Three hunters who attended the Ponoka Fish and Game annual horn measuring are eligible to have their names added to Alberta’s Record Book for antlers they took from this year’s game.
“They’re also big enough to go into Pope and Young. The reason being all three of those animals were taken with a bow,” said Ray Abt, big game chairman for Ponoka Fish and game Association.
The three record breakers were Leonard Davis, who shot a typical mule deer; Brian Walcheske, who shot a non-typical mule deer; and 20-year-old Scott Rarick, who brought in the antlers of a moose.
Rarick, who’s been going hunting with his father since he was three or four, shot the moose Sept 8.
“It was an early wake up, about 4 a.m.,” recalled Rarick. The hunting party drove to Kananaskis area and had another hour and a half horse ride to the swamp where they stopped.
“(We) had a couple of horse wrecks,” said Rarick. “It was working out to be a pretty rough start to the morning.”
Once they stopped Rarick said the just started calling for moose and the one he shot answered from about a half-mile away. “We called him into 30 yards.”
Rarick said the kill wasn’t hard; in fact it was a standard kill for a moose in rut. What was weird was that the moose was in rut at all. “That day was 28 above, and being Sept. 8 it was unusual for the moose to rut that early, and in that heat.”
“This was a really great harvest for the family, or trophy I guess,” said Rarick.
He’s been shooting a bow since he was 11 years old and trained with the Ponoka archery club. “It’s a better feeling when I shoot something with a bow than with a rifle.”
Rarick said the feeling can sometimes make him question why he bothers shooting with rifle at all.
He’s always enjoyed hunting, riding the horses in the mountains and spending time with his family outdoors. “I appreciate my dad and my uncle taking me out year after year and showing me their passion for the outdoors.”
According to Abt a big part of scoring the record-breaking sets, and other sets of antlers and horns, is by their points. The Ponoka Fish and Game Association use the Boone and Crockett system, which looks only at the animal and not the weapon.
Abt says a typical mule deer will have only four points and anything more is non-typical. A typical whitetail deer can have as many as seven points coming off the antler’s main beam.
People come from all over Canada to have their game horns and antlers scored at the annual event.
“We’ve actually had deer from Saskatchewan and British Columbia,” said Abt. Other hunters have come from as far north as the Yukon.
“At the end of it all they’ll win a knife. The largest species out of that species will win the knife,” said Abt.
At the Ponoka Fish and Game’s annual banquet, any member who had their set measured at the event could win a trophy, if their species’ set is the largest. Abt said there could be as many as four trophies are given that night: adult, junior, adult with a bow and junior with a bow.