MISSOULA, Mont.—Paul T. Deuling of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, has received the Sagamore Hill Award, the highest honor given a hunter by the Boone and Crockett Club.
Deuling received the award, named for the New York home of Theodore Roosevelt, for taking a World's Record mountain caribou in a hunt that exemplifies the sporting values that Roosevelt championed—fair chase, self-reliance, perseverance, selective hunting, and mastery of challenges.
Roosevelt founded Boone and Crockett Club in 1887 to help uphold these standards.
Deuling spotted the huge caribou during a 1988 solo hunt for Dall's sheep in the Pelly Mountains of Yukon Territory. He had backpacked six miles across two shallow valleys and a range of hills, all choked with thick, tangled brush. After setting up camp, Deuling climbed a ridge to glass for sheep when he spotted the magnificent bull with a single cow. Deuling later recounted the bull "appeared to have a black oak tree growing from its head." A meticulous stalk and 10-yard shot with his .270 ended the hunt but began a grueling five-day meat-packing ordeal that would make Deuling temporarily regret his decision to take the trophy.
Eldon Buckner, chairman of the Boone and Crockett Club's Records of North American Big Game Committee, said, "A Yukon game officer told me that Paul was the only person he knew who would have tackled that job, as the area where Paul killed his caribou is extremely tough country to get around in."
Buckner added, "Along with being a hunter of the highest ethics, Paul also is an extremely modest man. It’s a story in itself, but he was finally persuaded to strip the hardened velvet from the antlers and have the caribou measured."
When Deuling took his trophy to a Boone and Crockett Club official measurer to tape the antlers, they scored 459-3/8—more than 7 inches larger than the next largest mountain caribou in the Club’s records book.
For all potential new World's Records, the Club requires score verification by a Boone and Crockett judges panel. However, years passed before Deuling shipped the antlers to complete this process. His trophy was included in a special public exhibition held in June as part of the Club's triennial 27th Big Game Awards celebration in Reno, Nev. There, a judges panel verified the final score and confirmed the trophy as a new World’s Record, and Deuling was honored with the Sagamore Hill Award.
The award was created in 1948 in memory of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., and Kermit Roosevelt to honor outstanding trophies worthy of great distinction. Only one award may be given in any three-year period, but the actual frequency has been even less often. Deuling is only the 17th recipient of a Sagamore Hill Award.