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Sun. Dec. 17, 10:00 AM ET

20 Biggest Elk of All Time

One of the unique things about keeping a record book for all the biggest trophies in history is that it connects hunters’ stories from all generations. It’s no different when you sit down to open the Boone & Crockett world record book for trophy elk, which has giants from last year and last century, side by side.

It really does connect you to a different era, when Colorado miners like John Plute never thought about keeping elk antlers to hang on a wall, much less have them officially scored. It’s a good thing he went back to get the rack in 1899, since it would end up being the No. 1 typical bull elk in the world for a half-century. One can only imagine how many other world records are buried in someone’s basement or barn.

It also reminds us how things have changed, as was the case with the reigning No. 1 bull of all time, killed by Denny Austad in 2008. Austad paid $170,000 for an auctioned tag in Utah, had access to any season he wanted and hired a team of guides to track the now infamous “Spyder Bull.” It wasn’t popular with everyone in the hunting community, but it sure makes for one heck of a story.

What makes elk hunting so great are the stories we walk away with after the hunt is over. And what makes record books so great is that they capture these stories for centuries to come, often reminding us of our rich hunting heritage. So with a toast to the last 125 years of elk hunting, and a little help from our friends at B&C, we proudly bring you the 20 biggest elk of all time.

20. Lawrence Sanchez

New Mexico hunter Lawrence “Boss” Sanchez was knocking down big bull elk in the 1960s way before it was the cool thing to do. He killed this 434 3/8 B&C trophy with a 250-yard shot, earning him a spot at No. 20 on our list. One shot was all it took to down this impressive bull, which was taken in Colfax Co., N.M., in 1962.

19. Casey Brooks

Yup, you guessed it, Arizona made the list yet again. Casey Brooks struck gold in 2012 with this monster, which scored 436 1/8 B&C and was killed in Graham Co., Ariz. Brooks’ bull ranks No. 19 all time and was taken on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

On September 8, 2012, Brooks spent the whole day in pursuit of what he knew was a giant elk. With his 65-pound compound bow steadily drawn, he let an arrow fly that would seal his fate in the record books. The bull has a typical frame of 402 inches and over 34 inches of abnormal growth.

18. Dan Agnew

Dan Agnew’s guide told him they were on to a pretty decent bull, and he wasn’t kidding. In 2008, Agnew killed the No. 18 bull on our list in Columbia Co., Wash., after making an impressive 250-yard shot. The bull scored 436 4/8 B&C.

After a lengthy spot-and-stalk, Agnew and his guide scoped out a herd on a faraway hillside. Working his way through the only cover available—a lonely strip of timber—Agnew finally squeezed off a round, stopping the bull in its tracks. One more shot sealed the deal, and Agnew’s fate in B&C’s world record book.

17. Joseph Dereemer

Wyoming has produced some wonderful elk over the years, including Joseph Dereemer’s 1971 monster. Dereemer’s bull scored 439 5/8 B&C and ranks No. 17 all time. He killed it in Laramie Co., Wyo., back in the days when there were only cattle, cowboys and giant elk in the state. With his trusty .30-06, Dereemer dropped the bull and ensured his place in the B&C history books.

16. William Junell

Although it’s become nearly impossible to get an elk tag there, Arizona is the biggest B&C trophy producer on our list. Arizona has more elk on the top 20 list than any other state (seven). William Junell killed this No. 16 trophy bull in Navajo Co., Ariz., in 2008, which scored 441 3/8 B&C. In the middle of the pre-rut, with bulls active all around him, Junell killed this amazing near White Mountain.

Read more here: 20 Biggest Elk of All Time