Grand slams aren't just for tennis anymore
Friday, April 24, 2009
Most knowledgeable hunters can readily define the Grand Slam—as far as wild sheep are concerned, that is—as bagging one each of the four different North American wild sheep, "all having been taken in fair chase by an individual hunter."
The four species are the Dall's, Stone's, Rocky Mountain Bighorn, and Desert Bighorn, and once again, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center can lay claim to the fact that a Grand Slam is on view in the Cody Firearms Museum.
A few years ago, the center boasted a Grand Slam in the Heads and Horns Collection it has on loan from the Boone and Crockett Club. Then, the Dall's sheep—named for William Healey Dall (1845 – 1927), a naturalist in the Pacific Northwest of America—was reclaimed and the Grand Slam was no longer.
However, on March 31 the Grand Slam is back with the addition of an extraordinary Dall's sheep specimen on loan from the Boone and Crockett Club. It was taken in 1949 by Dr. Earl J. Thee near the Moraine River in the Yukon Territory of Canada. Titled the "Thee ram," it initially appeared at the Wild Sheep Foundation Convention in early February of this year, after which it headed to Cody where the Boone and Crockett Club has its Heads and Horns collection.
According to Jack Reneau, Director of Big Game Records for Boone and Crockett, the club's National Collection of Heads and Horns was created at the Bronx Zoo in New York in 1906 to showcase those species that, at the time, many felt were in danger of extinction. The Boone and Crockett club acquired it in 1978 since it was no longer "politically correct to have hunter-taken trophies on display in a public venue."
The Dall's and Stone's sheep are typically found in Alaska and northwestern Canada. The Rocky Mountain species is located throughout the North American Rockies, and the Desert Bighorns make their home in Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, as well as Sonora, North Baja, and South Baja, Mexico.
For more information about the Cody Firearms Museum, visit www.bbhc.org/firearms.
Start any journey into the American West at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, currently operating its winter schedule, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; closed Monday through Wednesday. Beginning April 1, the center will open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Devoted to western cultural and natural history, the center is comprised of the Buffalo Bill Museum, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Plains Indian Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Draper Museum of Natural History, and McCracken Research Library. For general information, visit www.bbhc.org or call 307.587.4771.