A number of eastern states have followed Pennsylvania's lead in recent years and introduced elk hunting seasons.
None has had the success Pennsylvania has enjoyed in at least one way.
Among states east of the Mississippi River, only Pennsylvania has put an elk in the Boone and Crockett Club record books since 2000. According to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pennsylvania ranks 10th in the country over the past decade when it comes to producing Boone & Crockett-worthy bull elk.
Pennsylvania still can't compare, in terms of sheer numbers, to the country's biggest elk states. Utah, for example, has given up more Boone & Crockett elk -- 120 -- since 2000 than any other state. It's followed in order by Arizona in second place with 86, Montana third with 49, Nevada fourth with 47, Wyoming fifth with 45, New Mexico sixth with 38, Alberta, Canada seventh with 10, Idaho eighth with 8, and Washington ninth with seven.
Pennsylvania has produced four trophy elk since 2001 -- the year of the state's first hunt in seven decades -- as many as the state of California.
That may not seem like a lot, but the Boone and Crockett Club has kept trophy records of North American game since 1830. In the 169 years before 2000, Pennsylvania had never given up a single record- class elk.
"Elk have roamed the Keystone State since 1913 after a successful restoration effort led by a young Pennsylvania Game Commission, but this is Pennsylvania's first-ever top 10 appearance in Boone & Crockett Club records, and that's a big deal," said David Allen, the Elk Foundation's president and CEO.
Jon DeBerti, the Pennsylvania Game Commission's elk biologist, could not be reached for comment. …