As the organization that was founded by Theodore Roosevelt to reverse the decline of big game populations more than a century ago and has tracked their recovery ever since, the Boone and Crockett Club today reflects on the tremendous strides that have been made in wildlife and habitat conservation over the past several decades. Its records data points to a bright future for North American big game and the sportsmen who are responsible for their abundance.
The Club recently concluded its triennial Big Game Awards, which established several new benchmarks in conservation success that the Boone and Crockett Club feels is cause for celebration.
“Impressive, remarkable and revealing,” said Boone and Crockett Club President Timothy C. Brady. “In all the years the Club has been hosting these events, the quality and quantity of the trophies that were on display, and the others taken within this awards period, were over the top and should be a measure of pride and hope for all sportsmen.”
The Club began hosting public exhibitions of big game trophies in 1947. Today these events coincide with the three-year recording period for its next records book. The theme of this year’s event was, North American Big Game, More and Healthier Than Ever, Under the Watchful Eye of Sportsmen. Within the Club’s three-year recording period (2016-2018), there were two new World’s Records and an astounding 40 new state and provincial records set from 33 categories of native North American big game.
The honorees at this event were the trophies that symbolize the success of modern wildlife conservation and management. Game herds that produce large, mature male specimens reflect population health, habitat quality and a low mortality. They are the result of the decision sportsmen made more than a century ago to conserve these precious natural resources for future generations.
Brady said, “We know this to be true because the Club was there at the beginning of the conservation movement that arose to prevent losing many of these species to extinction. After more than a century of record keeping, our data reflects the amazing recovery of game species and is positive proof that the majority of these species are doing remarkably well today.”
“With the numerous historically high ranking trophies that have been taken in just the past three years, the question we get asked the most is why so many trophies?” explained Justin Spring, the Club’s director of big game records. “Speculation ranges from more advanced technology, better hunters, older and more selective hunters, more areas managed for trophy quality, and individuals focusing on habitat improvements on their own. I would say, all could be playing a factor, but the place to start is we simply have this quality of game today to begin with.”
Spring added, “No one who attended this event thinks the hey day of big game hunting is something of the past. There is one species however we are concerned about and paying close attention to and that’s our caribou.”
Hunters led the restoration, conservation, and management practices that brought many big game species from vanishing to flourishing, and Spring expects our wildlife and science experts, with the support of sportsmen and others to do the same for caribou that are needing a helping hand today.
More information on the Boone and Crockett Club 30th Big Game Awards and a listing of the new state and provincial records visit www.biggameawards.com