July 19, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
Roger Selner with his book on "Greatest Elk".
New World Record Typical Elk. Taken by Lon Wintersa wild and fearless cowboyborn in 1917. He died before his elk was discovered as the world record.
By Patricia Swan Smith
For the Pathfinder
Roger Selner calls his work "a passion". And after he has traveled over a million miles throughout North America following rumors, his wife Karen calls it an "obsession".
While Karen jokes about Roger's "obsession", after reading his first book, "Greatest Elk", you will probably agree that this is truly a passion for one of the greatest animals on earth along with many of the people who love them.
Some of the racks in the book belong to elk that may still be roaming North America, but many of the "trophy" elk were found on the side of a building, one in a dump, another in a basement, and some are drops or dead elk found in the wild.
Some of the trophies were discovered many, many years after the hunter had finished the meat. This is not a book about trophy hunting. This is a book about elk and people.
Selner tracks down the whole story when he can. The 209-page book includes spectacular full-page color photos of typical and non-typical elk, some old black and whites and many stories that are incredibly touching.
One such story is about Lon Wintersa wild and fearless cowboyborn in 1917; and he loved to hunt. His elk, discovered long after the hunt, is the new world record typical with the Boone & Crockett score of 442 5/8. He died in 1994, before his record elk was discovered.
The story starts with his mother Ruby when she made the trip from the cattle ranch to the hospital on a donkey to give birth to him. The story will carry you from his birth to a fire that destroyed their home, World War II, his marriage and children, losing his calves to the mountain lions and on to the words read at his funeral, "At the age of five, Lon and his sister redeemed enough whiskey bottles to buy a saddle. Lon put the saddle on a burro and started his career at punching cattle...His religion in life was nature, the sunshine, the seasons, and most of all the rain."
In 1995, Roger started the World Record Elk Tour. He wanted people to share in the magnificent animals found throughout the years. He is an official measurer for Boone & Crockett, Pope and Young and the Longhunters clubs. And, he loves to hunt. He dedicated the book to his mom and dad for taking him fishing and hunting, and for allowing him to grow up in the outdoors. His love and understanding for both elk and people is apparent throughout the book.
He and his wife live in Livingston, and spend a lot of time in the Seeley area. They will be in Missoula at the Adams Event Center at the University of Montana on July 20 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., July 21 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and July 22nd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can purchase one of his wonderful books for $39.95 at the show or give him a call at (406) 222-6107. It also makes a great gift.