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The Nucleus Collection - Part 3

An early view of the National Collection before the new building was contstructed in 1922.


Boone and Crockett Club Member William T. Hornaday was the brainchild of the National Collection of Heads and Horns. In a letter dated March 20, 1907, Hornaday appealed to “The Sportsmen of America” to donate their best specimens to be considered for display with the “Nucleus Collection” that he, along with Madison Grant and John M. Phillips had already pulled together.

Six of the big game animals currently on display in the National Collection exhibit at Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium are from that original Nucleus Collection formed over 100 years earlier.

Sign on the National Collection building at the Bronx Zoo.

They include:

  • Woodland caribou – H. Casimir de Rham
  • American elk – Colonel Archibald Rogers
  • Alaska-Yukon moose – A.S. Reed
  • Bison – Caspar Whitney
  • Musk ox – H. Casimir de Rham
  • Non-typical mule deer – Andrew Daum

In each part of this series, we'll highlight two different trophies. 

  • Part 1 - woodland caribou and American elk
  • Part 2 - Alaska-Yukon moose and bison
  • Part 3 - non-typical mule deer and musk ox
  • Part 4 -  The Old Ones....Bison, Quebec-Labrador caribou and Canada moose


This installment includes stories about de Rham musk ox (left) and Andrew Daum's non-typical mule deer (right).

Andrew Daum — Non-typical mule deer


This deer should be nicknamed the boomerang buck. Let us explain. Back in 1909, members of the Lawyer’s Club of New York donated the original mount to the National Collection. At the time, little was known about the buck, other than it was killed sometime before 1909. While housed at the Bronx Zoo, the head was among 12 others stolen in November 1974. 

B&C Score: 304-5/8 points
Hunter: Andrew Daum
Location: Elk Creek, Colorado
Date: 1886

Fast-forward a good 25 years. That’s when Harry Barschelet, Jr. phoned the Boone and Crockett Club to say that he might have something that once belonged to the Club. After numerous conversations and photo exchanges, he gave the buck back to the Club. According to Boone and Crockett records. Harry didn’t say where he’d found the buck. Once receiving the mount, it was re-measured. Because of an original miscalculation, it actually scored higher on the second round of measuring. In 2022, it sits at number 17 overall and fourth in Colorado.

H. Casimir de Rham — Musk ox 


East of the Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories, there is a place called the Barren Grounds. It is a place of tundra and rivers and wolves and caribou. Change of any kind keeps its distance here, which is why seeing musk ox on the horizon is like peering back tens of thousands of years. Very little is known about this musk ox that is featured in the National Collection of Heads and Horns. We do know that it was a gift from H. Casimir de Rham who was an associate founder of the Club, as well as a member of the board of managers for the New York Zoological Society. He presented it to the Club in 1910, and it hails from the Barren Grounds of the Northwest Territories. 

B&C Score: 113-2/8 points
Hunter: Unknown
Location: Barren Grounds, Northwest Territories
Date: 1910
Donated to the National Collection of Heads and Horns by Casimir de Rham

For a time, this old bull stood at the top spot in the records. Today, it sits far down the list at 153.

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

-Theodore Roosevelt