Trophy Whitetails Up 400 Percent Over 30 Years
Trophy whitetail entries from 2011 hunting seasons are beginning to pour into Boone and Crockett Club headquarters. But while the sporting world waits to see which states are hot–or not–producers of giant bucks, North America’s overall robust trend in whitetail entries is a story for all conservationists to celebrate. B&C historical records show that trophy whitetails are up 400 percent over the past 30 years. “It’s worth remembering where America’s favorite big-game species stood not so long ago–at the brink of extinction,” said Ben Wallace, Club president. “In 1900, less than 500,000 whitetails remained. But habitat programs, research, science-based management, regulations and enforcement, all led and funded by hunters, brought this game animal back to extraordinary levels. Today there are more than 32 million whitetails!” The Boone and Crockett system of scoring big-game trophies originated in 1906 as a means of recording details on species thought to be disappearing. Over time, these records evolved as an effective way to track the success or failure of conservation efforts. As North America’s whitetail herd has grown, numbers of big bucks also have risen. For the period 1980-1985, hunters entered 617 trophy whitetails into Boone and Crockett records. For the period 2005-2010, the total jumped to 3,090, an increase of 400 percent. During this 30-year span, many states and provinces saw percentage gains much greater than the continental average (see data below). For example, trophy whitetail entries from Wisconsin have risen 857 percent. In Illinois, the increase is 896 percent. Ontario went from a single entry to a whopping 41—a 4,000 percent gain! Six states and provinces had zero entries in 1980-1985. For 2005-2010, they combined for 48. Boone and Crockett offers two premier ways to trace and detail historic conservation developments, not just with whitetails but many other species as well.