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North Dakota Man Takes Down Massive Elk In Once-In-a-Lifetime Hunt

In North Dakota, you get one elk per lifetime. Thomas Sitzer made sure his bull counted.

A man from North Dakota put in the hard hunting work early this September and reaped the rewards, taking down a massive bull elk while hunting in the state's northeastern badlands.

Elk tags are hard to come by in the state. Thomas Sitzer did his justice, taking the bull with a bow after scouting and stalking it for several weeks. He green scored its massive rack at a little over 360 inches by Boone and Crockett scoring—putting him just a little shy of the state's archery record.

The massive bull elk had been on Sitzer's mind since pre-season. After hearing about it from local landowners, he'd been stalking the bull on and off since the opening day of North Dakota's elk season on September 1.

"I have a good friend that owns land in the area, and he sent me a picture of the bull the night before the season was about to come in," Sitzer told Field and Stream. "I went up and scouted that night and was there on opening morning. I didn't see him that morning, but I came back later in the evening and spotted him right as he spotted me from about 120 yards away."

Sitzer finally took a shot at the bull on September 11.

That day, he'd gotten a call from a friend. Some bulls and cows—but apparently not his big bull—had shown up in the area. Sitzer decided to set up in a field blind for the evening elk hunt. He was waiting when the elk herd his friend had mentioned filed into the field. A few bulls passed him before the monster he'd been stalking stepped into bow range.

Sitzer drew his Hoyt RX-7 bow. But the bull trotted about the field, chasing off any other bulls that came his way, and not presenting a shot.

Sitzer decided to pull the bull in closer with a few cow calls. When the bull was finally standing broadside, 40 yards away, he hit it with one well-placed arrow. The bull ran 50 yards, bedded down, and died.

A little over 500 elk licenses are available to hunters by lottery most years in North Dakota. Once a North Dakotan bags an elk, they're tagged out for the rest of their life. Sitzer surely won't forget his anytime soon.

"Being born and raised in North Dakota, I never really saw many elk before I got the opportunity to go out and chase them," he told Field and Stream. "I couldn't have asked for a better outcome."

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