The vast majority, and I mean over 80%, of the bulls taken in Wyoming every year are raghorns. "Teenagers": silly, curious 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year old bulls. Hilltop's picture of a young bull is actually bigger than most that are killed every year, but his advice is most realistic. I'm sure none of the heros that post on the internet would stoop to such lowly elk, but anyone that tells you different is blowing smoke.
If you set yourself up to kill a 300+ bull or nothing, or even a 6 point or nothing, on your first hunt, you are setting yourself up for dissapointment. Have fun and focus on the hunt, not the kill, especially not the size of the kill on your first elk hunt.
Thanks everyone for the pictures and comments, they've been very helpful. The outfitter said bulls harvested typically score between 280 and 320. I'm looking forward to the horseback ride into camp, tent camping and meeting new hunters, harvesting an elk would be icing on the cake.
After shooting my first elk 2 years ago, my standards went way down after finding out how delicious they taste.
Another way to decide what is "average" is to look up outfitters in the areas you're curious about. Go on their websites and see what they're taking every year. If they're not pulling out 300" bulls year after year then that's probably not a realistic goal for you.
Arise... Kill, Eat! - Acts 10:13
Take a good look at the 290 European mount bull earlier in the thread. For a bull to go 300" it has got to be BIG!
I'd shoot a 280 bull any day. When the moment comes, you just need to say "big enough " and then later the tape tells you how big that is.
Your outfitter should be able to show you some pictures and say: "if you see a bull this big, you better shoot."
There is a lot of great advice here particularly from the Wyoming, Arizona, Utah people that have commented. I assume you guys like me get to look at bulls many months of the year and not just the hunting season. For the DIY person or a person new to the sport ANY 6 POINT IS A TROPHY and you will work your tail off for him. Only after you have a couple of them then a person can say you should hold out for a 340's on up, if it is a realistic wish in your unit. Keep in mind if that elk looks very mature he could be going down in antler size. We killed a bull this last year we were told was pushing 9-10 years old and was decreased back in the 290's-300 inch.
In WY lots of bulls never get bigger than 330". Just take a look at the pile of sheds at the antler sale every year in Jackson. I think the score is only one part of the equation. I've got one bull that is 40" larger than another one but I think they look equally nice on the wall. The smaller one has 3 more points and 3" longer main beams than the big one. He's just got shorter points. My wife shot a 12 year old bull that scored 290. Once they get that mature frame they all look good.