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Since 1961, the Pope and Young Club has worked to promote wildlife conservation, fair chase, and quality hunting. This week the club announced a milestone over half a century in the making: the 100,000th entry into its records program.

“We have been recording entries of mature North American big game animals taken with a bow and arrow since 1961. This is a testament to how this system has withstood time and is the universally recognized standard in record keeping,” Ed Fanchin, Records Chairman for the Pope and Young Club.

Named for famous bowhunters Dr. Saxton Pope and Arthur Young, the Club encourages sportsmen and women to honor exceptional animals by submitting them for recognition in the club’s record books. To be eligible, hunters must have harvested the animal entirely by bow and arrow in compliance with the club’s fair chase rules, and exceed minimum score requirements for that species. Perhaps the most coveted record held by the club—that for typical whitetail deer—was taken just four years after the club’s founding.

In October 1965, Mel Johnson went out into a soybean field in Peoria County, Illinois armed with a 72-pound-draw Howett recurve and harvested a buck that remains the Pope and Young world record today. It was later scored at an astounding 204 4/8. According to Deer and Deer Hunting, Johnson had seen the buck a total of three times before his harvest. Hidden by the soybean rows, the giant buck approached Johnson dead-on, eventually allowing the hunter to shoot a fiberglass arrow.

The Pope and Young Club’s record books are filled with such stories, and each entry is a testament to both the hunter’s skill and the efforts of conservationists in preserving North America’s wildlife. Perhaps more importantly, information collected by the program provides valuable data for researchers and wildlife biologists.

“Long after the memory of that animal has faded, long after the photos and mount have disintegrated to dust, that animal is being honored and remembered for posterity in the Records Program forever,” the Club states.


Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to various national publications.



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