55-year-old farmer Shawn O’Shea from Alberta, Canada has taken home the trophy for harvesting the largest bow-harvested non-typical American elk ever in North America.
“In 2017 I got some trail cam pictures of it just passing through the area that I hunt,” Shawn said in an interview with The Pope & Young Podcast. “No idea that it would ever be a record of any kind; just knew that it was huge and something we wanted to pursue.”
For three years Shawn only ever saw the deer on trail cameras. His sons Tyson and Keefe said they spotted the deer with their own eyes back in September but were too far away to take a shot. However, not long after that, Shawn finally got his chance.
“When I first saw him, my heart was just beating like crazy out of my chest, and I’m like ‘Holy, I’ve got to calm down,'” he said. “He just stood there for probably the better part of three or four minutes and I was able to regain my composure and think about the shot I had to make.”
It was late in the evening and beginning to get dark and Shawn was hiding in his blind that was about 35 yards away from the animal.
“He couldn’t see me and I had his wind perfect so I didn’t have to worry about him smelling me. He had to walk just to get past me before I could draw with the bow, otherwise he’d sense movement. I just let out a little chirp and he stopped, and as soon as he stopped I was drawn and ready to shoot.”
At this point, the buck was about 18 yards away before Shawn let go of his arrow and hit the deer with a good shot. Tyson and Keefe were not far from him and joined in to help with the harvest. They were hootin’ and hollerin’ and knew they had something amazing.
After being officially scored by the U.S-based Pope and Young Club, the deer ended up having a spread of 449 4/8 inches, beating the previous record by 7 4/8 inches, Shawn officially became certified as the world record holder for the largest bow-harvested non-typical American elk ever in North America.