“To be able to harvest a bull elk in Jefferson County is probably the coolest part, and I probably will never have an experience like it again,” Klenklen said. “I went into it for the meat and to provide for my family, so all of the stuff with the horns was just a bonus. Honestly, I didn’t know how big it was until a friend came to look at it. The whole experience is truly a blessing.”
If it had been a typical elk rack, however, that measurement would have cleared the bar fairly easily. According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s website, the state record for typical elk taken with a firearm is 354 5/8, set by Salina’s Sherry Price in 2003, also in Riley County. The state archery record for elk is 317 6/8, set by Fort Riley’s Trevor Haddix in 2002.
“It was a long 60-day wait, that’s for sure,” Klenklen said of the required wait time for official scoring. “My family and I attempted to score it so we had an idea, but with never doing it before, you just don’t know how close to official you are. After we did that, I knew it was going to be close, so I wasn’t let down at the fact that it wasn’t a record.”
Klenklen was thankful for such a rare opportunity to harvest an elk this far east of the main herd in Riley County.
“I’m just grateful to live this hunter’s dream and continue to do so by being able to share the story,” Klenklen said. “I can’t thank the land owners and everyone that helped with the process enough.”
The elk archery season outside of Fort Riley runs through Dec. 31, while the firearm season begins Nov. 28 and runs through Dec. 9 with an extended season Jan. 1-March 15, 2019.
An unlimited number of resident and landowner/tenant Either-sex Elk permits or Antlerless-only Elk permits authorized for Unit 3, which encompasses most of Kansas, are available over-the-counter at vendor locations.