"From my cold, dead hands," is a phrase made popular by Charlton Heston and the NRA, but the same could be used to describe hunters' feelings about their trophies. You prepare months in advance, spend countless hours waiting, and it all comes down to that final moment.
This July, proud hunters from across the country gathered in Reno, Nev. for Boone and Crockett Club's 28th Big Game Awards. This year's awards, sponsored in part by Cabela's, established several new benchmarks that are a direct reflection of today's hunters' commitment to conservation, fair chase and the future of these traditions.
"Boone and Crockett began hosting public exhibitions of big-game trophies in 1947. But I don't think we've ever seen the hunting community more passionate about helping us deliver the message that hunting success follows conservation success — and vice versa," said Club President Bill Demmer, in a press release.
While the topic of trophies has certainly stirred a lot of controversy over the years — we've all heard PETA's anti-hunting propaganda — when it comes down to it, hunting is the reason we have so many amazing record-breaking animals year after year.
The availability of mature, male trophies today that sportsmen and sportswomen are making the Boone and Crockett record book is a testimony to successful game management. Age, quality habitat, and genetics are the three biological factors that it takes to produce a record book animal, said Keith Balfourd, Boone and Crockett's Director of Marketing.
"Age and habitat are directly related to proper management. If a particular population is being overhunted, either by man or predators, there will be few if any mature males." Balfourd goes on to note that, "If a population is left undermanaged relative to the carrying capacity of their range, habitat degradation can occur affecting the health of the wildlife living there and poor antler growth is an indicator of poor habitat quality."
We love Boone and Crockett here at Game & Fish, and really, what's not to love? Member accomplishments of Boone and Crockett Club include the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and establishment of Glacier and Denali national parks.
If you haven't checked out Boone and Crockett Country on the Sportsman Channel yet, here's a sneak peek at what you're missing.
And now, without further ado, here are monster trophies you've been waiting to see from Boone and Crockett's 28th Big Game Awards!
Hunter: AJ J. Downs
Location: San Jacinto Co., Texas
Non-Typical Coues' Whitetail
Hunter: Augustin F. Ruiz
Location: Grant Co., New Mexico
Hunter: Corey L. Skiftun
Location: Zama Lake, Alberta
Barren Ground Caribou
Hunter: Devin J. Hubble
Location: Scotty Lake, Alaska
Typical Coues' Whitetail
Hunter: Devin U. Beck
Location: Pima Co., Arizona
Hunter: Edward A. Grzesik, Sr.
Location: Schefferville, Quebec
Hunter: Guy J. Turner
Location: Big River, Alaska
Hunter: Jim Hens
Location: Gable Mt., British Columbia
Hunter: John K. Koster
Location: Summit Co., Utah
Hunter: Kevin S. Petrzilka
Location: Saunders Co., Nebraska
Hunter: Larry A. Meyer
Location: Kugluktuk, Nunavut
Hunter: Lyle R. Ferguson
Location: Dease Lake, British Columbia
Hunter: Rip Rippentrop
Location: Chouteau Co., Montana
Non-Typical Mule Deer
Hunter: Max Rasmussen
Location: Uintah Co., Utah
Hunter: Peter Kraenzlin
Location: Sam's Pond, Newfoundland
Hunter: Robert J. Condon
Location: Brooks Range, Alaska
Hunter: Robert T. Christian
Location: Monroe Co., Pennsylvania
Hunter: Steen C. Henriksen
Location: Chugach Mts., Alaska
Hunter: Stephen F. Bennett, Sr.
Location: Teton Co., Wyoming
Hunter: Steven K. Bright
Location: Coconino Co., Arizona
Alaska Brown Bear
Hunter: Thomas A. Stago
Location: Uyak Bay, Alaska
Hunter: Timothy R. Carpenter
Location: Humbolt Co., California
Central Canada Barren Ground Caribou
Hunter: Todd G. Schoepke
Location: Obstruction Rapids, Northwest Territories
New World Record Rocky Mountain Goat
Hunter: Troy M. Sheldon
Location: Stikine River, British Columbia
Hunter: Rocco Verelli
Location: Clinton Beach, British Columbia
Hunter: David E. Leport
Location: Colusa Co., California
Non-Typical Stika Blacktail
Hunter: Felix Villarma
Location: Kadin Island, Alaska
Typical Stika Blacktail
Hunter: Joe A. Cisney
Typical Mule Deer
Hunter: Lorin J. Wilkin
Location: Lincoln Co., Nevada
Hunter: Shawn R. Andres
Location: Sam's Pond, Newfoundland
Non-Typical Columbia Blacktail
Hunter: J. Nyle Stierna
Location: Powell River, British Columbia
Typical American Elk
Hunter: Dan J. Agnew
If you haven't seen what our friends over at Petersen's Hunting have put together on Boone and Crockett's 20 biggest typical whitetail, non-typical bucks, and elk check them out now!