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B&C World's Record - Jaguar

World's Record Jaguar

In the dark of night, C.J. McElroy briefly became the hunted before he made a fatal shot on the World's Record jaguar.

In 1965, C.J. McElroy returned home from the jungle of Sinaola, Mexico, with a world’s record jaguar (Felis onca) that scored 18-7/16 points. Hunting under the cover of night, McElroy adapted himself to the surroundings of this formidable predator, enduring oppressive heat, foul smelling swamps, ticks, chiggers and snakes (jaguars are regular reptile killers).


Two years after taking the trophy jaguar, McElroy gave a hair-raising account of his hunt in an article for Outdoor Life. The article reveals that, at one point during the chase, the hunter became the hunted.

“The tigre was bleeding heavily," McElroy wrote, "and his trail led us out of the grass and into thick jungle. About 100 yards farther, Hugo (a guide) made a discovery that shook us. The trail of blood circled, and we were crossing the cat’s original trail. There was some conversation in Spanish that I didn’t understand. Then Hugo looked at me grimly.

‘The tigre is behind us!’ he said.

“Hugo’s words hit me with full impact," McElroy continued. "I knew that a wounded animal considering attack often doubles back to ambush the trackers from the rear. I still was confident in my ability with a rifle, and I believed I could kill the cat quickly if I had any chance at all.”

Even though McElroy was shooting a light 100-grain bullet, his ability with a Winchester .270 saved his hide from the potentially fatal impact of the jaguar’s teeth and claws. In the end, the hunter and his guides emerged from a long night in the jungle with what they knew was a magnificent trophy.

On May 4, 1966, at the Boone and Crockett Club’s 12th Biennial Awards dinner, held at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McElroy’s jaguar was officially recognized as the best ever taken in North America. McElroy’s jaguar (estimated to have weighed 270 pounds) beat Jack Funk’s 1924 record that scored 18-5/16 points and was killed in Cibecue, Arizona.

Sadly for hunters, the joint pressures of agriculture and development drove nearly all jaguars from the United States and continue to lead to loss of habitat for the North America's largest cat.


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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt