Here's the latest to surface on the big bull... Oct. 5, 2006 By Rich Landers Outdoors editor The Spokesman-Review News travels fast by the Internet and e-mail. So do rumors and lies. The latest hunting-related fib to come across my computer screen is a photo of two hunters with a monster elk accompanied by this message: "This Elk was killed with a bow in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. He green scored 575 .... He has an unbelievable outside spread of 79 inches. This is the biggest bull ever taken with any weapon." The reference to the Selway is the first clue that at least some of the information is bogus. "That was a big red flag to us," said Brad Compton, Idaho Fish and Game Department big-game manager who also had received the digital image. "That would be 150 points bigger than any bull that's ever come out of the Selway. It's too farfetched." "Anybody who knows anything about Selway elk could take one look at that bull and know that information is wrong," said Ryan Hatfield of the Boone and Crockett Club in Missoula. Hatfield, who just finished researching and publishing a book about trophy elk taken in Idaho, said he'd received at least 150 e-mails regarding the so-called Selway elk in the past few days. After some sleuthing on Tuesday and a tip from a game rancher in Riggins, I found the source of the photo and the bull: Laurentian Wildlife Estate, which has operated as a shooter-bull ranch for six years near Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. In a telephone interview, Laurentian manager Tony Barber (at left in the photo) said his California client killed the bull earlier this year inside the 1,000-acre estate, which is enclosed by a game-proof fence to hold the domestically produced elk and red deer. The elk is a Manitoba strain, not the Rocky Mountain subspecies native to Idaho, Barber said while offering the following details. The bull was 10 years old and weighed 595 pounds. Its non-typical antlers had 12 points on one side, 9 on the other with an outside spread of 79 inches. The bull has been monitored closely as it matured. "We picked up its shed antlers last year and they measured 516 (Boone and Crockett points)," Barber said. Here are other numbers to ponder: Barber said the bull's Boone and Crockett score is at least 560 green, that is, before the drying and shrinkage required for official scoring. (Two unofficial measurers scored it 566 and 561 green, he said.) For comparison, the Boone and Crockett world record bull, found floating dead in Upper Arrow Lake, British Columbia, scored 465 2/8. The biggest fair-chase bull to be taken by a hunter came from Arizona. It scored 450 6/8. Cost to hunt elk on the Quebec shooter-bull operation starts at $4,900, but prices for trophy bulls are negotiated, as Barber put it, "into the high five-digits." If the unofficial measurements hold up, the bull's dry-score antlers "would be the biggest ever taken by a hunter," Barber said. Most sportsmen, however, take exception to his reference to "hunter." Indeed, sportsmen who hunt the old-fashioned way for elk that run wild and free won't have to compete in the official North American record books against this farm-raised specimen. "Boone and Crockett does not keep hunting records of animals that come from behind escape-proof fencing," Hatfield said. You can contact Rich Landers by voice mail at 459-5577, extension 5508, or e-mail to email@example.com.