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Scoring Trophy Animals at Cabela's

Scoring Trophy Animals

Author: Mike Schoby

Our in house trophy measuring expert, Olivia Angelloz, tells how to go about getting an animal in the book and why it is important.

Olivia Angelloz at work.

I have heard the term "book animal" or even "booner" for years, and I thought everyone knew what it referred to. Recently, while on a deer hunt, another hunter asked me what a "book whitetail" was. I assumed he was asking what was the minimum score to make the book. After I told him, he just looked even more confused and said, "No what does the term 'book' mean?" Many people do not know this and many more that do, do not understand the reasoning behind keeping all those numbers. I decided it may be helpful to some of our readers if the mystery of the "book" was debunked a bit.

To start with, the term "book animal" refers to any game animal that makes the minimum score to qualify for a record book. What exact record book makes things a bit more complicated. There are many record keeping organizations out there. Some are local, while others span states, countries and continents. There are record books that are strictly for muzzleloaders, archery or firearms and others that have sections that cover all of these forms of hunting. Simply put, there is nothing simple about the term "book" when it is carefully examined.

That being said, Boone and Crockett, Pope and Young, Safari Club International, and Rowland Ward are currently the most recognized record keeping organizations today. All differ in scope, region and method but all have the same goal; keeping track of the largest specimens of each game species. While I know what the term book animal means, and have been fortunate enough to shoot a few, this is about where my knowledge of trophy records ends. Luckily, at Cabela's, we have an interesting diversity of employees that are experts in one outdoor field or another. Olivia Angelloz is one such person. Not only is she an accomplished international big game hunter, she has made a study out of her obsession with trophy animals. She is one of the few females to be a certified scorer of trophies by four major record keeping organizations; Rowland Ward, SCI, Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young. I decided to spend an afternoon picking her brain on the subject of trophy animals, the different organizations that keep track of them, and why it is important that hunters assist them in this goal.

Scoring trophy animals like this Mule deer is all in a day's work for Olivia.

Mike: "Many shun trophy record books because they view them as simply a bragging tool. What are your thoughts on this?"

Olivia: "It is a common misconception. A trophy keeping organization's primary goal is to monitor a species population, range and stability. By keeping records, it becomes easy to see over time, what areas produce the best animals, trends (how animals compare today to years past) and other vital population dynamics needed to successfully manage game. There are many hunters who have shot trophy animals that never have them listed as they feel they don't need to prove anything to anyone else. By listing an animal you are not "proving" anything to anyone else, but simply doing your part to help these organizations keep more accurate and complete records, which in turn helps game managers make more educated decisions with all the facts in front of them."

Mike: "If a hunter thinks he has a potential trophy animal, what should he do next?"

Olivia: "Before a hunter brings in a trophy to be scored, it is a good idea to do some initial rough measuring yourself to determine if it makes the minimum score for that species. Depending upon what species it is, there are different record keeping organizations. For all North American big game, Boone and Crockett has a category and also has printable measuring instructions on their web site. Rowland Ward primarily is concerned with African animals and SCI (Safari Club International) recognizes species worldwide. Each lists their minimum measurements."

Mike: "After it is determined that the animal is a possible trophy, what should the hunter do?"

Olivia: "The next step is to contact whichever organization you want to list your animal with. The organization will give you contact information to an official scorer in your area. Scorers are not allowed to charge for their services, but if they have to travel to your location they can charge a nominal fee for their travel expenses. In the case of SCI, they have two types of scorers; official and master. For general trophies, official scoring is all that is required. But if an animal is a top ten all time contender, it has to go through a drying period and be rescored by a master measurer."

In addition to measuring, Olivia loves to hunt big game.
Mike: "What is the main difference between the different scoring organizations?"

Olivia: "Boone and Crockett is dedicated to North American game harvested with a firearm. They do not allow any exotics or high fenced animals into their books. Pope and Young is similar to Boone and Crockett except that it is for North American game harvested with archery equipment only. They also do not allow exotics or high fenced animals in their books. SCI is a worldwide book that covers all legally huntable species in the world. They have different classifications for each species, such as rifle, handgun, archery and muzzleloader. They do allow exotics and high fenced animals in their book under a certain category as well as 'tranquilized' but not killed species such as rhino. Rowland Wards is primarily African species taken by any method."

Mike: "Are there any costs involved with entering an animal in a book?"

Olivia: "Yes, each organization has a fee involved to list an animal in their book. Since it does change periodically, hunters need to contact the individual organizations for specific prices."

Mike: "There are several organizations with overlapping areas, for example, Boone and Crockett and SCI or SCI and Rowland Ward. How does a hunter know which organization to list his or her animal with?"

Olivia: "After the basic requirements, such as means and area of hunting and species collected, if there are still multiple choices available, it really boils down to personal preference and minimums. Hunters can shoot an animal, that because of organization minimums makes only one book and not another. SCI is a good example of this. They do not have a deduction system than penalizes hunters for non-symmetrical racks such as is the case with Boone and Crockett. For example there are some mule deer that will not make the Boone and Crockett record book due to deductions, but may make the SCI book. So in some cases the choice is made for you just by the measurements of the animal. But say for example that the animal scores well enough to make any record book, a hunter could potentially enter it in all of the applicable books."

Spending some time with Cabela's in-house trophy expert, Olivia Angelloz, really cleared up how the different record keeping organizations worked, as well as why they are important to the overall management of game. I guess the only question I had left was, where do I find an animal big enough for her to score!