The Boone and Crockett Club's recent 28th Big Game Awards established several new benchmarks that event organizers say are a reflection of today's hunters' commitment to conservation, fair chase and the future of these traditions.
Record numbers of exhibited trophies, attending trophy owners, youth awardees, event registrants and sponsors were among the highlights at the triennial event that concluded July 20 in Reno, Nev.
"Boone and Crockett began hosting public exhibitions of big-game trophies in 1947. But I don't think we've ever seen the hunting community more passionate about helping us deliver the message that hunting success follows conservation success--and vice versa," said Club President Bill Demmer.
The trophies honored in Reno are the latest to symbolize the success of modern wildlife conservation and management. Game herds that produce large, mature specimens reflect population health and habitat quality, coupled with beneficial selective-harvest and fair-chase ethics on the part of hunters.
Entries in Boone and Crockett trophy annals have trended upward since records-keeping began early in the 1900s as a way of detailing species once thought headed for extinction.
Demmer said, "Hunters are taking more pride in the conservation system they created. They understand the growing importance of educating the public about its historic successes and importance for the future. And they're doing everything they can to ensure that future, from participating in public exhibitions to digging into their wallets for supplemental conservation initiatives, to mentoring their kids on the principles of fair chase and instilling a hunter's knowledge and passion for the great outdoors."
Highlights from Boone and Crockett Club's 28th Big Game Awards event also included:
• Exhibition with 129 top trophies including records-book specimens taken by hunters age 16 and under
• Highest-ever participation rate among trophy owners in a three-year awards period
• Notable new trophies and trophy owners in attendance:
New World's Record Rocky Mountain goat (57-4/8 from British Columbia) and hunter Troy M. Sheldon
Nebraska state record typical whitetail deer (198-2/8) and hunter Kevin S. Petrzilka
Nebraska state record non-typical whitetail deer (284) taken by Westley O'Brien
No. 5 typical mule deer for North Dakota (192-4/8) and hunter Tyson C. Schwab
No. 1 hunter-taken black bear (23-9/16 from Pennsylvania) and hunter Robert T. Christian
No. 15 all-time typical American elk (413-1/8 from Utah) and owner Jesse K. Richardson
No. 2 all-time Roosevelt's elk (398-1/8 from Oregon) and owner Timothy R. Carpenter
No. 8 all-time woodland caribou (tie, 369 from Newfoundland/Labrador) and hunters Shawn R. Andres and Peter Kraenzlin
No. 2 archery Stone's sheep (179-4/8 from British Columbia) and hunter Jim Hens
No. 6 all-time Alaska-Yukon moose (250-6/8 from Alaska) and hunter Robert J. Condon
No. 4 all-time muskox (128-2/8 from Nunavut) and hunter Larry A. Meyer
• Inaugural Hunt Fair Chase Award sponsored by Hunting GPS Maps, emceed by Craig Boddington, presented to Matt "Rip" Rippentrop for his Montana bighorn sheep, 203-6/8
• Record 22 youths in attendance for the Generation Next Banquet sponsored by Leica Sport Optics and emceed by C.J. Buck
• Boone and Crockett Club board resolution re-naming the event's Generation Next Banquet after former Club president Jack Steele Parker
• Seminars by Wayne van Zwoll, Craig Boddington and Dieter Kaboth.
"Another record for us was the number of sponsors who stepped up to help the Club honor these trophies and sportsmen and women," said Boone and Crockett Director of Marketing Keith Balfourd. "These companies and organizations demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring a future for wildlife and wild places and to preserve our cherished hunting traditions. We are very pleased to have them as conservation partners."
Event sponsors included Cabela's, Aimpoint, Federal Premium Ammunition, Buck Knives, Leica Sport Optics, Boyt Harness Co., Hornady, Leupold, Realtree, Schnee's, MINOX, Wild Sheep Foundation, Dallas Safari Club, Redfield, Hunting GPS Maps, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pope and Young Club, Mule Deer Foundation and Weatherby.
In October, the Club will release its corresponding records book, "28th Big Game Awards." The newest edition in this series will feature nearly 5,000 new Boone and Crockett qualifying trophies entered and accepted during the 28th awards period (2010-2012) in 38 different categories of North American big game, from whitetail to walrus.