Oklahoma Records Set For Typical Elk, Black Bear

Oklahoma’s Cy Curtis Awards Program announced recently it has recognized new state-record entries for typical elk and black bear.

For nearly 15 years, the elk that Joe Kysela harvested (pictured above) on his first-ever elk hunt has made an impressive wall mount in his Oklahoma City home. Little did he realize that this elk would become the top-scoring typical elk in the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation‘s Cy Curtis Awards Program.

The Wildlife Department established the Cy Curtis Awards Program in 1972 to recognize trophy game hunters in Oklahoma. The program first recognized only trophy whitetail deer and mule deer. But in 2014, the Cy Curtis Awards Program was expanded to include elk, pronghorns and black bears that exceed the minimum qualifying scores.

The elk that now holds the state record earned a score of 310-1/8. Kysela took the elk Oct. 7, 2000, on a private land hunt outside the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

Kysela submitted his Cy Curtis application in late October, and his elk now holds the top spot previously held by Mark Thompson of Shawnee, whose elk scored 307-6/8.

In a Sunday Oklahoman newspaper account after the hunt, Kysela said he used a cow call to lure the bull within 30 yards.

“He answered every time, which allowed me to key in on his position and get set up to make the shot. I almost hyperventilated when I saw how close he was to me,” he said.

Jeremy DeFrange of McAlester.
Jeremy DeFrange of McAlester, Okla., with his state record black bear.

Kysela said a meat processor estimated the elk weighed 980 pounds.

“I don’t think I will ever top this one, even if I go to Colorado, New Mexico or Arizona,” he said.

Kysela’s elk was scored shortly after the hunt for a Boone and Crocket Club trophy entry.

To be eligible for a Cy Curtis listing, typical elk must score a minimum of 270 and non-typical elk must score at least 310.

Bear Record, Too
The black bear that now holds the state record scored 20-15/16. It was harvested by Jeremy DeFrange of McAlester on Oct. 7, 2012, in Latimer County. This black bear takes the spot previously held by Michael Musgrove of Wilburton and Ken Baker of Hulbert, who were tied with scores of 20-1/16.

DeFrange’s bear was scored in March 2013 for a Boone and Crockett Club trophy entry. Black bear skulls must score 19 or greater to be eligible for a Cy Curtis listing.

For details on the program and how you can apply for an award, go to the Cy Curtis page.

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