Record Minnesota Elk – Could Be World Class!

By Hunting NetworkMarch 4, 2011

LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015

When we think of the great state of Minnesota a few thoughts might come to mind- snow, about 10,000 lakes, Al Lindner, and the Vikings to name a few. What will likely never cross your mind- world record bull elk!

On December 12th, 2010, while cruising some back roads with a few buddies looking for a place to hunt whitetail, Ryan Muirhead and gang ran into a sight they never would have imagined. There, laying on its back with its antlers lodged into the frozen mud was a massive bull elk just a few yards off the road. And it was still alive!

elk upside down

This Minnesota elk was still alive when Ryan Muirhead and some friends found him.

Eventually, with the aid of several more people who were driving by, the men were able to free the bull using a 10 foot-long 2×4 as a pry-bar. The elk got up, witnesses say, and casually walked off as if on his last legs of life.

Over the next two days Ryan routinely checked up on the bull, which hadn’t gone far from where the men freed him. Often bedded, the bull would pass to the next life just 48 hours later- Ryan even remaining with the bull the last 6 hours of its life.

elk bedded

Ryan, who was interested in keeping the elks antlers along with the cape, immediately contacted the Minnesota DNR for the proper permits. After first investigating the scene where the elk laid, along with tested blood and tissue samples, it was determined the bull died of natural causes by the DNR. A tag was issued and the elk has since been returned to the Muirhead household.

The bull still awaits the 60-day drying period mandatory from the Boone & Crockett club before it can be officially measured. However, it has been green scored an incredible 456 4/8 inches! If this score holds true it could move into 4th all-time for non-typical American elk. Not bad for a state not even remotely known for its wild elk population.

elk antlers with peeps

Ryan, pictured with his wife, pose next to what could be the NEW #4 American non-typical elk.

The Hunting Network staff not only congratulates Ryan on this once in a lifetime find, but we would also like to extend a bit of gratitude to all the men involved in trying to free the animal. It’s hunters like all of you who make us proud to call you brethren.

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