The Pope & Young Club, a non-profit North American conservation and bowhunting organization, helps fund development of genetic markers to identify Coues’, Carmen Mountain, and other Whitetails.

As part of a larger, multi-faceted deer genetic project, Dr. David Paetkau, Renee Prive of Wildlife Genetics International (WGI) and Jim Heffelfinger, Arizona Game and Fish Department, were supported in part by the Pope & Young Club to develop a genetic test that would allow the Pope and Young Club to determine if a Coues’ deer entry is truly a Coues’ whitetail (red on map) or “other” whitetail (gray on map). During the research it was realized this was an excellent opportunity to add some Carmen Mountains whitetail samples (blue on map) and take a look at that little known whitetail subspecies as well.

“No one really thought this could be done because subspecies are poorly delineated and closely related.  However, when we distributed the call for proposals, WGI sent a proposal containing a preliminary analysis of Coues’ and non-Coues’ whitetail they had in their freezer and it looked like they had a high potential to be successful,” says Dr. David Paetkau

An example of the usefulness of this analysis came when the “Lay Buck” was tested.  Buck Buckner (Boone & Crockett Club VP of Records) became aware of a white-tailed deer skull plate and antlers that was reported to be a Coues’ whitetail.  The shape of the antlers showed many similarities to characteristics typically seen in Coues.  This buck, however, scored 145-5/8 Boone and Crockett points, which would make him the new world record, surpassing the current 144-1/8″ buck.  Two samples of bone material were carefully removed with a slow-turning drill bit and placed in a sterile container.  These samples were sent to WGI and included in the analysis.  This test showed clearly this buck is not a Coues’ whitetail.

The various parts of this overall research project have taken along time to develop and come to fruition for a variety of reasons, but efforts are now yielding results and being put into practice to help keep trophy records programs accurate.

Established in 1961, the Pope and Young Club is a non-profit North American conservation and bowhunting organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of our bowhunting heritage, hunting ethics and wildlife conservation.  The Club also maintains the universally recognized repository for the records and statistics on North American big game animals harvested with a bow and arrow.

For information on joining the Pope and Young Club, please contact:

Pope and Young Club, Box 548, Chatfield, MN 55923 • Ph: 507.867.4144 or online at

Image courtesy Pope & Young Club

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