniques
Where should you apply to have the best chance of taking a record book bull elk? Over the past 20 years, Arizona has been the place to go for record book elk. From 1980 to 1999, Arizona produced 93 record book elk. The next closest state is Wyoming with 19! (page 263).

Which state has the largest elk population? Colorado has the largest herd with an estimated elk population of 229,000 animals (1998). Montana is second with an estimated 160,000 animals (pages 265 & 266).

How old does a bull elk have to be to develop a record book rack? Like humans, every bull elk is different and not every bull has the potential to grow a record book rack (Just as not every human has the potential to be 6 feet tall.). In the wild, I have found that an elk can develop a record book rack as a 4 year old under ideal forage conditions. However, from the data I collected on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, it appears that the peak of antler development occurs when the animal is 10 years old. The oldest record book bull that I know of is the bull taken by John Engquist in 1990. The bull was aged at Matson's Laboratory in Montana at 19 years old! (pages 254 & 99)

Does moisture effect antler development? Without a doubt! Over the years I have found that a bull can gain or lose up to 10% of his antler growth depending on forage conditions. Since forage conditions are dependent on moisture, particularly winter snows and spring rains, you can pretty much judge what type of antler year the hunt area is going to have based on moisture. (page 253)

Any new "Hot Spots" for trophy elk? While New Mexico and Arizona suffered through a drought in 1998 and 1999, Utah and Nevada were producing some great trophy elk. Call their game departments, check on the weather patterns and apply! (page 267 & 270)

About the Author. John Caid has guided over 60 elk hunters in the last 20 years. During that time his hunters have taken over 40 record book elk including 13 that qualify for the Boone and Crockett Record Book.
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