Teen hunter shoots record Virginia bull elk

Photo courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club

Congratulations to Austin Prieskorn! The 15-year-old hunter is now the proud record holder of the only Boone & Crockett (B&C) bull elk for Virginia with a score of 413-7/8” after his dad, Bo, won a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) raffle. 

As GOHUNT previously reported, Virginia announced its first historic elk season last year following a successful reintroduction effort spearheaded by RMEF. Out of the five tags available, four went to Virginia residents lucky to draw and the fifth was raffled off by RMEF. Almost 32,000 applicants vied for their chance at a once-in-a-lifetime tag, generating $513,000 for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources general fund, according to B&C.

The RMEF tag raised $93,000 and the monies will be used for elk habitat management.

Bo was excited to hear that he won. “I haven’t hunted myself in seven years. It’s been all about my boys.” 

The Prieskorns live in New Mexico and Bo was an outfitter for 30 years before switching his focus to wildlife photography and taking his sons, Austin and Mason, hunting around the West. To prepare for the October hunt, they spent time scouting the Virginia elk herds, locating a monster that was about 450”, but they didn’t see him again when it was time to hunt. 

However, Austin didn’t have his sights set on a monster despite his dad’s preference.

“I just wanted to shoot any bull,” said Austin. Well, he did – and he made history with his successful harvest. 

But will his record remain? Chris Croy, RMEF’s regional director of Virginia and the Carolinas with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, doesn’t think so. “That 413 bull was the best advertising the state of Virginia ever had.” 

In fact, when the application period for the 2023 season opened on Feb. 1, the state made $100,000 on the first day, according to B&C. And there’s still plenty of time to apply – the deadline is March 30. You can apply here.

As for what hunters can expect for the 2023 season? Possibly, an even bigger bull.

“[The elk] live in a day spa,” said Croy. “And I can tell you, the next Boone and Crockett World’s Record elk will come from the East.”


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