- Lynn Burkhead
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As Yogi Berra once said, it's déjà vu all over again.
Pope and Young Club scorers Dave Paplawski and Sly Baier recently put their measuring tapes to a giant eastern Alberta elk taken by a Canadian bowhunter in early September.
A crowd of 40 to 50 interested onlookers eagerly awaited the outcome as the final numbers were tallied.
After the figures had been added up and double-checked, Baier gave the crowd and the bowhunter the news they had been awaiting. For the second time in less than a year, Alberta was the home of another apparent Pope & Young Club world-record big-game animal!
"The bull scores 422 4/8-inches and is a non-typical," Baier told ESPNOutdoors.com. "The hunter is Brent Kuntz."
As one might expect, the scene in the crowded archery shop east of Edmonton where the scoring session unfolded quickly became one of celebration, backslapping and handshakes.
"It's not often that you get to see a world-record animal scored, and it's pretty special when you do," Paplawski said.
If the numbers for the Kuntz bull sound huge, they are indeed. In fact, the bull's entry score, obtained after the required 60-day drying period, is nearly two inches above the Pope & Young Club's non-typical world-record mark.
James L. Ludvigson harvested that 419 5/8-inch bull in Arizona's Coconino County in 1985.
"Yeah, it's potentially the new world record," Baier said of the Kuntz bull.
Kuntz reportedly took his big bull while bowhunting in a recently opened elk-hunting area in the rolling foothills and farmland east of Edmonton.
Kuntz declined to offer details of his historic wapiti to ESPNOutdoors.com, citing negotiations with other media.
While the current numbers for the Kuntz bull do rest above the existing world record, Paplawski indicates there is another step to be taken before the non-typical bull can be declared as bowhunting's best.
"This will be panel-scored by Pope & Young, if they invite it (to the 2003 P & Y convention in Madison, Wis.)," Paplawski said. "With that number, it's the world record. There's nothing (else) pending and this was taken with a legal bow with 65-percent let-off and stuff."
While officials with the Pope & Young Club indicate that they have not yet received the paperwork for the Kuntz elk, all indications received by ESPNOutdoors.com is that such paperwork should be forthcoming.
While not official spokesmen for the P & Y Club, both measurers said that if the Kuntz bull is invited to Madison as expected, the elk's score has a good chance of holding up to panel-scoring scrutiny.
"There were no discussion points on it that should cause much discussion next spring," Baier said. "So I guess it should come away nice and easy."
"This elk is clean," Paplawski agreed, while noting that it is even possible that the bull's final score could increase.
"There are three abnormal points and two of them come off together at a common base. And we took the safe measurement where we said it was a point coming off a point," Paplawski said. "If it could be determined later by the panel that these are two separate points, then it would score a little bit higher."
Paplawski should know a thing or two about scoring world-class big game animals, having served as the lead scorer last fall when the Wayne Zaft buck was officially measured.
That giant Alberta buck, sporting a current net typical score of 206 7/8-inches, could be declared the new P & Y world-record typical whitetail next May in Madison, if its numbers hold up after panel-scoring efforts.
"I've been really blessed," said Paplawski, a provincial coordinator with the Alberta Hunter Education Instructor's Association. "It's an honor and privilege to be involved in scoring these world class animals."
Baier, the lead scorer for the Kuntz bull elk, agreed.
"It's not something that any measurer will get to do on a regular basis," Baier said. "I was thrilled to be a part of it."
Canadian non-typical elk has a score that would eclipse Pope & Young mark