Measuring Stick for Success

There are some hunters out there that think record keeping is simply egotistical and narcissistic. Clubs like the Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young keep copious records of meticulously scored game animals harvested by hunters. Is this simply to stroke a hunters ego? No, it's actually a measuring stick of conservation success and or failure.


Erik Van Woerkom of Muley Freak with his beautiful 2023 general season archery deer.

Erik Van Woerkom of Muley Freak with his beautiful 2023 general season archery deer.

All Records Matter

Record keeping isn’t just about the largest and greatest. Yes, those record-breaking animals matter but what also matters are the smaller individuals. A 180-inch buck coming from an area where a record has never been entered before matters just as much as a 230-incher from an area with multiple records. It tells a story, and over time the story becomes a cumulative conservation history.


A giant Arizona archery buck guided by the folks over at Shadow Valley Outfitters.

A giant Arizona archery buck guided by the folks over at Shadow Valley Outfitters.


The moral of the story is - hunters, please enter your game animals into the record books regardless of whether it is going to break or be near record-breaking. All records matter in telling our conservation history as hunters. Even for an animal to reach a minimum score for the record books, a lot of conservation pieces need to fall in place - habitat, predation, and human interactions must all be just right for them to grow to a minimum size.


Whop Our New Muley Freak UL Trekking Poles featuring strong and lightweight carbon fiber staves and extendable from 25.5" - 53"

Pope & Young

Bow hunting archery mule deer is now kicking off all throughout West. The Pope & Young Club is the premier organization for preserving, promoting, and protecting bowhunting. For over 60 years, Pope & Young has collected and kept bowhunting records and promoted conservation ethics.  

To celebrate the archery mule deer hunts that just got underway, we thought it would be interesting to search Pope & Young’s records for archery velvet mule deer over the last five years. They have an awesome online database called Trophy Search where you can filter all kinds of game animal records. We did a simple search for velvet typical mule deer and velvet non-typical mule deer over the last five years based on gross scores in some of the most popular mule deer hunting states. See the summarized data in these two tables.


2017-2021 Mule Deer Velvet Typical Gross Score Entries
2017-2021 Mule Deer Velvet Non-Typical Gross Score Entries

Make any Conclusions?

See anything surprising? As hunters, we need to make a more strategic effort in recording our harvest in the record books. Those records are our legacy.  Read here for more about entering your archery trophy and signing up for the trophy search database. The database can be filtered in all different kinds of ways. One super interesting way you can filter the database is by state and county, showing where record animals are coming from. Hunters may find this very useful in narrowing down an area to hunt.      

1 comment

  • Collin Rippey on

    What’s incredibly shocking to me is that there are zero non-typical mule deer in the state of Wyoming and New Mexico!🤯🦌
    Great article Aaron can’t wait to see y’all’s videos of this season looks like Erik had a great start!🏹🦌🇺🇸

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published