The National Collection of Heads and Horns, an exhibit dedicated in 1922 to "the vanishing big-game animals of the world" and helped spark America's conservation movement, is relocating to a new home in Springfield, Mo.
The collection, owned by the Boone and Crockett Club, will reside at America's Wildlife Museum and Aquarium.
Formerly known as Wonders of Wildlife, the facility is expanded, renovated and targeted for reopening in spring 2016. Located adjacent to Bass Pro Shops' flagship store, the all new, state-of-the-art showcase of hunter-and-angler led conservation is the vision of Bass Pro Shops founder and Boone and Crockett Club member Johnny Morris.
Tony Schoonen, Club chief of staff, said, "Boone and Crockett is honored to share our historic collection with what will be the most elaborate conservation education attraction in the world. Johnny's museum builds on a rich legacy of conservation and ensures that future generations will join us in sustaining wildlife and stewarding habitat."
The National Collection of Heads and Horns, housed for many years at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo., originally opened at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.
At the time, many believed that big-game species were fast tracking toward extinction. Bison, elk, white-tailed deer and others had been largely decimated by market hunting, unregulated subsistence hunting and habitat loss. Boone and Crockett Club member William T. Hornaday worked industriously to establish the collection so that future generations could see animals that had once inhabited North America.
Visitors to the exhibit were both saddened and infuriated to learn the plight of wildlife. More importantly, they were motivated to do something about it, fueling one of the most successful wildlife restoration, conservation and management stories in history.
The collection also was the genesis of Boone and Crockett's scoring system, which also originated as a way to collect details on species once thought headed for extinction.
"Now, the National Collection of Heads and Horns stands as a testament to hunters who were then, and still are today, determined to keep wildlife populations healthy across our continent. The collection is an important, historical artifact that helped shape the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation," said Schoonen.
The collection includes many fine specimens such as the L.S. Chadwick Stone's sheep, acclaimed by many as the finest specimen of North American big game ever taken. It is an outstanding collection that will give much enjoyment to the hunter and other serious students of native North American big game.
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Left to right: Jim Zumbo, Tony Schoonen, Johnny Morris, Bob Model, Rob Keck