Discover The Largest Elk in the World (2023)

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When you use the term “largest elk” it depends if you are measuring its weight or the size of its rack. Avid hunters are more concerned with the size of the elk’s rack (antlers) and have developed a precise system for scoring the width, number of points and overall size of an elk’s antlers. If you are more interested in how big elk get, weight wise, then the rack might be less important.

Elk are one of the largest species of deer, smaller than only moose. They can be found in most of North America and parts of Asia. Yet, just how big can elk get? We dive into the largest types of elk and how big the largest elk ever was!

The types of elk: Exploring the 10 subspecies

Discover The Largest Elk in the World (1)

In North America there are 6 subspecies of elk: Eastern, American (Rocky Mountain), Roosevelt, Tule, Manitoban and Merriam’s. Of these six, only three can be hunted. Although most elk are categorized as “least concerned” according to the IUCN, two of these subspecies are now extinct; the Merriam elk which once populated areas of Arizona and New Mexico, is now, unfortunately, extinct and the Eastern elk used to live in the northeastern United States and parts of southern Canada, but has been extinct since 1877. Conservationists and hunting clubs are very conscious of keeping the elk population under balance so that other subspecies do not disappear.

There are four subspecies of Asian elk as well, with the name “wapiti” used in place of elk, there are the Altai wapiti, Tianshan wapiti, Manchurian wapiti and Alashan wapiti. These can be found in China, Mongolia and Siberia and are not endangered at this time. Looking at all the subspecies of elk let’s take a look at which ones are the largest (by weight) and secondly let’s take a look at the largest elk by hunting standards and the largest scored elk (by antler rack size) ever in the world!

Alashan wapiti (elk) are the smallest elk subspecies

The smallest subspecies of elk is the Alashan wapiti which is one of the Asian elks. In general, the Asian elks are a smaller breed than the North American elk. There has not been a significant amount of research done on the Alashan wapiti but they are the smallest elk subspecies by weight and by antler size.

American (Rocky Mountain) elk are the second largest elk

The American elk are the most populous elk and can be found west of the Mississippi with the largest herd of elk living together in Colorado. Elk’s live in groups with the females and males congregating seperately except during mating season. The herd in Colorado is numbered at 30,000 or more! As for size, a male American elk can grow to be 800lbs with the females, or cows, being closer to 450-500lbs. If you were standing next to an elk they would be 4-5 feet tall at the shoulder, but if you kept looking up you would see the antlers extending an additional 4 feet! You would also know you are standing next to a male elk because only males have antlers.

Roosevelt’s elks are the largest elk

Discover The Largest Elk in the World (2)

The largest elk in the world is the Roosevelt’s elk which can be found in the northwestern United States in Washington and Oregon, and parts of British Columbia. These elk can grow to be 1,200lbs and stand 5ft tall at the shoulder!

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World Record for Largest Roosevelt Elk

Roosevelt elk are the biggest by body mass but not always by the size of their rack. But a hunter from British Columbia managed to get the largest Roosevelt elk by antler score back in 2015. Rick Bailey meets the definition of beginner’s luck. On his first elk hunt, on day two, he shot a 9×9 (having 9 points on each antler) elk with a score of 419 6/8ths. That record stands to date as the Roosevelt Elk World Record by Boone & Crocket.

What makes a “good catch” in elk hunting

If you are hunting deer you may be most concerned with the number of points on the buck, if you are looking for an award winning moose you would want one that has the widest rack, for elk there is a system of measurements, including the distance between points and the circumference of the antlers, that can be added together to find a score to compare to other elk. There are also two governing bodies that monitor the record keeping. The Boone & Crockett club monitors all elk, regardless of how they were killed, while the Pope & Young club monitors the record-breaking elk shot by bow and arrow.

There are also records for typical and non-typical elk. There are more specific guidelines that can be found on their website but the overview of the differences is that if you look at a pair of elk antlers a typical set would be relatively symmetrical and have 6 points. Elk that have one antler with an irregular shape or have 8 points on one side and 6 an another, for example, may be categorized as non-typical. Let’s take a look at some of the world’s largest elk!

