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World-record American elk taken on public land in Utah

The Boone & Crockett Club recently certified a Rocky Mountain elk killed by an Idaho hunter in September 2008 on public land in Utah as the largest elk ever killed in the wild.

The elk's antler measurements totaled 478-5⁄8 inches to overtake the old non-typical American elk record by 13 inches.

The giant bull, which has been nicknamed "spider bull" for its unique antler configuration, had 9 antler points on the left beam and 14 points on the right beam. The larger antler has a base circumference topping 9 inches, according to the club, which keeps big-game hunting records.

With a gross score of 499-3⁄8 inches, it also is the only elk on record with a gross score close to 500 inches, according to the club.

The animal was shot by Denny Austad of Ammon, Idaho, who hunted on public land within the Monroe Mountain District of south-central Utah.

"From what I understand, a lot of people in Utah knew about this bull," says Keith Balfourd, Boone & Crockett's director of marketing at the club's headquarters in Missoula, Mont. "His genetics have shown up in other bulls."

Along with genetics, good habitat and age help contribute to an elk's ability to grow immense antlers like those on the spider bull, Balfourd says.

Boone & Crockett officials were convinced this animal, as with many other top trophy elk and mule deer in recent years, was shot on public land thanks to improved habitat conditions and management practices, Balfourd says.

"You'd think, in this day and age, a trophy like this wouldn't just emerge," he says. "But the majority of trophies we're seeing were taken on public land.

The previous world's record for non-typical Rocky Mountain elk was 465-2⁄8 inches based on the Boone & Crockett Club measuring standards. That bull was found dead and frozen in 1994 in Upper Arrow Lake, British Columbia.

For hunter-killed, non-typical Rocky Mountain elk, the previous top bull scored 450-6⁄8 inches, taken in 1998 in Apache County, Ariz.

The American elk category excludes Roosevelt and Tule elk, which have their own categories and typically sport antlers that are substantially smaller than Rocky Mountain elk, which Boone & Crockett refers to as American elk.

Gas and electric motors will remain on the transoms of driftboats for anglers in the South Fork of the Coquille River after a state agency chose Tuesday not to ban them from the waters of this Coos Bay river.

The Oregon State Marine Board on Tuesday rejected a petition to ban motors on the South Fork Broadbent near Myrtle Point and the Forest Service boundary south of Powers.

The stretch is a popular winter steelhead stream. It has been the scene of confrontations between bank anglers and driftboaters who use motors to power upstream and fish through single steelhead slots multiple times.

The five-member board mulled the issue for more than an hour Tuesday while meeting at the Portland Expo Center, says Randy Henry, the Marine Board's policy analyst who recommended banning motors on a portion of the stream.

After citing several concerns that included fear of setting a precedent and a counter-petition from merchants fearful of negative economic impacts, the Marine Board voted 4 to 1 against the recommendation.

Marine Board member George Tinker, of Coos Bay, was the lone dissenter.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

This monster elk, a new world record, was shot by Denny Austad of Ammon, Idaho, who hunted on public land in Utah. - submitted photo