Pope and Young Club

by Kevin Paulson

Pope and Young ClubFor 53 years, the Pope and Young Club has grown to become the leading organization in North America promoting bowhunting and sound wildlife conservation. The organization modeled after the Boone and Crockett club and founded in 1961 as a nonprofit scientific record keeping organization advocates for and encourages responsible bowhunting by promoting quality of animals, wise use of our natural resources, fair chase hunting and sound conservation practices.

Pope and Young was named after Pioneer bowhunters Dr. Saxton Pope and Arthur Young who drew national attention to the challenge of bowhunting.  Through the Pope and Young records program the club encourages quality bowhunting by awaiting interest in outstanding specimens of North American big game animals taken with a bow and arrow.  The ongoing recording and biennial presentations to honor the quality of each species helps to promote the ideals of fair chase hunting.  Through the P&Y Club’s conservation program members work to protect and promote wildlife, work tirelessly for wildlife conservation programs and stand as the beacon to promote bowhunting and our fair chase heritage.

In the joy of hunting is intimately woven the love of the great outdoors. The beauty of the woods, valleys, mountains, and skies feeds the soul of the sportsman where the quest of game whets only his appetite. After all, it is not the killing that brings satisfaction; it is the contest of skill and cunning. The true hunter counts his achievement in proportion to the effort involved and the fairness of the sport. -Dr. Saxton Pope, 1923
His words still resonate today with bowhunters throughout our nation. 

Through the Club’s Conservation Program, members lead others to participate in protecting and promoting wildlife, wildlife conservation, and bowhunting/outdoor heritage.

This year the Pope and Young Club announce through a vote by it’s Board of Directors that standard lighted nocks and bow-mounted cameras will be exempted from the “No electronics attached to the bow or arrow” rule.  Jim Willems, President of Pope & Young Club stated, “I was pleased to see such a large percentage of our voting members chose to change our by-laws to allow lighted nocks and bow mounted cameras. It is generally accepted that such equipment does not aid in harvesting an animal and can actually enhance the overall hunting experience. It’s good to get the issue behind us and move on to other important matters.”

Fair Chase bowhunting is at the top of the list for the Pope and Young Club. Recently the Club’s membership voted to allow lighted nocks and bow mounted recording devices, changing a longstanding rule of no bow mounted electronic devices for an entry into the Club’s Records Program,” says Ed Fanchin, Records Chairman for the Pope & Young Club. “This rule change does not in any way change the definition of Fair Chase bowhunting, nor does it assist the bowhunter with taking an animal. The integrity of the Records Program must always be maintained and is not compromised with this rule change. The Pope and Young Club has a responsibility to protect the primitive aspects of bowhunting and at the same time we must also embrace change.”

This change will officially go into effect on August 1, 2014, as new Fair Chase Affidavits are created and distributed to our corps of volunteer official measurers. The change IS RETROACTIVE — meaning that animals previously taken, as well as those taken from this point forward, will now be eligible to be entered into the Records, provided they meet all other conditions/criteria.

I am incredibly excited to see these changes come about as my own pursuit for a P&Y class buck continues this year with trips to Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and Manitoba planned.    The entry system for P&Y is pretty straight forward and each animal must be measured and registered.  I have a single bear skull from a few years ago that I am excited to get measured and entered into the book and I look forward to finding that first big Western Whitetail that I can get entered into the book.

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