On April 10, Alberta Fish and Wildlife officer Chris Watson was on patrol with his partner in the foothills about 30 miles south of Hinton when he spotted a massive set of ram horns on the ground. According to The Edmonton Journal, the two officers were walking though a Canadian Dominion mining site when Watson picked up the horns, which are now in the running to be the world’s largest for bighorn sheep.
Boone and Crockett measurer Dean Bromberger knew from first sight that the horns were noteworthy.
“We could tell just by looking at them that this would at least be pushing a world record,” Bromberger said. “There was just so much mass. I was awestruck.”
Bromberger gave the horns an initial score of 209-1/8. That score would oust the current world record, a ram taken by hunter Guinn D. Crousen in Alberta more than 14 years ago. That bighorn scored 208-3/8.
“Many hunters are unaware that Boone and Crockett records include many found trophies,” said Richard Hale, chairman of the Club’s Big Game Records Committee. “The main reason we keep records is to document conservation success. Although they aren’t taken by hunters, found trophies are nonetheless an important gauge of outstanding habitat, strong recruitment of game animals into older age classes, sustainable harvest objectives and other elements of sound wildlife management. Picked-up trophies are an integral part of the conservation success story. Without them, the story is incomplete.”
As a matter of fact, Watson was searching for the large ram when he came upon its skull. The large, 10-year-old male was well known to Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers, who noted the animal’s disappearance in 2013. It is believed that the ram died of natural causes sometime after May of last year. The skull is currently in the possession of Alberta officials and if proven to be a new record, the horns will be entered into the Boone and Crockett Club records books on behalf of the province’s citizens.
“It was a spectacular ram,” Watson said. “I’m confident it will remain on top as the record.”
Nobody is surprised that the horns were found in the Hinton area, which has a reputation for big game. All of Boone and Crockett Club’s world records for bighorns came from Alberta, although the club notes that the population in Montana is worth keeping an eye on.
The skull itself weighs nearly 40 pounds and will now undergo a mandatory 60-day drying period. The horns will then go before the scrutiny of a special judge’s panel and be given an official score, which is expected to be announced within 90 days.
Image courtesy Boone and Crockett Club