OUTDOORS REPORT: Sharpshooter downs two elk near Antioch
BY DALE BOWMAN firstname.lastname@example.org November 6, 2012 7:20PM
Ron Mulholland shows off the two elk he arrowed last week near Antioch. | For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 8, 2012 6:34AM
With deer rut
peaking in Illinois, Ron Mulholland was sitting in his stand last week, like thousands of other bowhunters. Only he had something different happen while hunting a farm near Antioch.
‘‘I was pretty shocked when these three elk ran up to me,’’ he said.
Not so shocked that he didn’t cock his crossbow. Mulholland, a 72-year-old from Des Plaines, knows elk from having bagged several on trips to Wyoming.
BOTW usually stands for Buck of the Week. Make that Bull of the Week today.
Mulholland made a good shoulder shot on the raghorn bull. One of the cows stayed there, so he drew again and shot her.
Then came the problem of getting them out. Mulholland estimated the bull at 375 to 400 pounds and thought the cow was a 31/2-year-old. Out West, elk usually are quartered and packed out. Mulholland cut his in half, then solicited dragging help from Lenny Villano.
‘‘It was a shocker,’’ said Mulholland, who checked the elk in with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Because they have been extirpated from Illinois, elk aren’t protected by the wildlife code, so they may be harvested.
The big question is why elk were running around the far north suburbs. The logical explanation is they were escapees from a farm. It would be a trip of hundreds of miles for a
wild elk, but Mulholland said, ‘‘I personally think these are wild.’’
‘‘Never say never, but I would doubt it,’’ forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton said. ‘‘It would have to come a long way. And a lot of those would have jewelry [ear tags] on them.’’
Mulholland hung the elk on Villano’s property and greatly anticipates eating it. Back home, he called hunting friends and let them know he had bagged an elk in Illinois.
Shelton said he doesn’t expect to hear many more elk reports.
‘‘If we had a breeding population, that is not something that stays hidden,’’ he said.
Big bucks are in rut and moving.
‘‘Musky Ed’’ Potocki captured the last week when he emailed: ‘‘I saw a giant buck chasing, and [it] ran past my stand in Bureau County. The next day, he came by the same direction but winded me and was gone. I thought to myself, ‘Too bad we can’t catch-and-release in hunting.’ Just to witness that buck twice made my season!’’
Shelton said bowhunters had harvested 30,956 deer through Sunday, well
above the five-year average of 29,381. Males made up
59 percent of the harvest last week.
† Reports from faithful readers hunting pheasants on opening weekend varied from the most wild birds seen in 20 years from John Saban to only one rooster shot at by Otis and Kyle Kirchhoefer.
Addressing Chicago baseball relations with the subtlety of a snagging hook: Steve Stone uses a No. 16
Royal Coachman. Well, most of the time.