Burnsville angler lands monster muskie and breaks both standing records

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BURNSVILLE, W.Va. — Last weekend, Lucas King of Burnsville had a little time to kill before he had to run to the grocery store. King, who works for the West Virginia Division of Highways, was enjoying the Saturday off after manning the snowplow the previous weekend. He decided to spend some time wetting a line in the tailwaters of the Burnsville Dam in Braxton County before heading out for his errand.

“It was a nice morning, low 40’s and a little bit of clouds and sun, but no wind. I thought I’d go fishing and kill a few hour before I ran to the grocery store,” he explained in an interview for West Virginia Outdoors.

King was fishing from the bank and made a couple of rounds walking a stretch of water between two riffles on the Little Kanawha River between the Burnsville Dam and the town of Burnsville.

“It’s about a 500 yard long eddy. There’s a riffle at the top of it and a riffle at the bottom of it. I’ve caught muskies there before,” he explained.

Listen to “Lucas King — State Record Musky” on Spreaker.

After two passes with no luck, King concentrated on a very specific spot in the pool where he’s gotten dozens of musky bites in the past. He knew of a submerged rock shelf on the opposite bank where fish like to hang out and ambush prey. The drop goes from two feet to around 12 feet deep.

Using a a six inch jerk bait, King explained he felt resistance on about the third twitch so he set the hook. The head of the monster came up out of the water-and immediately headed straight at him.

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[Click Here to Shop .30-30 Winchester Ammo]What we can do is provide a framework to understand what average conditions might look like, and whether those are reasonably viable for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a black bear in the fewest number of shots possible, i.e., ethically. Let’s dive right in. In the question of “Is the .30-30 Winchester within the ideal range of suitable calibers for black bear hunting?” our answer is: No, the .30-30 Winchester is UNDERKILL for black bear hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.Let’s look at those assumptions a bit closer in the following table. Assumption Value Caliber .30-30 Winchester Animal Species Black Bear Muzzle Energy 1890 foot-pounds Animal Weight 340 lbs Shot Distance 150 yardsWhat is the average muzzle energy for a .30-30 Winchester? In this case, we have assumed the average muzzle energy for a .30-30 Winchester round is approximately 1890 foot-pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male black bear? Here we have leaned conservative by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, since females generally weigh less and require less stopping power. In this case, the average weight of an adult male black bear is approximately 340 lbs. [Click Here to Shop .30-30 Winchester Ammo]What is the distance this species is typically hunted from? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a given caliber in black bear hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile drops dramatically the further downrange it travels primarily due to energy lost in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenonemon is known as drag or air resistance. Thus, a caliber that is effective from 50 yards may not have enough stopping power from 200 yards. With that said, we have assumed the average hunting distance for black bear to be approximately 150 yards. What about the other assumptions? We have three other primary assumptions being made here. First, the average bullet weight is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy for the .30-30 Winchester. The second important assumption is ‘slightly-suboptimal’ to ‘optimal’ shot placement. That is to say, we assume the black bear being harvested is shot directly or nearly directly in the vitals (heart and/or lungs). The third assumption is that a projectile with appropriate terminal ballistics is being used, which for hunting usually means an expanding bullet.Various calibersA common thread you may encounter in online forums is anecdote after anecdote of large animals being brought down by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course those stories exist, and they are not disputed here. A 22LR cartridge can fell a bull elephant under the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG round under other specific conditions. Again, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether .30-30 Winchester is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest black bear - and to this question, the response again is no, the .30-30 Winchester is UNDERKILL for black bear hunting. [Click Here to Shop .30-30 Winchester Ammo]This article does not serve as the final say, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a venue for further discussion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: the information above is purely for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as permission to use a particular caliber, a statement of the legality or safety of using certain calibers, or legal advice in any way. You must read and understand your own local laws before hunting black bear to know whether your caliber of choice is a legal option.Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings. 8 Comments Jon - Aug 18, 2021Why is it that everyone thinks you need a 300 super double extra magnum that fires a 1000 grain bullet @ 5500fps to kill typical medium/thin skin game like deer and black bear? Have we as humans not killed everything that walks on land for the past how many thousands of years with sharp rocks attached to sticks that traveled at half the speed of smell? ! It matters not what you hit them with as much as where you hit them with it.P.S. tell the thousands of bears (black and brown, not to mention elk, moose and deer) that have fallen to the 30-30 that it was not enough to do the job right the first time. Give me a break. Matt - Dec 03, 20213030 has killed more black bears than any of us can count. Some of us believe it is a go to round for black bears, in the north east.Contrary to “popular” (keyboard only hunters) belief, you do not need a 50bmg for black bear.Black bears are harvested with 357mag handguns.. 3030 is way more powerful. Lynn Bear - Jun 09, 2022The ol 30-30 Winchester sure will kill a black bear!! Several years ago, here in Pennsylvania, a hunter killed a 800 plus pound black bear in the Pocono mountains with a 30-30. My son killed a medium size black bear in North Carolina with his 30-30 Winchester model 94 using a 170 grain bullet. Range was 20 yards and they were hunting bear with dogs. I seen the biggest wild boar that weighed 380 pounds drop like a light being turned off using the same bullet (170 grain Hornady Flat point). There have been all kinds of big game animals fall to the 30-30 Winchester. Don’t dare underestimate it, because you would be wrong doing so. I seen it do too wonderful a job bringing home the bacon and back straps. 😃👍 Brad - Dec 20, 2022This article says it’s not optimal, and discusses the assumptions, but never says why those assumptions lead to the conclusion. What are the optimal specs it alludes to but never states? MARK SENEY - Jan 02, 20243030 kills them dead all day, got 6 hanging on my wall to prove it , shot placement is key and develop your tracking skills, they can run a long way no matter what you shoot them with, very little blood traill for most. Jim - Jan 02, 2024 Read and read on what cal. For black bear over bait. Have a 06/ and 270 however after (2) shoulder surgery I went and bought a henery 30/30 sighted in in 50 yards for my bear hunt. The 4 th pm I had a bear come in not a monster but my first 145lbs so put the 30/30 few inch behind ft shoulder and pow. It ran around circle and droped. Granted my shot was only 12 yards was useing 170 gr. Going again this fall—- hopefully see a larger bear try let smalls pass Jim - Mar 04, 2024Shot my first bear last fall. Henry 30/30 it ran around big circle and game over. It was not a 400lb but 163 lb. Waiting for shoulder mount. And there are not many packages of bear meat left in the freezer. Like all game SHOT PLACEMENT Steve Chelewski - Aug 28, 2024Thank you to all who have supported my favorite, the legendary 30/30! Leave a commentComments have to be approved before showing up Your Name * Your Email * Your Comment * Post Comment

