Pope & Young Club--records and so much more: record book animals, conservation, and good fellowship highlight Pope & Young's Biennium Convention.
The Pope and Young Club's 25'" Biennium Convention was held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in April, the first time ever in the far-eastern United States, which gave a new group of bowhunters the opportunity to discover that the Pope and Young Club is really a conservation organization that lives up to the following mission statement: To protect the future of our bowhunting heritage and promote the conservation and welfare of habitat and wildlife.
You'll notice no mention of records keeping in that statement. Yes, bowhunting records are the lifeblood of this organization, but the public, and particularly the continent's bowhunters, need to know that membership in the Pope and Young Club and entry of trophies into the record book actually support the future of the North American bowhunting heritage.
The Pope and Young Club contributes to organizations, programs, research, and youth-oriented projects. In just the last seven years, the Club's Conservation Program has awarded grants totaling more than $500,000 to conservation and prohunting projects across North America. This money went to a number of federal and state-administered big game research projects, as well as several sportsmen's watchdog groups, among them the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the North American Bowhunting Coalition.
At this year's convention, the Club highlighted two other excellent programs--the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) and Ray Howell's Kicking Bear Foundation.
NASP, which is sweeping through schools state by state across the country, has introduced thousands of youngsters to archery. In most cases, state wildlife management agencies lend support to this program, which puts bows, arrows, targets, and training into public school physical education classes. Initiated by Mathews, Inc., this program has grown strong enough to support a national tournament for young archers. Kids of all sizes and athletic abilities have excelled. Schools, teachers, and students are all excited about the NASP.
At its 2007 convention, the Club presented well-known bowhunter Ray Howell the Stewardship Award for his Kicking Bear Foundation, which mentors troubled youth. With six animals remaining, Howell walked away from his pursuit of the North American Super Slam to administer his Kicking Bear program. Just last year, he conducted 57 events across the country. After a troubled childhood in foster homes, Howell has answered the call to give something back, and archery has helped him help kids of all backgrounds learn they have value and purpose. The Kicking Bear Foundation has proved itself worthy of the Club's recognition and support.
EVEN IN THE SHADOW of these worthy efforts, the Club's signature program, records keeping, continues to flourish. During the past two-year biennium, bowhunters entered 8,354 trophies into the record book, a record number for a two-year scoring period. During almost every biennium, bowhunters enter at least one new world record into the book, and this year's biennium recognized two new world records. One was Shaun Patterson's typical Yellowstone elk, an Arizona bull scoring 412 1/8. The other was Shad Wheeler's British Columbia mountain goat scoring 53 even. That's 28-inch larger than Allen Bolen's No. 2 billy, also taken in British Columbia during this scoring period.
Bowhunters entered some impressive whitetails into the record book during the latest biennium. The top two typical whitetails both came from Ohio: Tim Reed's 7x7 scoring 198Y 3/8 and Justin Lee c Metzner's 5x7 scoring 196 6/8. Paula Wiggers entered the third largest typical whitetail, a 187 5/8 10-pointer from Kansas. Top nontypical whitetail honors went to Tim Waldron's 33-point Iowa buck scoring 2434/8 and Deb Luzinski's nontypical Minnesota 24-pointer, scoring 222 2/8.
FUNDRAISING PLAYS A HUGE ROLE in any conservation organization, and the Pope and Young Club's 8,069 members are a generous lot. This year's Conservation raffle generated more than $80,000, and the live and silent auctions at the convention brought in an additional $120,000.
Trophy entries constitute a major source of revenue for the Club's conservation programs. The recording fee for each trophy entered is $25. So you can see that entering trophy animals into the record book goes far beyond honoring the animal and seeing your name in print. It's a significant way to financially support the Pope and Young Club's conservation and prohunting efforts.
Another benefactor of the Club's fundraising efforts is the Pope and Young Museum, located in Chatfield, Minnesota. This facility houses an impressive display of artifacts, equipment, literature, and other items that tell the rich history of bowhunting in North America. Believe me, for any serious bowhunter, the P&Y Museum merits a visit. Allow yourself plenty of time.
The success of the Pope and Young Club's biennial conventions depends largely on considerable efforts of the host archery club. Kudos go out to the United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania (UBP), which orchestrated this complex event masterfully. UBP handled everything from shuttles to and from the airport to the trophy display--without perceivable glitches. Hard-working UBP volunteers did an excellent job!
Bowhunter Magazine hosted the Thursday evening welcome reception, which included a special tribute of thanks to Bowhunter Founder and current P&Y President M.R. James.
Cabela's also deserves special thanks for generously shipping trophies to Lancaster for panel measuring. Hunters only had to get their trophies to a Cabela's store, and Cabela's shipping department took it from there. Thanks, Cabela's.
At the Saturday night awards banquet, keynote speaker and accomplished traditional bowhunter Monte Browning entertained with humorous stories from his lengthy and successful bowhunting career. He also emphasized the need for all of us, and especially bowhunters, to conduct ourselves like gentlemen and ladies.
For the most part, that's what the Pope and Young Club is--a group of gentlemen and lady bowhunters--bowhunters who have the utmost respect for the game they pursue, for each other, for the bowhunting image they portray, and for the bowhunting lifestyle. These are bowhunters who've taken their personal bowhunting life to a high level and have an abiding interest in ensuring the future of bowhunting.
Do you have to be a Club member to be a respectful, gentleman bowhunter?
Of course not. But if you are such a bowhunter, you'll be among friends in the Pope and Young Club.
For more information about the Pope & Young Club, visit www.pope-young.org.