Stewardship

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Is This the New Pennsylvania State Record Elk?

With 455 inches of bone, this could be the biggest elk ever recorded in the Keystone State—and the sixth largest of all-time

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While Duane Kramer’s non-typical American elk still needs to be panel-scored at the 31st Big Game Awards, the current entry score is a whopping 455 B&C points.  

 

Duane Kramer lives in Bellingham, Washington, and he bought a few raffle tickets last year (okay, a lot of raffle tickets) for the 2020 Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA) Raffle. The lucky winner would get the chance to hunt one of Pennsylvania’s monster bulls. And you guessed it, his name was drawn. 

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He owns Kramer Concrete Construction, and when he’s not working, he’s hunting. So, when he found out his name was drawn, he had to carve out some time from work and other hunting trips, which means he knew he needed help from an outfitter. With offers from a couple of outfits, he chose Elk County Outfitters because instead of just telling him they knew where the big bulls were, they showed him pictures to prove it, he said. 

At one point on the hunt, Kramer passed up what he and his guide guessed were bulls in the 420-inch range. “There were enough 400-class bulls running around there that it wasn’t a question of getting a 400-inch bull, but a matter of how far over 400 we could get,” Kramer said. 

One day, Kramer had the bull he eventually killed at 18 yards, but he couldn’t get an ethical shot as the bull’s cows were milling too close to it. “I thought he was going to come right for us because we were standing right in the game trail,” he said. “I kind of wish I had taken my bow.” They hunted that bull for the next few days. Finally, at 70 yards and with a clear shooting lane, Kramer made one shot with his 7mm Dakota shooting a 180-grain Berger bullet. 

Kramer’s bull is beyond impressive, and thanks to conservation efforts by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), and other partners, Pennsylvania’s elk are thriving. In 1990, RMEF contributed funds to help the PGC acquire habitat and then improve it. Once the habitat was ready, RMEF assisted the PGC in trapping and relocating elk from around the state. Then in 2001, Pennsylvania had its first elk hunt in more than 70 years. Since 1991, RMEF and its partners have enhanced 27,399 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 10,189 acres, according to RMEF

Excellent habitat produces healthy herds, and Kramer’s bull isn’t the only example. A quick look at Big Game Records LIVE shows that in the past decade, Pennsylvania has produced at least 19 Rocky Mountain elk in the Boone and Crockett records, including eight non-typicals north of the 400 mark. 

Will Kramer’s bull be crowned king of the Keystone State? We will find out in July at the Boone and Crockett’s Club 31st Big Game Awards. There, an Awards Program Judges Panel will measure Kramer’s elk one more time and submit a final score. We hope to see you there.

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Pennsylvania has 29 elk recorded in B&C's Big Game Records Program dating back to 2003 from five different counties: Elk Co. (9 entries), Cameron and Clearfield Counties (8 entries each), Centre Co. (2 entries), and Clinton Co. (1 entry). The PGC also owns one recorded elk, a picked up trophy from an unknown location.

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt