10 largest world record elk

We’re in the heart of another deer season, and hunters are stalking the mountains and backcountry looking to fill their tags — and dreaming of damn bulls screaming toward the bow or gun range. Well, if you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big. And the bulls below should provide plenty of fantasy fodder. Here are one or two of the best bulls ever taken in each category of world record deer. All but one are or were world record bulls, and all but one exceed, or far exceed, 400 inches.

1) Spider bull

Side-by-side image of a mountain with deer antlers and a hunter.
Denny Austad took the current bull of the B&C word records in 2008. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Current B&C not typical of deer world records
  • Result: 478 ⅝

Spider Bull was popular with deer fanatics, but Denny Austad seemed destined to tag the Utah giant. Austad, who bought a Governor Tag for six figures, hired a guide who found and tracked the bull for months. Austad hunted the bull for nearly two weeks before it struck. And he lost. Even worse, Austad was poisoned by carbon monoxide from his camp trailer and had to miss half a month of hunting while he recovered. Finally back in the field, Austad and his guide were able to get the bull to within 180 yards, and the hunter’s second-chance shot proved true. Rumors circulated, as they often do, that the nethorn bull, which gained over 500 inches, was an escapee from the game farm or somehow illegal. But Boone & Crockett declared the monster the new non-typical world record in 2008.

2) Revelstoke Mystery Bull

A deer trophy mount on a black background.
This unusual monster bull was found in Canada in 1994. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Non-typical B&C former world record
  • Result: 465 2/8

Another popular bull, this atypical monster was a local celebrity near Revelstoke, British Columbia. Perhaps this fame cost the bull his life, as he was found dead in a local lake in 1994, missing his horns. Although poaching was suspected, it was never proven and the person who found the bull returned the horns. While the bull’s death remained a mystery, the size of its horns is no enigma. The rack quickly ascended, was declared a world record, and reigned as B&C’s premier atypical bull for more than a dozen years. Perhaps even more impressively, the bull was still in the velvet when he died, so he had the potential for even greater growth.

3) Bull Alonzo Winters

A deer trophy mount on a white background.
Shot in 1968, the typical world record deer rack was almost lost to history. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Current typical B&C world record
  • Result: 442 ⅝

Alonzo Winters was hunting the White Mountains of Arizona in the fall of 1968 when he hammered this incredible bull with a Savage Model 99. Winters showed the rack to friends and fellow nuts, and then he hung it in his garage where it stayed for almost three decades. Shortly before Winters’ death in 1994, he gave the horns to his sister, who was transporting them, along with a washer-dryer, in the back of her truck in 1995, when horn buyer Alan Ellsworth noticed the extraordinary shelf. He followed the truck into a parking lot and eventually purchased the largest typical deer antlers ever recorded by B&C. After proving a fair claim, the club declared the winter bull the new world record, which stands today.

4) Bull John Plute

A black and white image of a trophy deer mount.
John Plute’s famous Dark Canyon bull was the typical B&C world record for over 30 years. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Former B&C typical world record
  • Result: 442 ⅜

Colorado miners in the 19th century didn’t hunt elk for the record books; they shot them to survive. John Plute was no exception, so when he killed a big bull near Crested Butte in 1899, he left the horns with the carcass and packed the meat. But when he bragged about the size of the shelf to his friends, they wanted proof. So Plute climbed back into the Dark Canyon and pulled out a monstrous set of horns. Local legend has it that Plute eventually traded the horns to a saloon owner to pay a bar tab. The world-class buck remained in the Crested Butte area for years until it was officially marked by a B&C measurer in 1961. It was declared a world record buck and held that status for more than three decades.

5) Grandfather’s bull

A deer trophy mount on a white background.
Nick Franklin shot the current non-typical P&Y world record in 2003. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Current world record not typical P&Y
  • Result: 442

Nick Franklin, a native of Arizona, was well aware of the potential of his state’s Unit 8, where he had drawn a tag for the 2003 season. Although he had only shot one other deer, Franklin set his sights on tagging “Grandpa’s Bull “, a monster elk known to hunters familiar with the area. Franklin was six days into his hunt when he and a hunting companion encountered a group of bucking bulls—one of which was the monster he was seeking. The hunters passed through several satellite bulls before slipping within 35 meters of the giant. Franklin nailed the shot and within minutes was standing on Grandpa’s bull—and the new untypical P&Y world record.

6) Bull Clay Heuett

A trophy deer mount on a black background.
No archery bull has ever come close to setting a P&Y world record. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Almost, untypical P&Y world record
  • Result: 422 6/8

This is the only bull on this list that has never held a world record. But no bigger bull, or any bull, has come closer—and the hunter deserves his due. Clay Heuett arrowed this world-class giant in Arizona’s Unit 3C on September 21, 2003, and word of his bull spread quickly, as the 440-inch gross score looked certain to better the existing world record of 420-2/8 net. But just three days before Heuett’s elk hit the dirt, Nick Franklin, also hunting in Arizona, had tagged the bull above, which bested 20 inches.

7) Taurus Stephan Felix

A trophy deer mount on a white background.
The current typical P&Y world record was taken on a DIY public land hunt in 2016. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Current typical P&Y world record
  • Result: 430

Denny Austad’s atypical B&C record elk, taken at a six-figure tag and monitored for weeks by professional guides, represents an extreme of a world-class trophy bull hunt. Stephan Felix’s elk, shot on a DIY hunt on Montana public land in 2016, represents the other. Felix, an EMT dealing with the aftermath of a tragic accident, decided to walk to his hunting area to clear his head on a weekend hunt. The first morning, he encountered a giant bull, which he shot 60 yards and delivered a fatal blow. Felix then bagged the typical meat and antlers—the largest ever taken by a bowhunter—himself.

8) Bull Chuck Adams

A deer antler trophy on a white background.
Adams took this typical giant in Montana in 2000. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Former world record typical P&Y
  • Result: 411 ⅜

Adams, who was no stranger to the odd buck and bull, encountered this quandary the previous fall when he only had a Montana mule deer tag in his pocket. But the vision of the giant deer lingered in Adams’ mind until the 2000 season, when he returned to the same area. On September 14, he heard a roar, noticed a large horn and ran to catch the bull. Adams made good on the 40 yard throw and the bull only covered 75 yards before turning.

9) Lopeteguy Found Bull

A deer trophy mount on a white background.
The current world record B&C Tule Elk was found in California in 2005. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Current B&C Tule Elk World Record
  • Result: 379

Jeff Lopeteguy and his family always enjoyed watching the herd of Tule deer that frequented their ranch in Glenn County, California. When one of the local bulls was found dead on their property in 2005, the state wildlife agency tried to determine the cause of death. After returning the rack, they informed Lopeteguy that the horns could rank high in the record books. Really high; when Lopeteguy measured them, the bull broke the world record standing by 14 inches.

10) Bull Rick Bailey

A man and a trophy deer in the forest.
The first bull ever tagged Rick Bailey is now Roosevelt’s current world record bull. Boone & Crockett Club
  • Status: Current B&C Roosevelt world record in elk
  • Result: 419 6/8

Rick Bailey, a self-proclaimed meat hunter, had no intention of landing a trophy on his first bull hunt near Pitt Lake, British Columbia in 2015. But on the second morning of his hunt, Bailey spotted a bull big and did well in the 200 yard shot. The 9X9 monster gained 427-⅞ and scored 419-6/8 to beat the standing world record by 15 inches.

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