With Arizona’s Elk and Antelope application period now open, the Western application season is upon us. While a variety of research tools lie at our finger tips, in my opinion, Boone & Crockett’s (B&C) various record books are among the best. B&C is the oldest wildlife conservation organization in North America – founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell – and has clearly established itself as the holy grail of record keeping systems.
I’m often asked if the record books are still relevant in this modern age. If you were to see my bookshelf, lined with B&C publications starting as far back as the 1988 Edition of “Records of North American Big Game”, relevancy speaks for itself. Even if your goals don’t include entering an animal into B&C, their archives are indispensable to the Western big game hunter.
Enter B&C’s latest publication: “28th Big Game Awards, 2010-2012”. This book details all North American Big Game trophies meeting the minimum awards score that were entered between January 1st, 2010 and December 31st, 2012. Every three years, I eagerly await the Awards book’s release. With a shorter frequency of publication and lower minimum score requirements than B&C’s all-time record book, I can view more entries and their subsequent details than ever before.
Jodi, in all her spousal wisdom, made sure there was a copy under the Christmas tree. When I spotted the neatly wrapped package in early December, I instantly seized it. Although I stopped short of unwrapping it, I could tell by the heft and the comparative size to my other B&C books that therein lie hours of entertainment and excitement for me. Come December 25, I was not disappointed.
The 28th edition of the Awards book lists 4,921 trophies accepted through the end of 2012. This is an all-time high in trophy entries testifying to the success of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation widely supported by B&C.
After Dedication, Forward, and Introduction, the Awards book opens with a review of the 28th Awards program and the accompanying Awards Banquet held in Reno in July, 2013 where 95 of the latest trophies were displayed and honored. The review gives highlights of the top trophies in Bear, Cougar, Elk, Deer, Moose, Caribou, Sheep, and more.
The Generation Next section that follows illustrates B&C’s forward thinking as they promote fair-chase hunting to America’s youth. The section includes essays from our up-and-coming young hunters. Kylie Sondermann’s Lander County Nevada mule deer, scoring 218-4/8th, was the one that caught my eye!
The next section, and the largest of the book, is the Award-Winning Trophy Stories from the 28th Awards Banquet. This section is where the Awards book stands above all others. No less than 95 tales of the hunts for the top North American big game trophies are told here. These include Troy Sheldon’s hunt for the New World Record Rocky Mountain Goat; Lorin J. Wilkin’s 202 4/8 net Nevada buck taken with a muzzleloader; and a one-of-a kind combo Bison/Elk hunt in Northwestern Wyoming as told by the hunter, Eugene D. Royer.
For me, the story told by 93 year-old Max Rasmussen about his 1950 mule deer hunt, complete with an era field photo, topped the list. His hunt on Utah’s Diamond Mountain in Uintah county was like time-travel back to the good ol’ days of mule deer. Max’s 260-3/8″ non-typical mule deer received the 1st place award in category at the Reno Banquet and he was there to accept.
The next section is truly the meat-n-potatoes of the book: The Tabulation of Recorded Trophies. Divided by nifty tabs- sheep, horns, caribou, moose, whitetail, mule deer elk, tusks, skulls- you can easily access all your favorite species. It’s these sections where a hunter can see the trends in trophy production across North America.
See first hand Utah’s incredible showing in the Amercian Elk category, both typical and non-typical. You’ll be shocked at the giant bull elk that Pennsylvania and even Minnesota are producing (can you say 458 4/8 inches?)
You will thoroughly enjoy Montana’s demonstration of truly giant big horn sheep and notice that one county in Idaho is still a top destination for trophy sheep hunters.
Although many people believe that mule deer are on their heels, looking at the tabulations, I’m encouraged by the number of modern entries, both typical and non-typical from all over the West. As usual, giant non-typicals can show up from the most unheard of counties and this Awards book doesn’t deviate from the trend. John Woodruff’s incredibly wide Cococino, Arizona typical mule deer is shown in the pictures in the tabulations- impressive. There are dozens of pictures of all species sprinkled throughout the tabulations. Besides final net score, the tabulations also show Gross Score, a number many hunters are interested in and B&C gladly obliged.
B&C also includes a handy Icon Legend that refers readers to field photos- both black & white and color- that are included elsewhere in the publication. It’s great to actually see some of the listed trophies in photos. Youth hunters are also denoted in the Icon Legend.
The book closes with a Trophy Field Photo section. All in stunning color, these photos give you a genuine satisfaction in the true quality of the Awards book.
At around $50, I recommend any North American Big-Game hunter get a copy of B&C’s 28th Big Game Awards Book. Available in hard cover, only 3,000 copies will be printed, (as of press time less than 500 remain!) After that, no more will be available. You can view a nifty online sample of the book, page-by-page, at B&C’s website here. You can also order your copy here.
True to the Rok Blog, we’ve paired up with B&C to give away a copy of the 28th Big Game Awards Book. B&C kindly donated a copy to be given away February 5th exclusive to Rok Blog subscribers.