Entering your big game trophy into the Idaho Big Game Records List

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The Boone and Crockett Club, the Pope and Young Club, and the Longhunter Society each maintain lists of ‘record’ sized specimens of big game animals from across all of North America. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game maintains a record list of big game animals from Idaho.

Pope and Young recognizes big game taken with archery equipment. Longhunter Society entries are limited to big game taken by muzzleloader hunters.

Boone and Crockett Club (B&C) records, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) records, place the recognition more upon the noteworthy wildlife specimen, rather than the means by which it was obtained. B&C and IDFG accept entries of exceptional animals taken by any hunting method. In addition, both also accept specimens that are found dead and subsequently picked up when legal to do so. These mortalities can be from a wide range of causes such as road kills, winter kills, predation, falls, disease, trains, locked antlers…any of the many ways a big game animal may die.

Some Boone and Crockett entries have been recognized only after hanging in barns or homes for decades. For example, the ‘hole in the horn’ buck is one of the largest non-typical whitetail deer ever recorded. It was found dead by railroad workers along the train tracks in Portage County, Ohio in 1940. It was on the wall in a local business for 43 years before anyone decided to have it measured in 1983.

Big game record keeping organizations hold training classes to certify volunteer individuals to measure specimens. These measurers use criteria developed by the organizations to calculate an official score. Measurers are not paid and cannot charge for measuring.

Each organization has a minimum score for the species of big game animals they accept. Minimum scores for entry differ for each organization, to take into account the greater challenge of taking an animal using more primitive hunting equipment. Archery record books (published by Pope and Young) and muzzleloader record books (published by the Longhunter Society) have lower minimum scores for entry than rifle entries or picked up entries (Boone and Crockett record book and IDFG big game record list). The clubs publish record books every few years listing the entries meeting or exceeding their minimum requirements.

Specimens must air dry for 60 days at room temperature before they can be officially measured. There is some shrinkage that occurs as antlers, horns, and skulls dry out, so the 60-day requirement ensures all are measured on equal terms.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game list of noteworthy big game animals taken in Idaho is available online at fishandgame.idaho.gov. The Idaho Big Game Records list is updated every year in the month of May. Directions on how to enter a trophy are found on the same site.

Minimum scores for the Idaho Records List are posted online, by species. The minimums follow the Boone and Crockett model, as the minimums do not differ for rifle, muzzleloader, archery and picked-up antlers or horns.

To enter a trophy into the Idaho Records List, it must first be measured by an official measurer. Lists of measurers are found online, or they can be obtained by contacting any IDFG office.

Once you have a signed official score sheet that meets the minimum for the Idaho list, complete an Idaho Big Game Records Entry Form found on the IDFG website. Submit these to the IDFG at the address on the form. The annual deadline for submissions is April 1 to be included in the annual update that is done in May.

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