Todd Beard of Michigan has been on six elk hunts with the family-run Jensen Outfitters, near Bridger Teton National Forest in Wyoming, and has harvested four bulls and one cow.
He took this 6×7 bull elk in on a rifle hunt in October. Safari Club International gave it a green score of 342 7/8. Beard is proud of hunting on wild, public land and finds it much more rewarding than controlled hunts.
Beard, recently retired from 32 years of police work, also killed a 6×6 in 2003. “I thought I would never shoot a bigger one,” he said.
The morning of the hunt, his group had breakfast at 2am. “Since it’s public land you have to beat everyone else to the spot,” he said. “You want to get there first.” They set up in the dark and then waited for daybreak.
He calls this his “Sunrise Bull” because the sun was shining directly in his face, and he had to take off his hat to shade his eyes. He saw the bull at 120 yards and put his scope on him, but was blinded, so he positioned the scope ahead of the elk, who walked right into his sight pattern. Beard said the bull dropped where it was hit and was the easiest elk he’s ever harvested.
Before he took this big elk, he spent a week chasing mule deer and antelope with his son, Derrick.
A self-described “late bloomer”, Beard didn’t pick up hunting until age 25, and was the only outdoorsman in his family. Early on, he said, it was lots of trial and error, but he loves nature and enjoys the peacefulness of being outdoors.
Beard doesn’t get caught up in scoring and is not a trophy hunter. He wasn’t originally planning on having the bull mounted, but changed his mind. “I almost have to buy another house with high ceilings,” he said.