Girl's elk could be a new state record.
It's been an awesome season for big elk so far, and now there's news of a monster bull that could be a new state record for Nebraska.
But unlike the potential typical Pope & Young world record arrowed in Montana and potential non-typical Boone & Crockett record shot in Saskatchewan, this one was taken by a 14-year-old youth hunter in her second year of hunting.
"I tried not to think of how big he was," Hannah Helmer told Omaha.com. "And just getting those crosshairs right where I was supposed to."
She sounds like she's an old hand at this already. It's not easy to get an elk tag in Nebraska. Over 6,000 applicants applied for just over 300 permits, only 111 of which were for bulls. Luckily, Hannah was drawn for a permit in Sioux County in the Hat Creek Unit.
The story would have turned out very differently had Hannah connected on the first, smaller bull they saw on Saturday's opener for elk. But they were unable to get a clear shot.
It ended up being a blessing in disguise when the record-class elk showed up a half-hour later at 214 yards. Fortunately, Hannah had put in a lot of practice. Using a 7mm-08, Hannah made the shot after family friend Lee Johanson stopped it with a bugle. The big bull made the mistake of stopping to answer the call.
"Mid bugle, I shot him," Hannah told Omaha.com.
The shot was perfect, but a follow-up shot helped put him down for good. After the bull was down, they realized this was no ordinary bull Hannah had just taken. Hannah's dad, who also just happens to be a Boone & Crockett scorer, green-scored the massive bull an unbelievable 428 1/8 net.
If the score holds up after the 60-day drying period, it should easily surpass the state records for either a typical or non-typical bull. The mark is 409 7/8 for a non-typical and 390 3/8 for a typical.
Hannah can't draw another elk tag now, but it's likely she won't care after taking a once-in-a-lifetime bull. Nebraska DNR biologists estimated the monster bull was 6 or 7 years old. It wasn't just the antlers that were huge, the family estimates the bull weighed around 900-1,000 pounds. It took a winch and a four-wheeler to get it to the family's pickup.
"It's just so amazing," Hannah told Omaha.com. "I was in total misbelief."
For a girl who only just took hunter safety and her first whitetail last season, she's off to a heck of a start in her hunting career. The only question is, what do you do for an encore?
We'll keep an eye on this story and report back to you on just where Hannah's elk stands in the annals of Nebraska hunting history.