Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

History of Big Game Records Keeping

The Boone and Crockett Club maintains the records of native North American big game as a vital conservation record in assessing the success of wildlife management programs.

The Club’s involvement with measuring trophy animals dates back to 1895. At the Sportsmen’s Exhibition in New York’s Madison Square Garden, Theodore Roosevelt and other members first began scoring North American big game. In 1902, again with TR’s leadership, Boone and Crockett created a standard scoring procedure for North American big game and organized its official scoring committee, of which TR served as a member. 

In response to public interest generated by the Club's National Collection of Heads and Horns in the 1920s, and increased interest in the recovery and conservation of big game species, the Club established an official measurement and scoring system for trophy big game. The National Collection and the measurement system were initially conceived to record species of North American big game thought to be vanishing. As our conservation efforts began to pay dividends and populations recovered so did the number of mature male specimens. Wildlife managers and others in the scientific community soon recognized that the system was an effective means of tracking the success of new conservation policies and programs.

The first formal recognition of outstanding North American big game trophies by the Boone and Crockett Club was in its 1932 records book, Records of North American Big Game. Compared to today's record books it included relatively few specimens that were listed by simple criteria of length and spread of horns, antlers or skulls. Since that first records book, the Club has published 12 additional All-time records books with the 14th Edition scheduled for release in the fall of 2017. Beginning with the 18th Big Game Awards Period the Club launched its Big Game Awards book series to complement the All-time records books. The Awards books include all the trophies entered for a three-year period along with the stories about the top trophies that were recognized at that period's Awards banquet.

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 29 Awards Programs--formerly called competitions, which now occur on a three-year basis.

1947 Competition

Trophies on display at Boone and Crockett Club's first big game competition held in 1947 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.


Thanks to the leadership and ideas of Theodore Roosevelt, and the ongoing efforts of the Boone and Crockett Club to conserve big game through the creation of laws, bag limits, policy work, and overall awareness of wildlife conservation, our North American big game populations continue to thrive.

Trophy entry now occurs during three-year periods, followed by a 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. Only the top trophies in each category are invited to Final Awards Judging and only invited trophies remeasured by the Judges Panel are eligible to receive awards.

For more information, read the complete history of the Club's Big Game Records Program and the National Collection of Heads and Horns.

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt