February 06, 2023
By Lynn Burkhead
If there were ever any doubt about whether or not we’re living in the good old days of bowhunting, fresh news from the Pope and Young Club seems to erase any doubt.
That’s because of the announcement by the Club a few days ago — which will gather in Reno this spring for the 33rd Biennial Convention from April 12-15 — concerning the new updated edition of the P&Y record book, which will be available in just a few weeks.
New record book or not, there are plenty of challenges to the modern bowhunting game to be sure, from the ongoing push by anti-hunters to stop our nation’s hunting heritage to the scourge of wildlife diseases like chronic wasting disease and EHD to the push of population and urban development that gobbles up acres and acres of critical wildlife habitat to even hunter access issues on federal and state public lands.
But with those challenges duly noted — and with Pope and Young committed to fighting them now and into the future — it’s also time to celebrate what’s good, right, and noble about this ancient sport that plays out in the uplands, woodlots, deserts, and mountains of our rich landscape each year.
And that celebration includes a brand new Pope and Young Club record book that has never been bigger thanks to the updated 9th edition of the Bowhunting Big Game Records of North America. Printed every five years, the new edition of “The Book” will be available in Reno this April at the P&Y Convention along with pre-orders now being accepted online for a limited press run.
With an additional 12 new world record big game animals pending and standing in the wings as they await final panel measuring results, P&Y officials note in a press release that the brand new two-book set “…has more entries in it than any other record book in North America and features 75 new top five all time ranking trophies and 14 confirmed new world Records.”
Available for pick-up at the convention, or shipped to purchasers beginning in May, the two-volume set will have more than 1,100 pages in each book. To put that in perspective, the previous 8th edition of the record book, printed in 2017, contained 1,024 pages!
Yeah, these are the good old days of bowhunting!
With the new record book being a part of this printed celebration of bowhunting and the Pope and Young Club’s rich legacy in our timeless sport, all of the Club’s bowhunting big game records, and lots of stories by hunters that celebrate the pastime of the stick-and-string, will be included. Costing $116, the two-volume set can be pre-ordered here.
"If you are a hunter, a bowhunter, or a collector of record books, this two-book set will be like no other,” noted Tim Rozewski, the Pope and Young Club’s director of records, in the news release. “With a limited printing, this book will be hard to get. If you are a hunter and have thought about putting your trophy in the record books, now is the time to do it!"
With its recently updated mission of Preserve, Promote, and Protect Bowhunting firmly in place, the new record book is another chapter in the long and storied history of the organization.
From the Club’s humble beginnings some six decades ago when John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, the P&Y Club has helped to fuel the journeys of many Hall of Fame legends in our sport like Ishi, Dr. Saxton Pope, Art Young, Fred Bear, G. Fred Asbell, Bowhunter Magazine founder M.R. James, and the late Bowhunter Magazine editor, Dwight Schuh, to name a few.
All of the above — and many others like current Bowhunter editor Curt Wells and Bowhunter publisher Jeff Waring — are big fans of P&Y and were either instrumental in the Club’s founding during the days of the Cold War, key allies of the industry and sport as it grew and pushed forward in the ensuing decades, and big believers that the sport of bowhunting is not only a treasured pastime worth celebrating, but also a vital component to preserving our hunting heritage, conserving our wildlife habitat, and ensuring that wildlife remains a viable part of our landscape now and well into the future.
Wells, who will be a speaker at the Reno convention this spring, agreed that this is an exciting few weeks for the organization.
“Bowhunter Magazine has always been a big supporter of the Pope and Young Club, and as a long-time regular member I can confidently say it’s the finest organization any serious, dedicated bowhunter could belong to,” said Wells, only the third editor in the publication’s long and storied history.
“We’re coming up on the 33rd Biennial Convention in Reno and the Club has put together the most massive edition of their record book ever in the form of a two-book set totaling over 2,000 pages of records and other valuable, pertinent information about all 29 species of North American big game. Get your books ordered then plan to join me and hundreds of the most experienced and skilled bowhunters on the planet in Reno. If it’s your first convention, I’m betting it won’t be your last.”
That’s likely a good bet, since P&Y will have a who’s who of the sport in attendance, seminars, big game animal displays, dinners, and more. As the Club gathers, it will do so to celebrate its past, enjoy its present, and reaffirm its commitment to the future of wildlife, habitat, our nation’s hunting heritage, and the passionate pursuit of bowhunting that thrills millions of hunters every year.
It’s the Pope and Young way, after all.
"For over 60 years, Pope and Young has procured and preserved the records of bowhunting and bowhunter's greatest accomplishments," notes the Club on its website. "Under our watch these records will not be erased. Collectively, Pope and Young members will not allow our hunting privileges to be reduced or forgotten.”
The new 9th edition of the Bowhunting Big Game Records of North America is yet another brick in the Pope and Young Club’s rich history and powerful legacy of safeguarding a nation’s longstanding love for wildlife, conservation, and the pursuit of big game with old and new stick-and-strings.
May that ever be so, as long as there are bucks and bulls roaming the wilds of North America, as well as camouflaged men, women, and young people who quietly ease into those wilds with a quickening pulse, a gleam in their eye, and a bow and arrow in their hands.
Because that’s the Pope and Young way, too.
Editor’s Note: Established in 1961, the Pope and Young Club notes that it is a non-profit North American conservation and bowhunting organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of our bowhunting heritage, hunting ethics, and wildlife conservation. As noted above, the Club also maintains the universally recognized repository for the records and statistics on North American big game animals harvested with the bow and arrow. For more information on P&Y, to sign up for the Club’s newsletter, or to join the Pope and Young Club as a member, visit the Club’s website.