Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Oklahoma State's Elk Record Claimed by Rush Springs Hunter

An elk harvested in 2014 by a Rush Springs man during an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation controlled hunt has set a new state record in the official Cy Curtis Awards Program.
    Wayne Munn is the new owner of the state-record typical elk, which scored 332 1/8 when measured this month by Rod Smith, Southwest Region wildlife supervisor with the Wildlife Department. Munn's elk easily knocked out former recordholder Joe Kysela of Oklahoma City, whose elk became the state record in November with a score of 310 1/8.
    Munn recounted how he was "excited and somewhat in disbelief" when he learned in July 2014 that his name had been drawn for a once-in-a-lifetime elk hunt scheduled in December at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
    "I was determined to find a bigger bull, since this hunt was my one opportunity to hunt the refuge," he said. "The first day came to a close with me not finding a bull I wished to harvest. Most of the bulls were what I considered to be the average six-by-six bulls common to the refuge."
   It wasn't until late on the second day of the hunt that Munn spotted two bulls that appeared to be better than average in stature. But sunlight was fading, and the temperature was too high to leave a harvested animal overnight. Munn would have to try again on the hunt's third day, Dec. 11.
   "I set up in the dark in between some boulders, where I could see the area where I hoped the bulls were. I finally spotted one of the better bulls as it was slowly making his way along a ridge opposite of me. ... So, I set up for a shot."
    Munn took aim with his .300 Magnum rifle and squeezed off the shot. He saw the animal go down behind some boulders. "Once I reached the bull, I was in complete awe at the size of the bull and its rack.
   "It was amazing to hunt in an area that is truly awesome to see and experience," he said.
    To be eligible for Cy Curtis listing, an elk harvested in Oklahoma must score at least 270 in the typical category and 310 in the nontypical category.
   The Cy Curtis Awards Program originally recognized white-tailed deer and mule deer only. Starting in 2014, the Wildlife Department's official hunter recognition program expanded its listings to include elk, bears and pronghorns that exceed minimum qualifying scores. For details on the Cy Curtis program and to learn how to apply for an award, go to the Cy Curtis page at wildlifedepartment.com.
    The Wildlife Department's Controlled Hunts Program gives hunters a chance to put their name into a drawing for some of the state's most-sought-after hunting opportunities. Controlled hunts for deer, elk, antelope and turkey are conducted in locations where unrestricted public hunting would pose safety concern or where overharvest might occur.
    In the 2014-15 Controlled Hunts program, about one in every 16 applicants had his or her name randomly selected for one of more than 5,700 permits available. The hunt locations are normally posted on the Department's website at wildlifedepartment.com about March 15, and the application deadline is May 15.