The Boone and Crockett Club has reinforced its heritage as a conservation organization by banning the use of its name and scoring system for captive deer and elk advertised for or killed in canned hunts.
It's the right call for the club and an important step to separate trophy, free-ranging big-game animals taken by hunters under fair-chase conditions from captive animals manipulated to grow large antlers and shot in a controlled, captive environment.
Some canned-hunt operators advertise the size of the antlers their animals produce by using the B&C scoring system, even though captive animals are ineligible for Boone and Crockett's record books and have never been allowed into them.
B&C's new policy states: "The Boone and Crockett Club scoring system exists to document the successful conservation of wild game animals in North America. The Boone and Crockett Club objects to and rejects any use of or reference to the Boone and Crockett Club or its scoring system in connection with antlers/horns grown by animals in captivity."
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B&C president William Demmer added, "with the growth of the deer breeding and shooting industry, and modern marketing and selling of 'shooter bucks' raised in captivity and graded and sold using B&C scores, it was time to make this unauthorized uses of our scoring system more widely known."
The club's records program was established in 1906 as a way of detailing species once thought headed for extinction. The B&C scoring system is used to collect data on free-ranging big game. Biologists compare and contrast records to improve local management strategies as well as state and federal wildlife policies.
"To maintain the purity of this dataset, and to ensure its usefulness for conservation professionals, the club has always excluded farm-raised big game from its records program. Including unnaturally produced or genetically manipulated specimens would taint one of the longest running conservation programs in existence," said Demmer.
The club supports use of scientifically guided wildlife management techniques to enhance or restore big-game populations and other species at risk. However, the club condemns artificial enhancement of a species' genetic characteristics for the sole purpose of producing abnormally large antlers to increase commercial value.
For nearly 100 years Boone and Crockett record books and B&C score has been considered the gold standard for evaluating and verifying the trophy quantity of wild, native North American big game taken under fair chase conditions.
Through its official resolution, the club reaffirms that no one is authorized to exploit this standard by using the B&C scoring system, name or logo in connection with captive animals. The club strictly opposes any attempt to legitimize the trophy quality of pen-raised animals or put and take shooting operations by associating either with the Boone and Crockett Club.