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Hunting Illustrated Spring 2002: One of the Largest Elk Sheds

Home > Magazine > Spring 2002 Issue > Cover Story > Elk Sheds
James Proctor holding his 488 gross sheds
One of the Largest Elk Sheds Ever Found - "Cover Story"
by James Proctor
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The sheds score an unbelievable 488 gross B&C points.

It was the third day of the 1993 New Mexico archery season. My brother-in-law and I were up at 4 a.m. and started walking west. After walking in for two hours we sat down on a ridge in the Gila and started bugling. After about an hour of bugling with no luck, we decided to travel to an area we have never been in before. I felt like I was being pulled in a different direction. I looked up the hill and I saw what looked like a lot of antlers, so I ran up the hill and to my surprise there were two sheds laying James Proctor with his monster elk shedsabout five feet apart. It is rare that an elk would lose both sides in the same place and so close together. Since it was my hunting partners' first time, he could not understand my excitement. These were the first elk sheds I had ever found and what a find!

The sheds are 7x7 with one being an incredible 67 1/2-inches long and the other 64-inches long. These were the largest antlers I have ever seen and at the time one of the largest in the world. We picked them up and carried them five miles back to camp. The sheds scored 488 gross with a 64-inch inside spread. Since then, they have been seen at "The Rocky Mountain Elk Show" in Albuquerque, NM in 2001.

Cover Story Sidebar Features

The Buck of Justice Once Again is Judged ----->Buck of Justice Article
The most talked about desert buck of the past decade is found dead

The Sheds of a World Record ----->Barton Buck Sheds Article
After eight unsuccessful years, the sheds of a world record are found

The Most Famous Sheds ----->Popeye Sheds Article
The famous Popeye buck eluded hunters year after year but showed off during spring

One of the largest elk sheds ever found ----->Elk Sheds Article   "You are Here"
The sheds score an unbelievable 488 gross B&C points

The Boom of Shed Hunting ----->The Boom of Shed Hunting
The popularity of shed hunting has become as exciting as opening day of the deer hunt for many

Winter Range Ethics

Shed hunting is at its most popular time as far as the number of people heading into the hills. Like most good things, it will come to an end if we don't manage our actions and make wise choices. Deer and elk lose their antlers on the winter range and during a very crucial time of survival. The winter range is an area of retreat where deer and elk migrate to from the higher elevations to escape the deep snow. This winter range area is vital to the survival of the deer and elk herds. This is a time when they must conserve energy to get through the bitter cold conditions and decreased food supply.

Why is this information important for the shed hunter? Because shed hunters, anxious to be the first to get the dropped antlers, can put life threatening pressure on these animals if they pursue them in the hills. The energy that has been stored to get these deer and elk through the winter will instead be used to flee ignorant shed collectors and eventually lead them to an early death. This is a problem that will only get worse as the popularity of shed hunting increases. For example, in 1997 when Popeye was just about to drop his second side, there were 27 trucks lined up on the winter range watching and in pursuit.

Whether you are a die-hard shed hunter or just a weekend beginner, if we don't act with integrity and follow the ethics of nature, shed hunting will be taken from us. Southeast Idaho is already closed to shed hunting until May 1 and similar restrictions have been submitted into legislation for Wyoming. Other areas throughout the West have road closures and date restrictions as well. Like hunting itself, we want our kids and our grandkids to enjoy the thrill and fun of shed hunting and enjoy the beauty of wildlife and the outdoors. Let's not allow this to be taken away from us because of our own ignorance and selfishness.

What do you need to know before heading out into the hills
* Put wildlife first - keep your distance
* Do not chase, push, or pursue game during this crucial time
* Keep ATVs and trucks on designated and legal roads
* Go out on foot or horseback and get permission before entering private property
* Check the hunting proclamation for any regulations on shed collecting for your state
* Take a friend along and have fun

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