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Young hunters bag big bull elk
Nov 01, 2012 12:00 am
Corbin Moore, 11, tried to stop shaking when a 580-pound bull elk walked into the open and his dad whispered for him to shoot.
“I said, ‘Oh gosh!’” recalled Corbin. “I had killed a little doe before, but this was a lot bigger.”
He took a deep breath, sighted his 30-06 on the bull’s shoulder, and squeezed the trigger. The elk, carrying a massive 7X6 rack, hit the ground.
“I don’t know who was shaking more – him or me,” chuckled Corbin’s dad Todd who accompanied his son on Tennessee’s fourth annual elk hunt in mid-October. “It was thrilling. It’s something we’ll both remember for the rest of our lives.”
Corbin, whose family lives in Rockwood, was one of three juveniles on the hunt. Fourteen-year-old Jessica Parkins of Greenville also bagged an elk, and a grandson accompanied his grandfather on a successful hunt.
“Youth is the future of hunting, which made this hunt so rewarding,” said Daryl Ratajczak, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Wildlife and Forestry Chief.
Six bull elk tags were issued for the Oct. 15-19 hunt on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area in East Tennessee, including a first-ever Youth Hunt tag. All six tags were filled.
Parkins, who held the Youth Hunt tag, hunted with her dad Robert to bag a bull that field-dressed 311 pounds and had a 5X5 rack (five points on each antler.).
“It was a great experience,” said Jessica, who dropped her elk at 80 yards on the morning of the first day of the hunt. “My heart was pumping and I was breathing hard. I had to stop and take a deep breath before I shot.”
The elk’s head is being mounted and the hide tanned. A butcher is processing the meat.
“I’ve heard that elk is delicious,” Jessica said. “I’m looking forward to trying it.”
The other successful hunters were Tony Fink of Crossville, Walk Kimberlin of Kingston, Brian Rochelle of Franklin and Dewayne Marbury from Saunton in West Tennessee. Marbury was accompanied on his hunt by grandson Luke.
“For everybody to fill their tags was great,” Ratajczak said, “especially when two of the hunters were juveniles and another juvenile accompanied his grandfather.”
In the three prior elk hunts, 15 hunters had bagged 11 bulls.
“We’re satisfied with the progress of the program,” said Steve Bennett, head of the Elk Restoration Project. “We feel like the herd (approximately 400 animals) is growing at about the rate we anticipated.”
The 50 animals imported from Elk Island in Canada for the initial 2000 stocking became the first free-ranging elk in Tennessee in over a century. Indigenous to the state and plentiful when the first settlers began arriving in the 1700’s, Tennessee’s last wild elk was killed in 1865 in Obion County.
Elk hunting permits are issued by a random draw conducted by the TWRA. Ratajczak said plans for next year’s hunt have not been completed. Information on when and how to apply will be posted on the TWRA website, tnwildlife.org
“Everything about the program has been positive,” said Ratajczak, “from hunting opportunities to wildlife viewing. We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made, and excited about the future possibilities.”