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The Biggest Elk Kills in the Record Books [PICS]

Biggest Elk Kills elk cover photo
Featured Image via Wikimedia

These are the biggest elk kills currently entered into the Safari Club International record book.

Also known as Wapiti (Shawnee for "white rump), elk are some of the most majestic and most sought after animals in North America. Though they are not hunted as commonly as deer, many hunters dream about going on an elk hunt and filling their tag with a beautiful 6x6 elk.

Not as big as moose, elk are still gigantic animals in their own right, and a big bull can stand over five feet tall and weigh nearly 1,300 pounds.

Safari Club International recognizes three North American sub-species of elk: Tule Elk, Roosevelt Elk, and Rocky Mountain Elk.

Using the SCI measuring system, the length of the main beam of each antler is measured, along with the length of all tines, the circumference of the main beam at the smallest place between each typical tine, and the greatest inside spread of the main beams. Only tines greater than one inch long and longer than they are wide are measured. All of the measurements are added together for the final score of the elk.

Rocky Mountain Elk may be scored as typical or non-typical. When scoring as a typical elk, only the six main tines (five tines plus the main beam) may be scored for each antler. When scoring as a non-typical elk, all tines are measured and their length is added to the score. There is no differentiation between typical and non-typical Roosevelt and Tule elk, and all of their tines are measured and added to the score.

Unlike the Boone and Crockett Club, SCI does not deduct the score for non-typical points (on a typical elk) or differences in symmetry. Additionally, SCI does not measure the tip to tip spread or the greatest outside spread of an elk. For these reasons, the SCI score may be significantly different (higher or lower, depending on the animal) from the B&C score for the same animal.

SCI accepts entries taken with a rifle, archery, muzzleloader, shotgun, crossbow, and handgun. All animals that rank in the Top 20 of the SCI Record Book must be scored by a master measurer at least 60 days after the hunt.

Biggest Elk Kills Tule Elk
Image Courtesy of SCI

Tule Elk

Tule Elk are the smallest sub-species of elk in North America, both in terms of body and antler size, and typically weigh up to 550 pounds. However, this is most likely due to the poor nutrition of their habitat.

There have been reports of Tule Elk weighing upwards of 800 pounds in areas where there is plenty of food. Tule Elk only live in California.

The current #1 Tule Elk was taken by Stanford Atwood with a rifle in Solano County, California in August of 2007.

The main beams of this elk both measured over 39" along with an impressive inside spread of 45". One antler had 11 points while the other had 8. It scored a very solid 371 6/8" overall, which is a very respectable score for any elk, not to mention for the (relatively) diminutive Tule Elk.

Biggest Elk Kills Roosevelt Elk
Image Courtesy of SCI

Roosevelt Elk

Named for President Theodore Roosevelt, Roosevelt Elk are the largest bodied sub-species of elk in North America and bulls can weigh up to 1,100 pounds.

However, Roosevelt Elk were introduced to several islands in Alaska in the early 1900s, where they are reported to reach weights of up to 1,300 pounds. Roosevelt Elk currently live west of the Cascade Mountains in northern California, Oregon and Washington, as well as in British Columbia.

The current SCI #1 Roosevelt Elk was taken by Karl W. Minor, Sr. with a rifle on Vancouver Island, British Columbia in October of 1997.

This gnarly old bull was a massive 9x10 and both main beams measured over 49" long. It had a 34 2/8" inside spread and scored an impressive 427 7/8" overall.

Biggest Elk Kills rocky mountain elk typical
Image Courtesy of SCI

Rocky Mountain Elk

Rocky Mountain Elk are the most widespread sub-species of elk and have the largest antlers. With bulls weighing an average of 700 pounds, they are smaller in the body than Roosevelt Elk, but larger than Tule Elk.

Rocky Mountain Elk live in British Columbia, Alberta, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Kansas, Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma.

The Rocky Mountain Elk is the only sub-species that SCI divides into both a typical and non-typical category.

The current SCI #1 typical Rocky Mountain Elk (above) was hunted by Todd Reichert with a rifle in Socorro County, New Mexico in January of 2008.

This magnificent bull was an enormous 7x6 and, as you can see in the photo, his left antler had some very interesting palmation.

The elk's main beams measured 48" and 52" respectively. He had a excellent 47" inside spread and scored an impressive 437 5/8" overall.

Biggest Elk Kills rocky mountain elk non-typical
Image Courtesy of SCI

The current #1 SCI non-typical Rocky Mountain Elk (left) was shot by Denny Austad with a rifle near Monroe Peak, Utah in September of 2008.

This enormous old bull had a 9x14 rack with main beams measuring over 46" long. Though his inside spread was "only" 37 6/8" long, the fact that he had 23 scoreable points put him over the top with plenty of room to spare. The old bull scored an incredible 508 1/8" overall.

What is even more interesting than the staggering size of these two old bull elk, is that both of them were killed in the same year in the southwestern portion of the United States. Apparently 2007 and 2008 were great years to be hunting Rocky Mountain and Tule Elk.

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While most hunters would be have to be extremely lucky to see, much less shoot, an elk that comes anywhere near the size of the elk on this list, it's always nice to dream.

Do any of you have some cool photos of trophy elk that you'd like to share with us? We'd love to hear about it in the comment section.

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The Biggest Elk Kills in the Record Books [PICS]