Just started your adventures as a deer hunter? You’re probably curious about the biggest deer ever killed. This question’s answer depends on the type of deer you’re asking about. Let’s learn about the biggest white-tailed deer, mule deer, and North American elk ever killed.
According to the Boone and Crockett Club World Records, the biggest white-tailed deer ever killed was shot in Missouri in the fall of 1981.
Why are Antlers Important?
Record keeping organizations use buck antler measurements and scoring to determine size. In other words, the buck with the largest antlers and highest score will set the record for the largest buck in its category.
What is a Non-Typical Buck?
The largest bucks tend to have the “non-typical” designation. That’s why we should talk about what that means before getting into our list of the largest deer ever killed.
A non-typical buck doesn’t have a typical rack (set of antlers). Typical antlers are symmetrical. This means that both sides of the set are identical in terms of their width, size, angle, and number of points.
Therefore, a non-typical buck’s antlers will have asymmetries between the two sides. In many cases, the largest deer are non-typical.
Why? Well, bucks need to reach a certain age to develop non-typical antlers. And older bucks are larger bucks. Experts believe this is why so many enormous bucks are non-typical.
Some experts say that bucks need to reach about 5 years old before they can start showing non-typical antler features.
The Largest White-Tailed Deer Ever Killed
Let’s learn about the largest non-typical and typical white-tailed deer ever killed, as well as the largest non-typical white-tailed deer ever “picked up.” We’ll also find out about the heaviest white-tailed deer recorded.
The Largest Non-Typical White-Tailed Deer Ever Killed
The largest non-typical white-tailed deer taken by a hunter was killed in November of 2018. The hunter, Luke Brewster, killed this buck during the local archery season in Edgar County, Illinois.
Pope and Young Club certified this buck and verified it as a record-setter. The antlers had 22 points and measured 327 and 7/8 inches (327 7/8 score). It wasn’t until February of 2019 that the buck finally got official scoring.
This deer earned the world record for the largest free-ranging non-typical whitetail deer ever killed. Experts say the buck was seven and a half years old at the time it was shot.
The Largest Non-Typical White-Tailed Buck Ever “Picked Up”
A deer is considered a “picked up” trophy if the hunter finds it already dead and didn’t shoot it.
The David Beckman buck from 1981 is the largest non-typical white-tailed deer ever officially measured and recorded. The deer was found (or “picked up”) in Missouri.
This deer’s score was 333 7/8. Its antlers are owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
No one knows the precise cause of the animal’s death. Of course, David Beckman found it.
The Largest Typical White-Tailed Buck
The largest typical white-tailed buck ever killed was taken on November 23, 1993 in Biggar, Saskatchewan. The hunter was a farmer, Milo N. Hanson. Boone and Crockett club scored this buck at 213 5/8.
Hanson spotted and shot the deer near his home. This buck beat the previous typical white-tailed buck record-holder by 7 4/8 inches, an impressive amount.
The Heaviest White-Tailed Deer
A bow-hunter called John Annett took the heaviest white-tailed deer ever killed in 1977. Authorities measured the deer on government-certified scales after field-dressing, finding it was 431 pounds.
Experts say this means we can estimate a 540-pound weight when the animal was alive.
The Largest Mule Deer Ever Killed
Let’s discover the largest non-typical and typical mule deer ever taken by a hunter.
The Largest Non-Typical Mule Deer Ever Killed
Like with other deer species, the largest mule deer are in the non-typical category. Boone and Crockett Club reports that a hunter called Ed Broder killed the biggest mule deer ever taken on November 25, 1926. This happened near Chip Lake, Alberta, Canada.
The deer earned a net score of 355 2/8. The gross score was 361 6/8.
The antler rack spread was 22 1/8 inches on the inside. There were 43 scoreable points. No one has reliable information on the animal’s age.
The Largest Typical Mule Deer Ever Killed
Colorado is known for its large mule deer. So it’s perhaps not a surprise that the largest typical mule deer ever killed was found in that state.
In 1972, hunter Doug Burris, Junior took down this animal in Dolores County. Its trophy stats show this buck scored 226 4/8.
Each side of the antlers’ main beams had an approximately 30-inch measurement. The inside spread measured 30 7/8 inches.
The left side featured five points, while the right side boasted six, but this mule deer is still considered typical rather than non-typical.
It was two years later, in 1974, when this mule deer’s record-setting size was verified in Atlanta, Georgia. This occurred at the North American Big Game Awards Program.
The Largest North American Elk Ever Killed
A full-grown adult bull elk’s average weight ranges between 661 and 771 pounds (or 300 and 350 kilograms). Some bull elk can even reach 900 or 1,000 pounds.
Below we’ll find out the record-holders for the biggest non-typical and typical elk ever taken by a hunter.
The Biggest Non-Typical Elk Ever Killed
Boone and Crockett Club reports that a hunter called Denny Austad shot the largest elk ever killed in September of 2008. The location was the state of Utah, although the hunter hailed from Idado.
The antlers achieved a spectacular measurement of 478 5/8. This was 13 inches larger than the elk that held the earlier record.
This giant elk’s antlers were unusual in that the right beam had 14 points while the left beam had nine. Overall, this elk achieved a 499 3/8 score.
The Biggest Typical Elk Ever Killed
A cattle rancher called Alonzo Winters killed the record-holding largest typical North American elk. He shot this bull with a Savage Model 99 .308 in Arizona in 1968.
Winters spotted and killed the elk beside the Black River in the White Mountains.
It was several years following the hunter’s death that the elk’s antlers finally got scored and certified. It scored 442 5/8.
Final Thoughts: Biggest Deer Ever Killed
Let’s review the record holders for the largest deer ever killed:
- Non-typical white-tailed buck: 327 7/8, killed in Edgar County, Illinois by Luke Brewster (2018)
- Typical white-tailed buck: 213 5/8, killed in Biggar, Saskatchewan by Milo N. Hanson (1993)
- Non-typical mule deer: 355 2/8, killed near Chip Lake, Alberta by Ed Broder (1926)
- Typical mule deer: 226 4/8, killed in Dolores County, Colorado (1972)
- Non-typical elk: 478 5/8, killed in Richfield, Utah by Denny Austad (2008)
- Typical elk: 442 5/8, killed in Arizona by Alonzo Winters (1968)
When it comes to white-tailed deer, we also know the heaviest specimen ever killed.
- Heaviest white-tailed deer: 540-pound estimated live weight, killed in Ontario, Canada by John Annett (1977)