Congratulations! You finally killed that trophy specimen that eluded you for many seasons and countless hunts. You made celebratory stops at your buddy's house and then the local meat processor. The taxidermist is next. But, unlike your previous hunts, this time there’s another consideration--entering your trophy into the Boone and Crockett Club's records book.
The Boone and Crockett Club records program is the only North American harvest data system that collects information on all species of free-ranging native North American big game taken in fair chase.
Getting listed in the world’s most distinguished hunting-records book involves official measuring, paperwork and a $40 processing fee, all detailed at www.boone-crockett.org, but the rewards are considerable for you personally as well as for hunting overall and the future of conservation.
Here are five reasons to enter your trophy in Boone and Crockett records:
1. Archiving Conservation History
Under the leadership of Boone and Crockett Club founder Theodore Roosevelt, the Club’s system of scoring big-game trophies originated in 1906 as a means of recording details on species thought to be disappearing due to rampant habitat loss and unregulated hunting. Science-based conservation efforts, led and funded by license-buying hunters, brought those species from vanishing to flourishing. Today, a Boone and Crockett trophy is a classic gauge of modern conservation success—and an important reminder of the ongoing need for habitat and wildlife stewardship.
2. Improving Future Management
Because they represent fully mature specimens, Boone and Crockett records are an important indicator of the age structure and breeding fitness of a herd, as well as an indicator of habitat quality. For biologists and professional wildlife managers, the presence and production of trophy animals suggests optimum overall herd health; their absence may suggest that refined management strategies are warranted. Records build a timeline of both positive and negative trends in conservation practices and are used to chart future actions.
3. Honoring the Animal
Outstanding trophies produced naturally deserve to be recorded and respected in the most prestigious annals of big game hunting. Any true hunter’s sense of pride and satisfaction will be even more fulfilling and longer lasting if his or her quarry and the place where it lived are appropriately recognized, too.
4. Discrediting Hunting’s Critics
Those who oppose hunting often claim that hunting reverses natural selection, because unlike wild predators, human hunters often seek out the largest specimens. This, according to erroneous rhetoric, will artificially stunt game populations. However, the facts speak differently. Boone and Crockett Club trophy entries have increased 400 percent over the past 30 years, which means trophy-class animals actually are more plentiful now than ever before. This single statistic is an ongoing tribute to the professionals who manage wildlife and the hunters who participate in that management. Even more important, by being the only published reference of trophies taken in fair chase, such data counters other rhetoric being spun by anti-hunters to an uninformed public that sportsmen have become just a lawless bunch of wildlife killers.
5. Establishing Official Bragging Rights
Less than one percent of all sportsmen will take a Boone and Crockett-qualifying trophy in their lifetime. An accepted entry absolutely signifies the highest accomplishment in big game hunting—the legal, ethical, fair-chase harvest of a free ranging specimen that stands as an ultimate representation of its species. World-class trophy mounts are celebrated and passed down from one generation to the next. However, always remember that, over time, the more enduring story will be less about how you harvested your trophy, and more about how that remarkable animal got there in the first place—through the efforts of sportsmen!