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The Nucleus Collection - Part 4 - The Old Ones

The Lord Rendlesham bison is part of the Nucleus Collection. Unfortunately, no additional information is available. The original score chart indicates it was remeasured with the new system by Grancel Fitz on May 23, 1951, with a final B&C score of 124-6/8 points. The mount now resides in the Roosevelt Cabin at the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium.

Boone and Crockett Club Member William T. Hornaday was the brainchild of the National Collection of Heads and Horns. In a letter dated March 20, 1907, Hornaday appealed to “The Sportsmen of America” to donate their best specimens to be considered for display with the “Nucleus Collection” that he, along with Madison Grant and John M. Phillips, had already pulled together.

While Hornaday’s request resulted in hundreds of initial donations, more trophies would trickle into the collection over the years. The following stories feature trophies donated to the National Collection of Heads and Horns, which are on display at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. 

Six of the big game animals currently on display in the National Collection exhibit at Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium are from that original Nucleus Collection formed over 100 years earlier.

Sign on the National Collection building at the Bronx Zoo.

They include:

  • Woodland caribou – H. Casimir de Rham
  • American elk – Colonel Archibald Rogers
  • Alaska-Yukon moose – A.S. Reed
  • Bison – Caspar Whitney
  • Musk ox – H. Casimir de Rham
  • Non-typical mule deer – Andrew Daum

In each part of this series, we'll highlight two different trophies. 

  • Part 1 - woodland caribou and American elk
  • Part 2 - Alaska-Yukon moose and bison
  • Part 3 - non-typical mule deer and musk ox
  • Part 4 -  The Old Ones....Bison, Quebec-Labrador caribou and Canada moose




Zack Elbow — Quebec-Labrador Caribou

Grancel Fitz, Sam Webb, and Millford Baker with the Elbow Quebec-Labrador caribou.

It was the summer of 1932. A quarter of the American workforce was still looking for work because of the Great Depression. Los Angeles hosted the Olympics, and Charlie Peck was aboard the Norkap II, a Norwegian sealing vessel. Along the Labrador coast, it stopped near the small village of Nain. Some passengers went fishing, others went hunting. Peck asked an Inuit hunter named Zack Elbow to guide him and fellow hunter Hoff Benjamin up a fjord that extended for 50 miles. They would camp for a few days at the head of the fjord, hoping to kill a big “tuktu” or caribou. 

B&C Score: 474-6/8 points
Hunter: Zack Elbow
Location: Nain, Labrador
Date: 1931
Donated to the National Collection of Heads and Horns by Charles R. Peck

After the two men passed on a couple of tuktu, Elbow grew annoyed. The constant buzzing in their ears from mosquitoes likely didn’t help. The bugs “were extremely bothersome,” Peck recalled. Understanding the men were after trophy antlers, Elbow knew just where to look. He took the men on a 12-mile hike to a spot where he had killed two enormous bulls the previous winter. Peck and Benjamin flipped a coin to see who would get the bigger head. Peck won, and they hauled the antlers back to the boat. Peck gave the antlers to the Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns in 1951. The head, scoring 474-6/8 points, is the largest caribou rack ever recorded.

Silas H. Witherbee — Canada moose 


This fine moose was killed by Silas H. Witherbee near Bear Lake in Quebec in 1914. For years, it hung on the walls of Camp Dudley in New York. In the early 1950s, members of the Boone and Crockett Club contacted the friends and relatives of Mr. Witherbee to try to obtain the head for the Club’s collection. Thanks to their generosity, Mr. Witherbee’s heirs agreed to donate the head in 1954. It was and still is the largest Canada moose ever to come out of Quebec. It ranks as the fourth largest Canada moose overall. 

B&C Score: 238-5/8 points
Hunter: Silas H. Witherbee
Location: Bear Lake, Quebec
Date: 1914
Donated to the National Collection of Heads and Horns by the Witherbee Family

Read more about the Club's National Collection of Heads and Horns here.


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-Theodore Roosevelt