In August 20th’s Grow the Hunt blog posting we posed the question: What qualifies as a trophy deer? This week we are going to look into an organization that is synonymous with the term trophy deer; the Boone and Crockett Club. Many times when the words Boone and Crockett are mentioned hunters simply think of a scoring method for trophy deer. They often do not realize that the Boone and Crockett Club was a pioneer in game management practices. Here is a little history and information on how and why the current Boone and Crockett scoring method was developed.
While spending time in Montana and the Dakotas Theodore Roosevelt witnessed firsthand the near decimation of one of our nation's most valuable resources -- wildlife.
Roosevelt committed himself to restoring America’s wild lands. He pulled together a group of influential people in politics and industry to form the Boone and Crockett Club.
Over the next few decades Roosevelt worked with fellow Club members passing laws to help protect and conserve America’s wildlife and laid the foundation for one of the world's greatest conservation systems. The National Forest, the National Park, and the National Wildlife Refuge Systems exist today in large part because of the extensive efforts of the Club and its dedicated membership.
The Club created guidelines and pushed "fair chase" hunting ethics. In the late 1800s they became an integral part of the nation's conservation system. In fact many of the Club's Fair Chase statements and philosophies became the foundation for hunting and game laws that still exist to this day.
With the success of the conservation efforts and a growing interest in hunting and conservation from the public, the Boone and Crockett Club needed a way to track the success of their efforts. In the 1920s, the Club established an official measurement and scoring system for trophy big game. The measurement system was initially conceived to record species of North American big game that were thought to be vanishing. However, Club members and others in the scientific community soon recognized that the system was an effective way of tracking the success of new conservation policies.
The first formal recognition of outstanding North American big game trophies by the Boone and Crockett Club was in the 1932 records book. It involved relatively few specimens that were listed by the simple criteria of length and spread of horns, antlers or skulls. The 1932 book was followed by the 1939 records book that included informative chapters on a variety of subjects related to big game and hunting.
In 1947, the Club held its first competition for outstanding trophies, ranking them by a series of measurements that were refined in 1950 into the current trophy scoring system. Since 1947, there have been 24 Awards Programs (formerly called competitions).
Trophy entry now occurs during a three-year period, followed by the public display of the finest trophies entered in each category and an awards banquet. Presentation of Boone and Crockett Club big game medals and/or certificates recognizes trophy excellence. To be ranked as a Boone and Crockett trophy today, whitetail deer have to meet a minimum score of 160 for typical deer and 185 for non-typical.