- Lynn Burkhead
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In November 2004, a new hunting book will hit bookshelves. It's a volume titled, appropriately enough, "Hunting Monster Elk."
The book's author, bowhunter Chuck Adams, would seem to have that particular topic figured out completely, having arrowed four bull elk since 1999 that sport gross Pope & Young scores of 370 inches or better.
Now make it five.
Just three years after Adams arrowed the current Pope & Young Club world-record typical Yellowstone (or Rocky Mountain) elk, it looks like he may have done it again.
On Sept. 24, while hunting at an undisclosed location in Montana, Adams arrowed a massive 6x6 typical wapiti with an initial green score high enough to unseat his P&Y world-record elk a 409 2/8-inch net bull taken in Montana in 2000.
While being very careful to note that he is not an official measurer, Adams is hopeful that official scoring efforts after the mandatory 60-day drying period will place his most recent bull elk at the top of the P&Y record book.
"It's a straight-up six point, so there is nothing really debatable," Adams told ESPNOutdoors.com. "As far as the gross green score, my score is 425 2/8 inches and the green net (score) is 414 1/8 inches."
"Again, that's my score, but I've had a lot of experience in scoring. I would tell you that I was within a half an inch of my Pope & Young world record, so I think I'm fairly close. But that's my score and it's unofficial."
What is official is that Adams' 2003 elk continues an unprecedented run of bowhunting success.
That stick-and-string legacy includes 116 current entries into the Pope & Young Club's archery record book, more than any other bowhunter in history. Adams also is the first bowhunter to accomplish the "super slam," the archery harvest of all 27 species of North American big-game animals, a feat that he completed in January 1990.
"If this comes to pass, if this is a world record, then this would be my sixth with Pope & Young," Adams said. "But please note that I'm not claiming it as a world record. Until it is measured initially and possibly (later) panel-measured, it's not a world record.
"And it might not be something unforeseen could happen or somebody could shoot a bigger one."
Some 10 days into his September 2003 elk hunt, the bowhunter admitted that he wasn't sure if he would even fill his tag this season.
"I didn't see another standout bull other than this one this year," Adams said. "I was beginning to wonder if I was going to see a bull in the category that I wanted to shoot."
While the full details of his hunt will be revealed next summer in an issue of the North American Hunting Club's magazine, Adams did indicate he saw the bull four days before he finally had a chance to unleash one of his arrows.
"I decided that I would hunt that area every day until I had to leave," Adams said. "I saw him three times Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the day I killed him and all (of those times) were in the morning."
"The first two times, I found him too late in the day and he was already moving into bedding areas with his cows. The third time, I got lucky and found him right at the crack of dawn and had time to work on him."
Even as the famed bowhunter worked on getting into archery range of the huge bull last month, he admits that he had a hard time believing with his mind what he was seeing with his eyes.
"I'm absolutely stunned that I've laid eyes on another bull that could be a world record," Adams said. "When I saw this bull, I thought he might be bigger than my world record from 2000."
"I kept trying to talk myself out of it because the odds of seeing two world record elk (have) to be astronomical."
But after finally tagging the bull, Adams found out that when examined up close, his 2003 Montana elk was all that it had appeared to be and then some.
"This bull has fairly normal brows, seconds and thirds," Adams said. "But the fourth, fifth and main beams are really awesome. The first, second and third (points) are really good, but they don't blow your mind. The back points really blow your mind."
"The main beams are very long; he's a true rump scratcher," he added. "The inside spread is awesome, pushing 60 inches, which is very unusual for elk. There are only a handful of elk in Boone & Crockett that are in the mid-50s and above."
Adams is the first to admit that he's had an unprecedented run of luck when it comes to bowhunting monster elk.
And he knows that one season, he'll end up eating tag soup.
But thanks to researching good hunting areas, superb archery skills and a healthy dose of hunting luck, it hasn't happened just yet.
"I said I was lucky to see that elk," Adams said of his 2000 world record bull. "I said I'd probably never see one like that again.
"It boggles my mind, but if it turns out, I'll take it. This is a huge elk, there's not any question about it."