World record for Largest Tule Elk

Elk are also categorized by their subspecies. The largest tule elk ever was not shot by bow and arrow or by a gun, but it was found already dead on the land of Jeff Lopeteguy. Jeff had a ranch in Glenn County, California and the land was frequented by tule deer. He had the rack measured and landed the title from Boone & Crocket as the Tule Elk World Record with a score of 379.

World Record for Largest Typical elk (bow and arrow)

Stephan Felix was an EMT that went for a hunt on public hunting land in Montana. On his first day out he found an enormous bull and was able to take it down with his bow. It ended up having a typical rack and after all the measurements landed on a score of 430 0/8ths to break the record. The largest ever recorded by the Pope & Young club.

World Record for Largest Typical elk (any means)

Discover The Largest Elk in the World (3)

You have probably heard some crazy stories about “the fish that got away”, but the story about the Largest Typical elk has a unique twist to it too. In 1968, Alonzo Winter shot a large bull in the mountains in Arizona. He was proud of his catch but was content with sharing his story with friends and family and then hanging the rack in his garage…for thirty years! Turns out this was the world record largest rack but wasn’t officially measured until 1995 by an antler buyer, Allan Ellsworth who found it being transported by Alonzo’s sister. Allan bought the antlers and then had them officially given a fair-chase affidavit and measured with a score of 442 5/8ths!

World Record for Largest Non-Typical American Elk (bow and arrow)

The most recent record was broken back on March 20, 2021. A hunter named Shawn O’Shea from Alberta, Canada now holds the record from Pope & Young for the Largest Non-Typical Elk which he got with a bow and arrow. He had first noticed this particular bull on trail cameras back in 2017 and had been keeping an eye out for it year after year until September 202 when he finally found it. It paid off because the elk he got is the new record holder with a score of 449 4/8ths!

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World Record for Largest Non-Typical Elk (any means)

The Boone & Crockett club shares the story of an elk named “Spider Bull”. This was a legendary elk that many had heard of and wished they could land, but it wasn’t until 2008 that someone finally got the bull. A hunter named Denny Austad went to extreme measures to get this bull, he bought a six-figure government tag and hired a professional guide to track the bull. After a second hunting trip, Austad was able to get within 180 yards and nailed the shot. When the elk was officially measured it did not disappoint and stands as the is the largest elk in the world with a score of 478 5/8ths!

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What's the largest elk ever recorded? ›

Craig Duke with this amazing 539″ World Record Typical Bull Elk, taken with Broadmouth Canyon Ranch at out Idaho Location.

Where are the largest elk in the US? ›

Colorado Elk Population

Colorado is home to the largest elk population in the world.

What state has the largest trophy elk? ›

We know some (many) of you cherish the Roosevelt elk. And even if you haven't hunted them, I'm sure you'd love to. The state that has produced the most record Roosevelt elk (unsurprisingly) is Oregon.

Where was the biggest elk killed? ›

The Boone & Crockett Club recently certified a Rocky Mountain elk killed by an Idaho hunter in September 2008 on public land in Utah as the largest elk ever killed in the wild. The elk's antler measurements totaled 478-5⁄8 inches to overtake the old non-typical American elk record by 13 inches.

Are Roosevelt elk bigger than Rocky Mountain elk? ›

The Roosevelt elk looks somewhat different from the Rocky Mountain elk - darker in color and with slightly smaller antlers and larger bodies than the Rocky Mountain elk. A mature Roosevelt weighs between 1,000 to 1,100 pounds.

What is a 8X8 bull elk called? ›

An elk with a total of 12 antler points (6x6) is called a ''royal" bull; one with 14 points (7X7) is an "imperial" and one with 16 points (8X8) is a monarch. Raghorns and cows fill more freezers and save wall space.

Where is the best elk hunting in the world? ›

Many public areas offer plenty of room for both elk and the hunters who roam for them.
  • Idaho – St. ...
  • Wyoming – Bridger-Teton National Forest. ...
  • Wyoming – Shoshone National Forest. ...
  • Arizona – Coconino National Forest. ...
  • Washington Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. ...
  • Utah – Ashley National Forest.
3 Oct 2019

Where is the elk hunting capital of the world? ›

Craig Colorado is well known as “The Elk Hunting Capital of the World.” With a herd of elk numbering over 25,000, it's hard to argue with that. Our ranch, which is located 15 miles north of Craig and runs west to just north of the town of Maybell, is located in one of the largest elk migration corridors in the world.

