There have been plenty of big elk taken over the last five decades, but one shot in 2016 is already being called the largest ever taken with a bow. The bull has passed its mandatory 60-day drying period and still measures an incredible 430 inches. Not only does it unofficially break the world archery record, it’s also the fourth largest bull ever scored by the Boone and Crockett Club.
Boone and Crockett and the Pope and Young Club issued a joint statement Tuesday recognizing the new bull. Steve Felix, a bowhunter and resident of Montana, took the bull on public land early in the archery season of 2016. He then brought it to the attention of B&C.
“Elk of this size are a sign that we’re doing something right out there,” said Justin Spring, B&C’s director of Big Game Records. “And the end result couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. He’s been bowhunting a lot of years and really gets the spirit of the chase, the importance of conservation, and what records keeping is all about—honoring the animal and what it took to make sure we still have elk with us, and the opportunity to see and hunt them.”
The standing archery record for typical North American elk is 412-1/8 inches, taken in Arizona in 2005. Felix’s bull easily surpasses the previous record, and comes just shy of the all-time rifle record of 442-5/8 inches. Only three bulls have ever scored higher than Felix’s, all taken with a rifle and only one since 1900.
By extension, Felix’s bull is now the de facto Montana record.
“History was made right here in Montana,” said Spring. “This is the fourth-largest bull in our records, which date back to before 1900, the largest since 1968, and the largest from the state of Montana.”
In order for the bull to be officially named Pope and Young’s new world archery record, it will have to pass a panel of P&Y and B&C scorers at the biennial Pope and Young convention. The event will be held April 5-8, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Note: This bull was first announced in a September 19, 2016, story. At that time Steve Felix had chosen to remain anonymous.