By Mike Bodenchuk, Editor-at-Large
Though it was not harvested by a hunter, there is a new official Boone and Crockett world-record bighorn ram. The nine-year-old ram was found dead of natural causes on Wild Horse Island, a state park located in Montana’s Flathead Lake.
On Feb. 8, 2018, the ram’s score was accepted at 216-3/8. The previous record was 209-4/8. The ram had horn lengths of 48-3/8 and 49-6/8 and base circumferences of 16-3/8 and 16-4/8. As amazing as these numbers are, the third quarter circumferences are an impressive 11-2/8 and 11-4/8. The trophy sheep carried its mass throughout the horns.
Sheep from Wild Horse Island have been used to repopulate bighorn populations throughout Montana and some have been sent to Oregon and Washington. The ram was entered into the record books as a pick-up head by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department “on behalf of the citizens of Montana.”
This is the third world-record bighorn since 2001, and it is an indication of the quality of management and the restoration of sheep in the West and Canada. The B&C record-keeping system is designed to collect data on trophy-quality animals and, as such, allows the entry of pick-up heads. “The Boone and Crockett Club maintains that all trophies, both harvested by hunters and those that are found, add to the data set that helps game managers adopt successful policies to benefit big game populations of North America.”