What is the easiest state to hunt elk? ›

Colorado is often at the top of the list for beginner elk hunters. The state has more elk than any other, with more than 280,000 animals. Colorado sells either sex and cow-only archery tags over the counter. For rifle hunters, bull tags can be purchased over the counter for the state's second and third rifle seasons.

What national park has the most elk? ›

More than 30,000 elk from 7-8 different herds summer in Yellowstone and approximately 15,000 to 22,000 winter in the park.

Where is the biggest herd of elk? ›

Colorado boasts the largest elk herd in North America, a number that has soared over the 300,000 mark in recent years. That number is probably not sustainable and can produce severe negative impacts on the elk and their habitat.

Has an elk killed a human? ›

So far, all of the documented physical elk-human encounters we could find (excluding those that involve vehicles traveling at high speeds) have yielded only injuries, not death. But make no mistake, these beasts are more than capable of it, given the perfect—or, rather, imperfect—scenario.

What is the biggest deer ever killed in the United States? ›

James (Jim) Jordan was a 22-year-old hunter from Burnett County, Wisconsin when he shot the record buck on November 20, 1914. The Jordan Buck measures 206 1/8 net typical points under the Boone and Crockett Club scoring system.

How far can an elk smell a human? ›

With a wind current travelling in their favor, elk have been known to detect odor from well over 600 yards away. The elk's longish dark brown snout is capped by a large black nose that is kept glistening wet by constant licking with the tongue.

How big is a 360 bull elk? ›

Average measurements
320-330" bull37"14" x 5 x 2
340-350" bull38"15" x 5 x 2
360-370" bull39"16" x 5 x 2
380-390" bull40"18" x 5 x 2
3 more rows
3 Sept 2015

Does Arizona have big elk? ›

One of truly majestic creatures of the American West is the Elk. Weighing up to 700lbs, these powerful deer roam all around the mountains, presenting a wonderful sight to see. Greer, Arizona actually happens to house the largest elk population in Arizona.

What is a 7 point bull elk called? ›


If a bull has six tines, it is called a Royal; seven, an Imperial; eight, a Monarch.

What is a 12 point elk? ›

This 12 point bull elk, referred to as a Royal, put on a spectacular show. Bull elk of this size and points are typically 9.5 to 12.5 years in age and are commonly seen in Evergreen during the Fall.

What is a female elk call called? ›

With the arrival of fall comes the elk rut. During this time, male elk (called bulls) compete for females (called cows) by fighting with their antlers and making a loud wailing bugle.

What is more than one elk called? ›

The plural of elk (common noun) is either elk or elks, the plural of Elk (proper noun) is Elks.

What is the highest state for hunting? ›

1. Alaska. If you're already a hunter, this choice needs no explanation. It's the Jurassic Park of big game hunting.

What states do not have elk? ›

19 U.S. states that do not have Elk populations:
  • Alabama – extirpated since the early 1800s.
  • Connecticut – extirpated by mid 1700s to early 1800s.
  • Delaware – only evidence of elk in this state is prehistoric.
  • Georgia – it is debated whether there were ever elk in Georgia.
  • Hawaii – there have never been elk on Hawaii.

What is the best month to hunt elk? ›

Time of Year: Although slightly affected by elevation and latitude, peak rut season tends to fall near the first day of fall and runs through the first half of October. This is the best time of year to plan your hunt if you hope to take home a trophy bull.

How much does it cost to hunt elk in Montana? ›

Rifle Hunts
Elk – 6 Day Hunt (very difficult draw)$5,750
Antelope – 3 Day Hunt$2,500
Big Horn Sheep – 6 Day HuntCall for Pricing
Cow Elk – 2 Day Hunt$2,000
Cow Elk added to Mule Deer Hunt$750
1 more row

Where does Joe Rogan hunt elk? ›

Under Armour Ridge Reaper film: Cameron Hanes and Joe Rogan experience the elk rut like never before on an archery hunt in the mountains of Utah.

