Missouri Hunter Bags One of Five Elks in State’s First Season After Overcoming Stage 4 Cancer

by Clayton Edwards

Gene Guilkey was one of the five lucky hunters who were able to hunt elk in Missouri this year.

This year marked the first elk season in Missouri’s modern history. Instead of opening the season to all hunters, the state ran a lottery. The winners of that lottery were notified in June. Among them was the sixty-year-old Guilkey.

According to the Joplin Globe, less than a year earlier, Guilkey had been given some more dire news. In August of 2019, he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The coming months would bring constant chemotherapy and radiation. Gene lost sixty-five pounds and most of his strength due to the disease. He knew he couldn’t pass up the chance to harvest an elk, though.

Gene Guilkey has been hunting deer in Missouri for years. He always dreamed of taking a trip to hunt down a big bull elk but he was never able to afford it. So, he fought through his physical issues, enlisted the help of his son and a friend, and started scouting a hunting area.

The season was grueling for Guilkey. All of the walking through Missouri’s thickly forested rough terrain was exhausting for him. He pushed through his physical limitations. He knew that this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for him.

After months of scouting, the group picked a hunting ground. They found several food plots that were frequented by a large bull elk and his harem. From there, it was all luck of the draw to see if they could catch the elks feeding. On the morning of December 16rh, just five days into the nine-day season, Guilkey chose correctly.

Gene Guilkey’s History-Making Missouri Elk

Not only did Gene Guilkey take home a freezer full of meat and trophy-worthy bull but he also made history that morning. He was the fourth person to legally harvest an elk in the state of Missouri in over a hundred years.

Gene Guilkey isn’t just a lucky hunter. Yes, he got incredibly lucky by being drawn in the lottery. Over 19,000 other hunters put their name in that hat as well.

The fact that he has stage 4 cancer means that he’s lucky to be able to get out and hunt at all. It wasn’t all down to luck, though. It was Guilkey’s drive and spirit that carried him through. If not for his iron will, he would not have been able to complete the hunt.

However, due to his determination, he was able to overcome his illness and make history with his successful hunt.