LAST EDITED ON Apr-04-17 AT 11:41 PM (MST)
LAST EDITED ON Apr-04-17 AT 11:34 PM (MST)
In south Central Utah, I see quite a few bull elk, alive or in someone's pick up. I hear people say the units, in this area, produce a pretty fair number of elk over 350", compared to other areas. Don't know if that's true or not but I have observed this, the lower the harvest rate, i.e.: the fewer the number of tags, the more bulls I see, and the more bulls I see, the more bigger bulls I see.
I've been counting bull elk numbers around here for a little over twenty years, pre- hunt and post. This is just my empirical opinion. On just about any unit in So. Central Ut, if there was never an elk hunt and all the bull elk were allowed to just grow old and die naturally, the average bull, five years and older, would average about 335" in size. On a bell curve, a few would be smaller and a few would be larger. The largest part of the bell curve would, I think, be between, 320" and 350".
On another antler average question, BYU wildlife biology department, Dr. Larsen, and Dr. McMillian are who I think did the research, if my memory serves me correctly, did a study on the average outside antler width of mature mule deer (I think they said 5 years or older but not sure) was 24". I think it was done on hunter killed deer. The study was done sometime in the last ten years, as I recall.
In both cases, as others have mentioned, with harvest strategies being different, from unit to unit, and State to State these " numbers will vary, according to which ever harvest strategy is being used.