Kansas is well-known as home to a thriving whitetail deer population but it also home to wild, free-ranging elk. DJ Klenken knows that all too well.
Klenken wasn’t even initially after elk and now game wardens think he may be the state record holder.
Kansas has a small, wild elk herd near Fort Riley but individual elk are known to wander 75 to 100 miles away. Klenken was hunting doves near Winchester, which is northeast of Topeka and about 100 miles from Fort Riley.
“Land owners (two) had told him there was a rogue elk that has been around their property for the past three years,” DJ’s wife Lacy wrote in an email to the Topeka Capital-Journal. “Well, while out dove hunting, my husband accidentally walked up on this elk, 40 yards or so, and spooked him up. He couldn’t believe it, he was real and he was right in front of him!”
So Klenken purchased an elk tag and returned to the same location the following day. Hours passed without any sign of elk.
“Then all the sudden, birds started to fly, you could hear something coming through the timber, and then the infamous bugle,” Lacy said. “It was him. For about 20 minutes or so, he just watched him come in closer. Finally, at 60 yards, the bull turned broadside and he took his first shot.
“The elk didn’t run, he just seemed confused. My husband loaded his gun again. The elk spun around, now being broadside the opposite direction, and my husband fired a second shot. This time the elk started to trot off before finally going down just 20 yards from where he originally was hit.”
Kleken plans to have the antlers officially scored in November.