Bowhunter Tyson Hiebert of Seiling came away with more than a scored rack at the third-annual March Rack Madness! event at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters in Oklahoma City. Now he’s known as the new record holder in the nontypical elk category of the Oklahoma Cy Curtis Awards Program.
His 9-by-9 bull elk tallied 346 7/8 points after a four-man panel measured the massive rack March 5. The score bested the previous record by 21 inches, and became the second-place elk overall in the state’s Cy Curtis record book for big game harvests.
Hiebert hauled his elk mount to Oklahoma City in an enclosed trailer. Because of its size and the large crowd in the scoring area, the rack had to be placed in the building’s lobby to await the attention of a panel of judges.
The record bull elk was harvested with a compound bow Oct. 3, 2017, on private land in Dewey County. Hiebert recalled his hunt during a Facebook Live interview posted on the Wildlife Department’s Facebook page. Click here to view the video.
“I was actually in the middle of changing spots that evening, and I was out in the middle of a wheat field. … And he came out of the trees like a tank.
“Somehow, luckily, he ran right out in front of me. When he got in front of me, he stopped, and I just drew my bow and let her fly. … Dreams come true sometimes!”
The hunt area is in the Special Northwest Zone, which has a season quota of just two elk. As it turned out, Hiebert said another elk was taken the same day in that zone and, had he not found success that day, the area would have been closed to hunting the next day.
“I had no idea until I had one at 20 yards how big they truly are,” he said. “I had no idea what I had when I shot him.”
The former Cy Curtis state-record nontypical elk scored 325 7/8. It was taken in 2005 by Jerry Jaynes in Comanche County.
Asked what advice he would give to a novice elk hunter, Hiebert said to keep at it and don’t give up. He said he hunted 18 days this year without getting an elk.
This was the third year for the March Rack Madness! event, which showcases Oklahoma's remarkable big game resources and our passion for hunting. Scorers measured 287 deer, six pronghorns, two bears and seven elk. And many people brought trophies that qualify for a Cy Curtis Award; entries are accepted online only. One lucky participant won a lifetime combination license provided by The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
Besides private-land elk hunting opportunities, several public-land elk hunts are offered each year through the Department’s controlled hunts program. This year’s online application period will run from April 2 to May 15 for hunts scheduled next fall and winter.
Oklahoma’s Cy Curtis Awards Program began in 1972 and originally recognized white-tailed deer and mule deer only. Starting in 2014, the Wildlife Department’s official hunter recognition program expanded its record book to include elk, bear and pronghorn that exceed minimum qualifying scores. For details and to learn how to submit a trophy for the program, go to www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/cy-curtis.