Hannah Helmer played hooky Wednesday.
She and her dad, Joel, drove to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in Lincoln. It was time to get her monster elk scored.
After more than an hour of measuring by Randy Stutheit, the Nebraska big game trophy records coordinator, it’s official.
The bull elk, which the 14-year-old killed Sept. 24 on a Sioux County ranch in northwest Nebraska, is the state record. It will rank in the top 20 nationally for a nontypical rack.
“The official score was 430 and 6⁄8 of an inch,” Hannah said. “It’s amazing. I just can’t believe that happened to me.”
That was even higher than the 428 1⁄8 net green score done by her dad, an official Boone and Crockett scorer. The rack had to dry out 60 days before it was officially scored for the state record.
They’ll mail in Stutheit’s official score sheet along with three photographs, an affidavit that it was harvested legally and copies of the license and tag to the Boone and Crockett Club. It will be reviewed and certified before it goes into the national record book.
“That’s really impressive,” Joel Helmer said. “When you look at the top elk, they’re all from Rocky Mountain states.”
Nebraska has its own records program, and Hannah’s score will top those in the Big Game Trophy Records book. It surpassed the 409 7⁄8 for a nontypical elk, killed by Dana Foster of Ogallala in 2008 in Garden County. The typical record is 390 3⁄8.
Hannah felt like a celebrity on Wednesday. Game and Parks personnel flocked to the area to see the rack, taking pictures and asking about her hunt.
It’s been crazy ever since the story about her elk ran in The World-Herald. She’s received calls, letters and interview requests from around the country.
Her favorite letter was from Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts.
“He said congratulations and I hope you get the record,” Hannah said. “Thank your dad for taking you out.”
As she promised, Hannah wrote an article about her hunting experience for the Seward County Independent.
Taxidermist Scott Black at High Five Taxidermy in Ceresco is handling the mount. He has the cape nearly done, and is hoping to fast track the mount. It could be done by late winter or early spring.
Then the Helmers will have to figure out where to hang it.
Hannah hasn’t been afield since her elk hunt. It’s basketball season now for the eighth-grader.
Either this winter or next, she’d like to go bowhunting for whitetail deer. Her dad isn’t worried about having to top her record experience.
“We’re a family that hunts. We definitely do it for a lot more reasons than the trophy,” he said. “It’s for the food, and to experience the outdoors. We just so happened to shoot a trophy animal.”