I was surprised to learn that MacCarty's parents were some of the early pioneers in private-land game management. In 1968, they removed the cattle from their property and introduced elk behind a high fence, covering most of their 23,000-acre ranch. The state was quick to challenge the fence, and it went all the way to the Supreme Court before MacCarty prevailed. To this day, the ranch is the only one in the state with elk behind a high fence. Although, this fence encloses 22,000 acres, it has no interior fences. Today, 400 elk, 300 bison, and numerous deer and antelope roam within the enclosure, making the hunting experience as close to free-range as possible. And for those who prefer hunting unfenced areas, there are another 30,000 acres of leased land contiguous to the NX Bar ranch, providing more than enough free-range country to hunt.
Hunter success over the years has been nearly 100 percent, but what is surprising is the high quality of the trophies. Last year, MacCarty hosted 12 elk hunters who tagged bulls ranging from 329 to 368 points, with an average of 344 points. Their deer hunters claimed bucks scoring from 160 to 199 points, with an average of 178 points. (These are all green scores of gross measurements.) MacCarty told me that the all-time largest animals taken here are a 380-point bull elk and a 228-point buck. In addition, I tallied the scores of 72 animals appearing in photos MacCarty included in the brochures he sent to me. These give an excellent cross-section of trophies taken over the prior five years. The 35 bulls taken averaged 352 points, with the largest scoring 380 points and the smallest bull scoring 325 points. The 37 bucks taken averaged 171 points, with the largest........(continued)