Every two years, the Pope and Young Club holds its Biennium Awards Banquet and Convention to celebrate North America’s rich bowhunting heritage. Of course, one of the highlights of the convention is the official announcement of new world records, and during last week’s 29th gathering in Pheonix, Arizona, one especially stood out.

A woodland caribou taken in 2013 by Newfoundland hunter Jeff Samson was announced as the new archery world record in its category, overtaking a record that had stood since 1966. To add to that, on Saturday Samson was bestowed the Ishi Award, the Pope and Young Club’s highest honor.

“I knew it was big when I killed it, but I didn’t think it was world-record material.” he told The Gander Beacon in 2013, adding that getting the racks measured was just to satisfy his curiosity.

Jeff Samson’s archery world record woodland caribou.
Jeff Samson’s archery world record woodland caribou.

Samson’s caribou earned a final score of 375 inches, blowing past the previous record, a 345 2/8 caribou harvested near Victoria River in Newfoundland by Dempsey Cape. Samson bagged his record near Gander during what had started off as a blueberry picking trip with his wife. While searching for berry patches, Samson spotted a massive bull caribou and later returned with his hunting equipment. The hunter told reporters that he had several close calls with the bull, but it seemed to spot him every time at 100 yards out. Finally, Samson was able to close in on the animal and down it with a single shot from 15 yards.

“(Caribou) are pretty witty and they don’t usually let you that close to them,” Samson told the CBC. “It tests your skill more. You have to judge wind conditions, your cover, how close you can get. Basically, you gotta outwit the animal to get close enough to it.”

ISHI AWARD-WINNER! Newfoundland bowhunter Jeff Samson’s magnificent woodland caribou stag earned the Pope and Young Club…

Posted by Marion Ray James on Monday, April 20, 2015

It was not long before friends commented on how large the caribou was, and urged Samson to take the rack to a measurer. He did the initial measurements himself after learning how to score antlers from a website, and what Samson found was that even with his conservative estimates, his caribou scored about 30 points above the world record. Upon receiving his application, the Pope and Young Club described the animal simply as “an extraordinary specimen of unparalleled size.”

Samson described himself as a meat hunter, and while he is honored to have a world record on his hands, he also added that the caribou was also “pretty good eatin’!”

Two other records were announced at the convention, including Brian Benyo’s desert sheep at 179 3/8 and Rodney Debias’ Grizzly Bear at 27 1/16.

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