world-record elk

Albert Henderson with world-record elk; photo via the Wyoming Game & Fish Department

A massive elk shot by a Wyoming hunter is the largest ever killed with a crossbow, with a rack spanning more than 4 feet in width.

Albert Henderson of Burlington, Wyoming, was informed this week by Safari Club International that the animal he shot during the archery-hunting season last fall is a new world record.

SCI uses specific measurements and a complex scoring system to determine records for various hunting means (including rifle and compound bow). Henderson's elk was scored at 426.5 points, making it only one of a handful of elk to exceed 400 points.

Henderson, 49, shot the elk from between 50 and 60 yards on the fifth day of a hunt on public land, with a crossbow he had borrowed from a friend.

News of the feat is being well-received in hunting circles. But as this story spreads via social media, critics are sure to speak out against the hunter, against hunting in general, and against trophy hunting in particular.

Meanwhile, accolades are being heaped from those who support hunting, including Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

"This is an incredible hunting story and we tip our hats to Mr. Henderson,” Talbott told County 10 News. “Wyoming is home to some of the most impressive wildlife in the world, but not everyone gets to see these animals, let alone hunt them.”

Though Henderson is bound to land squarely in the crosshairs of critics, it’s worth noting that hunting is not only sanctioned by states, but deemed a necessary tool of wildlife management. Funds generated by tag sales are used for various wildlife-related enhancement programs.

Henderson and his group had spent five days scouting for elk in the Shoshone National Forest. He shot the male elk, which was near several females and rubbing its antlers against a tree.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Henderson had become a celebrated hunter long before the record was approved.

"The mount has spent the past several months shuttled between sportsmen's stores and banquets," the Star-Tribune's Christine Peterson wrote. "And it may soon find a spot on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's 2016 tour."

Said Henderson, 49: "It's pretty rare to see elk like that anywhere in the state, and probably more rare in general [hunting] areas. Usually in general areas, you have a few less elk and a few more people. That's why you go out and work so hard for that chance."

He plans to eventually display the shoulder mount in his home, if he can find a large enough space.

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