“I knew it was a good one when she came up out of there head shaking and mouth open. She started heading toward me on the bank,” he explained.

King had experience in dealing with musky so he was geared with the right equipment and knew how to properly apply the right level of pressure to turn her back and get her into shallow water. In a short period of time he had her at his net along the bank, but with the bank so steep he decided to steer her further upstream. It took several attempts, but he finally got her into the net and into an area where there was some shoreline to stand and work.

Fishing alone, King had seen a friend not far away fishing with his children. He gave him a shout to come take some pictures. With pictures secure, the two discussed the monster musky probably should be measured with the possibility it could be a state record fish. Neither had a tape measure, so King called his fiancé to ask her to bring his bump board to measure the monster fish.

“The first measurement I got was 55 and 3/4 and that was with my hand in the gills,” he laughed. “I said oh my gosh, I don’t know who to call or who to get hold of.”

Now realizing he potentially had a state record fish sitting in a net in shallow water, King started racking his brain. He made several phone calls and finally found a connection who was able to get in touch with DNR District Fisheries Biologist Aaron Yeager. Yeager lived in Belington and the trip to Burnsville would take at least an hour. King knew his trip to the grocery store was probably going to be indefinitely delayed. He also had concern for the fish’s health, but for the moment she was fine just resting comfortably in the net and content to stay still and upright.

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Yeager arrived with his measuring equipment, but noted when he got there the certification on his scales had expired only days earlier so for an official weight they’d have to find another set of scales. Yeager filled an aerated tank in his truck to safely haul the fish, which had already broken the record for length at 55.0625 inches. That’s a full inch greater than the standing record. The pair made a ride over to Gassaway to the Southern States where they found a set of certified scales. The big girl tipped those at exactly 51 pounds-besting the old weight record of 49.75 caught at Burnsville by Anna Marsh in the 1990’s.

Luke King of Burnsville released his record fish back into the Little Kanawha River after it was certified as the new record for weight and length pic.twitter.com/yu0v504caK

— Chris Lawrence (@WVOutdoors) March 24, 2022

With the measurements secure and the record certified, the big fish was released back into the water at the same location where it was caught.

King laughed it was the biggest musky he’d ever caught. Turned out it was the biggest musky anybody in West Virginia ever caught.

“I was just out there to have a little fun. I never imagined I’d catch something like that,” he laughed.