Tag, trophy elk worth the wait for Carson Valley man
Carson Valley resident Dan Kaffer had to wait 11 years for the opportunity to go elk hunting, but the end result put his name in the record books.
Kaffer helped lobby Nevada State Fish and Game officials in the 1980s to allow the first archery elk hunts in Nevada.
The first year bow and arrow hunting was allowed was 1986. Kaffer applied for a tag each year since then but never had the opportunity to go.
But his name now will be in the state and world record books for animals taken with a bow.
The elk was a six-by-six-point bull (meaning it had six points on each antler), which weighed more than 600 pounds. The beams of the antlers were 50 inches long, with the longest tines 21 inches long.
“It was an unbelievable hunt,” Kaffer said. “I had the opportunity to see 52 elk in two days, eight being six-point or better bulls.”
Kaffer said Nevada’s herd of elk is healthy and growing.
The first elk were introduced to Nevada in 1932, Kaffer said, by a group of sportsmen who paid to have 30 elk brought from Yellowstone National Forest by train.
Nevada’s herd has grown from that and now has a population of about 4,400. Elk live in as many as eight counties in Nevada.
“With positive support from ranchers and farmers, and judicious management by the Bureau of Land Management and National Division of Forestry,” Kaffer said, “the herds have expanded and augmented through planning.”
Hunting is an integral part of managing the herd, Kaffer said.
A ceiling is placed on the number of elk that are allowed to live in an area, based on the population of elk the habitat can sustain. The number of tags issued each year is based on the population.
“Elk have to be kept within given population numbers,” Kaffer said. “The harvesting of the animals is part of the law, keeping the population in check for the habitat that’s available for them.”
Kaffer has been a hunter for 35 years and has been involved in archery hunting for 15 years.
He said he was happy for this long-awaited opportunity.