Why are there no elk in the East? ›

The eastern elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis) is an extinct subspecies or distinct population of elk that inhabited the northern and eastern United States, and southern Canada. The last eastern elk was shot in Pennsylvania on September 1, 1877.

What unit in Colorado has the biggest elk? ›

Ask any elk hunter worth his weight in lead what the top hunting units are in Colorado, and GMUs 1, 2, 10 and 201 in the far northwest corner of the state rise to the top of the list like smoke from a muzzleloader. Bulls in the 300-plus size are common and elk tend to stay put over the seasons.

Where is the best place to hunt in the world? ›

Ten of the world's best hunting destinations
  • Alaska. The “Last Frontier” of raw wilderness, Alaska offers so many options for hunters, which is possibly why I've hunted there 19 times. ...
  • Canada's Yukon. ...
  • Tanzania. ...
  • Namibia. ...
  • Mongolia. ...
  • Australia's Northern Territory. ...
  • New Zealand. ...
  • Scotland.
9 Sept 2019

How much meat do you get from a 500 pound elk? ›

Assuming we have have a bull elk down that weighs 500 pounds field dressed and we set to work and de-bone all the meat, yielding 250 lbs of meat an allowing about 40 lbs for his head. It will take 3 trips at 97 lbs per trip, 4 trips at 73 lbs per trip and 5 trips at 58 lbs per trip.

What state has the highest success rate for elk hunting? ›

Wyoming comes out on top with a five year average of 18.4 hunting days per elk harvested. Utah is in 2nd place with 20.3 days per elk harvest.
Table 5. Elk Hunter Effort to Elk Harvest in 6 Western States 2012 – 2017.
5 more columns

How much does it cost to buy a live elk? ›

Making a Profit: Elk Economics
Spike (immature) bulls$500 to $700
Bulls$1,000 to $1,100
Royal bullsUp to $1,900
4 Jun 2012

Why are elk disappearing in Yellowstone? ›

Severe droughts since 2000, possibly correlated with climate change, reduced grass production in the areas of the park where elk migrate in the summer.

What eats elk Yellowstone? ›

As Yellowstone's most abundant ungulate, elk comprise approximately 85% of winter wolf kills and are an important food for bears, mountain lions, and at least 12 scavenger species, including bald eagles and coyotes.

Can you hunt elk in Yellowstone? ›

A variety of big game are available in Yellowstone Country. Elk, moose, black bear, bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and white tail deer are all possibilities. Prior to your hunt, you'll need a Montana and/or Wyoming hunting license and a tag.

Are there elk in Florida? ›

Even though there are no wild, free-ranging elk in Florida, volunteers, like those in other states, raise funds to support RMEF's mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

What animal kills the most humans in us? ›

Sharks strike fear in beachgoers, bears are the bane of campers and snakes rattle the nerves of gardeners. But our fears appear misplaced. Stanford University researchers say the animals who most kill Americans are farm animals; hornets, bees and wasps; followed by dogs. That's bites, kicks and stings.

What states have the largest elk population? ›

Today, Colorado has the largest herd in the United States, about 300,000 animals. Elk in Montana, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming number between 100,000 and 150,000. New Mexico, Utah and Washington have 50,000 to 80,000 elk, and Arizona, Nevada, California and Kentucky have 10,000 to 25,000 elk. Wait, Kentucky?

How smart is an elk? ›

Research from BYU wildlife sciences professors finds that at the beginning of hunting season, elk in Utah are smart enough to move off of public lands (where they can be hunted) and on to private lands where they cannot. And then, when hunting season is over, they shift right back to public lands.

What state kills the most deer? ›

Delaware increased its buck harvest by the greatest percentage of any state with 57%, and Delaware also took over the top spot in buck harvest per square mile, at 3.9. Mississippi killed the most bucks per 100 hunters at 74.

