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He is a seventh-grader who loves to play hockey with his Thief River Falls, Minn., peewee hockey squad but finds time in his young life to practice shooting a .300 Weatherby Magnum hunting rifle.

That effort paid off for 13-year-old Ryker Copp of Warren, Minn., recently when he felled a nearly 1,000-pound bull elk in Caribou Township, Kittson County.

The young boy had been lucky enough to draw a once-in-a-lifetime Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit for the hunt — something his father, Jerred, who owns a seed distribution company, had tried to do for years but was unsuccessful.

Ryker Copp was one of only two hunters awarded either-sex elk permits in a special zone near the Canadian border where hunting began Sept. 23 and ended Sunday.

Ryker's mother, Tara Copp, a credit analyst, said she and her husband, along with Ryker and his sister, Tynley, 10, had seen the big bull while scouting before the season.

"We heard it bugle," she said.

But on the season's first day, with Ryker and his dad in a hunting blind, the bull was nowhere to be found.

The animal didn't show the second day, either — not until late afternoon, after Ryker, armed with the .300 Weatherby, and his dad watched a few cow elk appear and disappear from a wooded area.

Then the two heard a bull elk bugle, and shortly thereafter their target animal appeared — but at more than 400 yards away.

With a couple of wall-hanger whitetailed bucks already to his credit, Ryker had been in similar hunting situations before. But he had never drawn down a rifle on anything like the bull he was watching. Nor, in fact, had his dad, who during previous western hunting trips had shot two bull elk, but nothing this big.

When the animal closed to 359 yards, Ryker squeezed the trigger once, and again, and the elk went down. Jerred Ryker was able to drive to the animal in his pickup to recover it.

The bull's rack, with 8 points on one side and 10 on the other, green-scored 390 inches, with an official score coming in 60 days after a required drying period.

"We're getting it mounted," Tara Copp said. "It'll go on a wall in our house."