Paul Pennie
Lloyd Jacobsen of Lehi holds up the rack of the trophy elk he shot in September in Utah.

Lloyd Jacobsen wasn't sure how the elk would score. What he did know was it was big. The antlers were as tall as a man.

When all the numbers were added, Jacobsen's elk would because the largest ever taken in Utah and the 19th largest in North America.

Jacobsen was no stranger to this elk. He'd seen it weeks earlier. Weeks before the hunt, when he was scouting the Pahvant limited entry unit East of Fillmore, he spotted the elk and watched it move about for a couple of minutes. Even then he had no idea of its record size.

But, as he stood next to the downed elk, next to the antlers, he said, "It took my breath away."

The list of world records extends back to 1830. Prior to 1981, Utah did not have a single entry in the typical or nontypical Boone and Crockett records for American elk. Now it has more than 80 listed.

Jacobson's elk scored 408 4/8 points. The world record, taken in 1968, scored 442 5/8 points. The second largest elk was taken in 1899 and the third in 1890. Measurements taken include the width of the spread at various locations, length of the main beams and the length of those points in what are recognized at "typical" locations. Any variance puts the elk in the nontypical category.

Jacobsen had been applying for the limited-entry hunt for 20 years. When it came in 2005, he said he realized this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. One shot; one elk and no second chances.

His plan was to scout the area, which he did three times, then spend as much time as he could on the hunt. Several friends joined him on the hunt. His hunt ended on the opening day.

"We went there to find a good animal. I did see one elk I would have shot, but it was in an area I couldn't get to. We were a couple of miles in, hiking in really rugged country. We'd heard some elk bugle, so we decided to start walking back," he recalled.

"A buddy was taking video and walked up on the elk. He left a marker, his shirt, and came to find us. We went back, found the shirt and saw the elk. It had walked off a couple of hundred yards."

The elk was in a grove of trees, about 260 yards away, standing in a position that did not give Jacobsen a shot.

"I sat and watched the elk for about 30 minutes. There was a narrow gap in the trees. I tried to move left and right but still couldn't get a shot. It stood there, racking the trees for a good 30 minutes. Finally, it turned and I got a shot. It only went about 20 yards."

Record rules are that the antlers must dry for 60 days before they can be measured.

When they were measured, Jacobsen had his record.

He had the elk mounted and planned to put it in his trophy room in the basement, but it was too big and wouldn't fit. So, it sits in his living room, on the floor, with the tips of its antlers reaching up only 15 inches from the ceiling.

When word got out about his trophy, Jacobsen had a steady stream of people calling and stopping by.

It was, he said, "quite an event ... and still is."