What state has the most deer killed? ›

Hunting the 3 States with the Most Deer
  • Texas is home to more whitetails than any other state. Image by Russell Graves. Texas. ...
  • Wisconsin is home to a very large deer herd. Image by Critterbiz. Wisconsin. ...
  • Pennsylvania has a large whitetail herd, but it's needed to support the massive number of hunters. Image by Tom Reichner.
6 Sept 2022

What is the biggest 8 point buck ever killed? ›

The current world-record typical 8 is 180-3/8 inches. To view a photo of Sanders with the deer, click on this link. This photo began circulating on the Internet earlier this year. — Did you kill a buck last year that you want to mount on a plaque?

Do elk like humans? ›

A new study has shown that elk become more fearful when people are around because they perceive humans as predators. The scientists published their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

Can deer smell human urination? ›

Yes, deer are attracted to the odor of urine. Not just that from does in estrous, but also urine from other mammals – even you – in the fall. Biologists have told me that mammal urine is socially interesting to deer, and other mammals, but not distinguishable among species or even gender.

Can deer smell your breath? ›

Scent compounds also come from the human body itself when it breaks down molecules to make energy. The odors are emitted through the skin and breath. These substances — the VOCs — evaporate into the air and can spook deer when you're hunting.

How big is the world record bull elk? ›

Looking at the high-fence record book, the biggest bull killed with a rifle was harvested from Bull Basin Ranch in Gunnison, Colorado, in 2020. It scored 648 and 2/8.

Do elk get bigger than 6x6? ›

Counting Points—Most mature bull elk are 6x6s.

What is the biggest deer antlers ever recorded? ›

The antlers of the prehistoric deer Megaloceros giganteus inspire awe and bemusement in equal measure. They were the largest the world has ever known — up to 12 feet wide and five feet high — atop the head of a creature otherwise no taller than a modern moose.

How big was the biggest buck ever shot? ›

James (Jim) Jordan was a 22-year-old hunter from Burnett County, Wisconsin when he shot the record buck on November 20, 1914. The Jordan Buck measures 206 1/8 net typical points under the Boone and Crockett Club scoring system.

Where is the largest elk herd in the world? ›

At over 280,000 animals, Colorado's elk population is the largest in the world.

What is bigger than an elk? ›

Moose are the largest, weighing in at 840-1500 pounds on average and often seem to be about the size of a horse. They have distinctive antlers – where deer and elk antlers are spindly a moose's antlers are broad.

How old is a 7 point elk? ›

Bull elk start antler growth as yearlings, usually with a single point roughly a foot long called a "spike." By the age of 6 or 7, a healthy bull can start carrying around a good-size rack, usually with six prominent points on each side.

What size is the rifle the best for elk? ›


30-calibers hit harder than 7mms, but with heavier bullets the fast 7mms are more than adequate for any and all elk hunting. The 7mm Rem Mag is certainly adequate for any elk, especially with heavier bullets.

What is the biggest deer on the planet? ›

The largest deer on earth is the moose (referred to as elk in Europe). Moose are enormous, featuring broad, open-palmed antlers with points extending beyond the “palm.” The largest ever recorded moose weighed 1,808 lbs! Unlike most deer species, moose are largely solitary, except during the mating season.

How big was Goliath the buck? ›

Goliath weighs an estimated 375 pounds, and even at age 2 1/2 he was not dragged off our farm by one person. Also, there were four years -- from October 20, 1999, to July 30, 2003 -- when his offspring and semen may have been sold without our knowledge or consent.

What is the oldest deer in the world? ›

The oldest deer ever recorded was Bambi, a hand-reared Scottish red deer (Cervus elaphus) owned by the Fraser family from Kiltarlity in Beauly, Highland, UK. Bambi was born on 8 June 1963 and died on 20 January 1995 at the age of 31 years 226 days.

Which state has the largest deer? ›

#1 – Wisconsin

This shows the quality of deer management across the entire state. The book also features stories and color photos of 37 record whitetails taken in the 21st Century, including Adam L.

What is the biggest farm raised deer? ›

What may be the biggest whitetail deer ever harvested by a hunter was taken August 25 at the Apple Creek Whitetail Ranch in Gillett, Wisconsin. The 4 1/2-year-old buck was shot by Apple Creek's owner, Scott Follett, and green scored 547 inches.


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