Stewardship

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The Biggest Billies in the Book

Rocky Mountain goats are tough animals, and hunting them is no walk in the park. Their horns are incredibly hard to judge in the field. To make matters worse, hunters need a keen eye to discern nannies from billies. They live in some of the most inaccessible terrain of any North American big game animal. Even if you see a great billy, you must know that you can recover it after the shot. Every year, determined hunters venture into goat country with a coveted tag—and each one of them has the adventure of a lifetime. 


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Number 1 — NEW WORLD'S RECORD
B&C Score: 60-4/8 points 
Location: Stikine River, British Columbia
Hunter: Justin Kallusky
Year Taken: 2022

In 2022, Justin Kallusky was looking for goats in the cliffs above British Columbia’s Stikine River. He and a friend were hunting out of their backpacks and eating freeze-dried meals hoping that a little bit of life outside their comfort zone would yield a good billy. As they were glassing, Kallusky spotted a giant goat butt. The goat was bedded facing uphill and stuffed up under a rock to hide from the sun. The men waited four hours for the goat to stand up. When it did, Kallusky was confused. He couldn’t understand why the goat’s head looked so small. He aimed and pulled the trigger on his Tikka. When he walked up to the goat, Kallusky soon realized why its head looked so small. The horns were just that big

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Number 2
B&C Score: 57-4/8 points
Location: Stikine River, British Columbia
Hunter: Troy M. Sheldon
Year Taken: 2011

It was a bucket-list hunt for Troy Sheldon. Along with his hunting partner Carey Renner, the two ventured to the Stikine River in northwest British Columbia in 2011 with the help of Heidi Gutfrucht of Northwest Ranching and Outfitting. Loaded with full packs, the three hiked and scouted for nearly a week. They saw plenty of billies, but none were accessible. One morning they woke up on a drizzly, 40-degree day in hopes of making a ridge three hours away before it got too late. On the ridge, they saw a good goat, got to within 320 yards, and Sheldon’s shot connected. Back at camp, when Heidi was fleshing out the hide, she mentioned to the men that the billy might just be a record. And a record it was! Sheldon’s goat stood at the top spot for 11 years until Kallusky’s Stikine River brute eclipsed it by three inches. 

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Number 3 (tie) 
B&C Score: 56-6/8
Location: Bella Coola, British Columbia
Hunter: Gernot Wober and Lawrence Michalchuk 
Owner: Gernot Wober
Date: 1999

This hunt earned Gernot Wober the Club’s prestigious Sagamore Hill Award in 2001, and once you read about it, you’ll understand why. Wober received a phone call from his hunting partner Lawrence Michalchuk who wanted to chase goats the very next day. Wober checked in with his girlfriend, drove 500 miles to Michalchuk’s house, borrowed some gear, and headed into the Bella Coola Valley. With 60 pounds of gear each, the hunters hoped to kill a goat with a bow. They found billies, and Wober even took a couple of shots, all of which missed clean after deflecting off the foliage. While glassing, Michalchuk spotted a big billy in an inaccessible location. The men retreated to a warm shower and dry clothes for one night and returned to the valley to locate that big billy. This time, they brought along a bow and a .270, just in case. They battled slide alder and devil’s club for five hours to find the billy with giant bases. They stumbled into the goat's bedroom, and Wober took a shot with the .270. The men caped out the goat, threw some steaks on the fire, and dried out their socks. When they returned to civilization, they learned they had tied the World’s Record set in 1949. 

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Number 3 (tie) 
B&C Score: 56-6/8 points
Location: Babine Mountains, British Columbia 
Hunter: E.C. Haase 
Owner: B&C National Collection 
Year Taken: 1949

Not much is known of this hunt from over 70 years ago, but the hunt won the Club’s Sagamore Hill Award in 1949. Some of the details were recorded by Grancel and Betty Fitz in the 1964 edition of Records of North American Big Game. In it, they wrote: 

The fates also smiled on E.C. Haase, for his world-record Mountain Goat was the first he encountered on his first morning of climbing with Allen Fletcher, his guide. Packing out from Smithers, B.C., on September 15, 1949, their camp was made in the Babine Mountains. The huge solitary billy was spotted at about three hundred yards in the usual precipitous country, but it disappeared before a shot could be fired. When they saw it again, a few minutes later, the range had stretched to nearly four hundred yards, with no way to get closer. Mr. Haase, shooting prone with a .30-06, killed it with his third shot, and although it fell off the ledge and rolled down the mountain several hundred feet, it lodged in a snowbank with its horns undamaged.

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Number 5
B&C Score: 56-4/8 points
Location: Brown Mountain, Alaska 
Hunter: Harold J. Zurlo 
Year Taken: 2017

Hunts will sometimes go south, requiring a call to search and rescue. For Coast Guardsman and goat hunter Harold Zurlo, his fellow Coasties and rescue personnel from Ketchikan all pitched in to haul him out of the bush when he couldn’t get out on his own. Zurlo and a friend were hunting Revillagigedo Island in 2017. They parked at a trailhead, went for a hike, found a goat, and Zurlo shot it. By 2:45 that afternoon, they were hiking back with heavy packs when Zurlo stepped in the wrong place and went careening headfirst down a steep hillside. Luckily, the barrel of his rifle jammed into the mud and stopped him. His right ankle and knee were injured, and the men didn’t have the gear to stay the night on the mountain. He rode out in a helicopter, but his pack and goat were left behind in the bush. A good friend retrieved the goat and helped Zurlo enter the record books, despite being a little banged up. Read the full story of Harold's hunt in Boone and Crockett Club's 30th Big Game Awards book.

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The Importance of Records in Big Game Management

When you enter your trophy into the Boone and Crockett system, you aren’t just honoring the animal and its habitat. You are participating in a data collection system that started in the 1920s and was refined by Club members in 1950. Today, there are nearly 60,000 trophy records. By establishing a records database more than 70 years ago, the Boone and Crockett Club established a scientific baseline from which researchers can use to study wildlife management. If you’re still  on the fence about entering your trophy, we encourage you to read Why Should I Bother to Enter My Trophy. To the best of our ability, we ensure that the trophies entered into the records were taken in accordance with the tenets of fair chase ethics. Despite what some may think, the Boone and Crockett records are not about a name or a score in a book—because in the end, there’s so much more to the score.

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

-Theodore Roosevelt