Yukon Fish and Game Association members pose with their racks
It has long been accepted that the tallest of tales reside in areas where fishing and hunting abound. It’s hard to say what exactly it is about the pristine waters of a prime fishing hole or a swamp at rut, but it seems that these climates, more than anywhere else in the world, are the preferred habitat of the whopper.
Just this year I encountered one such tale while river hunting. One of our parties returned at dark with a nice little 20” bull in the front of the boat and the first words out of their mouths were: “But you should have seen the other one!” As the hours and beverages pass by this phantom moose grew from 40, to 50, to “60 inches. Easy!”
Local conservation groups, in an effort to prevent these yarns from taking hold north of 60, have instituted submission events where boasting rights must be earned in front of an official scorer and peers. Thanks to the efforts of conservation groups such as the Yukon Fish and Game Association (YFGA), we may be able to prevent further spread of these falsehoods.
That’s right folks! It’s that time of year again. We are rapidly approaching the YFGA Big Bull Night. A prestigious event where… actually it’s just a really good time. And there’s beer. Just sayin’.
All kidding aside, though, this is an amazing event recognizing Yukon locals for doing Yukon stuff. On Saturday, November 18, all Yukon Fish and Game members are welcome to bring their antlers, horns and skulls to be measured and scored by certified Boone and Crockett scorers.
Like all great hunting stories, no one is really quite sure just how long this event has been happening, but it’s generally thought to be at least as old as the YFGA itself. Big Bull Night and the subsequent Big Game Dinner are an amazing example of camaraderie and community in the Yukon. Local businesses sponsor the awards, locals organize the entire event, local scorers and hunting professionals donate their time and effort to actually make the event a reality.
Here’s how it works, if you are a member in good standing of the Yukon Fish and Game Association and you have had a great year in the bush, you can bring your cleaned trophy to the Mount Mcintyre Recreation Centre on November 18, between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Once there, you are welcome to get said trophy scored by certified Boone and Crockett scorers.
To participate, your membership must be at least one day older than the day you harvested your animal, and you must be hunting, unguided, on a Yukon resident license. If you feel like you have a winner, you can enter your trophy for an award at the Big Game Awards Dinner later this winter.
If your beast is already with the taxidermist, you can bring your official score card from them and submit it, as well. You also get to see your competition. The biggest moose I have ever seen not-on-the-internet was at my first Big Bull Night.
New this year, is a guess the score event. People will be invited to take their best guess at a trophy and then see it scored professionally. Jim Welsh, a HEED instructor and local awesome guy, will be there taking questions and telling stories.
This is a great night being put on by a great organization. Even if you are a non-member, or even a non-hunter, the YFGA invites you to come out and see what they’re all about. Every outdoor enthusiast in the Yukon has a place at this event. Conservation is a huge issue for a wilderness oriented community like ours. Organizations like YFGA spearhead this effort. As a non-profit group, they get their power from numbers. More members mean a bigger voice for conservation in the Yukon and hopefully the ability for us all to enjoy this beautiful place and all that it has to offer for generations more.
I’ll see you there.
Ben Keddy is an East Coast transplant swinging a hammer around the Yukon. He spends his spare time dressed as a tree trying to surprise animals, and is rarely without a can of sardines.