Record Keeping | Measurements | Score Sheets | Methods of Collection | Hunting Awards | Trophy Classes
Record Keeping Philosophies
Before a discussion is begun entertaining the philosophies dealing with the keeping of trophy records, it seems elementary to first examine the very nature of the word "trophy", its origin and true meaning. "Trophy" is the Anglicization of the Greek term tropion. The precise meaning of this word is "a monument of the hunt", neither quality non quantity implied. Under this definition then, "trophy" is defined as that part of the animal retained by the hunter as a memento of the hunt. For the purposes of record keeping under the Burkett philosophy, trophies are more strictly defined in the traditional sense as antlers, horns, tusks, skins and skulls of the non-adorned species.
At some point in the early evolution of man, tribal members undoubtedly began to retain "trophies" from their kills as symbols of their hunting prowess. Logically, these trophies were probably the parts of the animal that could not be eaten or otherwise put to good use, that is, the antlers, horns and tusks. With certainty, this practice through the generations became a tradition, the tradition that remains today.
As civilization advanced to the point where the instruments of paper and pen were available to record the events of history, the earliest forms of trophy records keeping found their beginning. In many of the earliest writings about the lives of men, it is often reported that one individual or another killed a "stag" with so many points, or a lion, or a boar, that is weighed so many stones. These were the earliest forms of trophy evaluation and recordation. Finally, it was conceived that these trophy records should be compiled into tabular form and in the later part of the 19th century; several of these "record books" were published. With the concept of compiling and publishing records came an equal number of records keeping philosophies. All were different and varied in complexity from the very simple to the very complicated. Some were relatively objective, others were highly subjective. All systems, though, had two things in common, each addressed the question of relative trophy size and none addressed the biological facts relative to the trophy itself.
To date, literally thousands of philosophies have been developed and are used today. Hardly a town in any major hunting area in the world is without its local "big buck" contest. Of all these philosophies, none are sciences except the Burkett system of trophy evaluation which uses the science of TROPAEOLOGY. When Tropaeology, the science that deals with the measurement of game trophies, began to evolve, a whole new philosophy of trophy game record keeping evolved with it. As is the case with all true sciences, a new vocabulary with strict definitions was established, instruments were developed that were peculiar to trophy evaluation, and an entirely new set of criteria was founded to evaluate all game trophies. In short, Tropaeology is a very logical, scientific and totally objective approach to a very complex problem. The result is a UNIVERSAL STANDARD on which to base the evaluation of all game trophies and the relative accomplishments of the hunter who collected them. What then makes this system so different, so advanced, and so superior to all others? Three main points set it apart from all other systems. First, the system of trophy evaluation is universal in all aspects. Secondly, because the actual system that is used in trophy evaluation is based on scientific research, it is entirely objective. Thirdly, the science of Tropaeology is administered by a very elite group of individuals known as TROPAEOLOGISTS. These individuals are trained in a formal classroom program and they must successfully complete a prescribed course of study.
All antlers, horns and tusks in one form or another are composed of combinations of cylinders and cones. This system is based on geometrically calculating the volume of the antler, horn or tusk. The measurements used in these calculations determine the most accurate possible score for any antlered, horned or tusked trophy animal. In this system, each animal is measured on its own merits with no deductions for lack of symmetry, and is given full credit for the trophy status it has attained. The TGR system gives credit where credit is due.
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The TGR record keeping system is based upon the metric or decimal system of measurement. The TGR uses formulas to determine Typical and Extra-Typical trophy classes. All measurements are recorded in centimeters and tenths of centimeters. TGR believes this is an inherently more accurate system than those based upon inches or feet. By measuring to tenths of centimeters we are able to determine a more precise measurement.
Unlike other scoring systems, TGR believes there is much more to scoring an animal than just symmetry and spread. The basic founding principle of the system is that an animal should be given full credit for what it has produced.
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The Trophy Game Records scoring year is from March 1st through the last day of February in the next year. All score sheets must be submitted to the EWA/TGR office by the end of February to be considered for the annual competition.Entering trophies into the TGR records is made by way of the approved TGR score sheet for the species being entered. This score sheet must be completed and signed by both the tropaeologist and hunter. At the time a score sheet is presented to the EWA/TGR office it must be accompanied by the $40.00 registration fee and enough field photos to properly display all aspects of the trophy being presented. Score sheets will not be registered until the EWA/TGR office receives all required field photos, registration fee(s) and all information required on the score sheet. If the information is not available or if the hunter, guide, outfitter or ranch does not wish to divulge where the animal was harvested, write N/A in the appropriate blank. If they are agreeable, the ranch, outfitter and guide should be given credit for the animal(s) they have worked so hard to provide their hunter. The County and State must be noted. It is important that the correct information is recorded in the appropriate blanks and that the animal harvested be listed correctly on the form per the species designation used by the TGR. For example, simply stating that an elk is an "Elk" is not sufficient. Based upon the current designations used in the TGR record book the animal harvested should be indicated as either an Elk- Rocky Mountain, Elk-South Pacific, or Elk/Red Deer cross. You can refer to the Scoring Parameters for the correct species name to use or contact the EWA/TGR office for clarification.
Once a score sheet has been submitted it is reviewed by the members of the TGR Technical Committee who will verify its validity. Any misrepresentation will be considered falsification and will result in the entry being rejected and registration fee will not be refunded. If it is determined by review, that unethical practices are involved in any fashion with the hunt, harvest of the animal, submission of the score sheet or any other actions associated with the hunt, the committee at its discretion may take action against any or all parties involved. These actions may include, but are not limited to, censure, expulsion, removal of all entries in the record book, ban from future participation in the TGR system and/or criminal charges if they are warranted. In case of a dispute, a request for appeal should be submitted to the TGR Technical Committee chairman in writing who will arrange for a review of the score sheet, photos and all supporting data by the committee at its next scheduled meeting. Failure to submit a request for appeal in writing within 30 days of notification of original rejection will result in the loss of the right to request an appeal. The hunter making the appeal has the right to appear at the meeting while the TGR Technical Committee is reviewing the documentation. The decision of the committee at this meeting is final and will not be subject to further appeal.
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Methods of Collection
Method of collection is defined as the means by which an animal is harvested. In the TGR system, animals collected in the same manner compete within their own classification (i.e. Modern Arms compete with Modern Arms; Handgun with Handgun; Primitive Arms with Primitive Arms; Archery with Archery).
Archery includes compound bows, recurve bows, and long bows. (Note: Any animal that is hunted with a bow and fatally wounded can be dispatched by means of a modern firearm.)
Crossbow is defined as a powerful weapon composed of a bow fixed crosswise on a wooden or synthetic stock with grooves on the stock to direct the projectile, and fired by a trigger mechanism. It can be equipped with fixed or telescopic sights.
Delayed Entry includes any trophy harvested in a prior year and never entered.Handgun includes any hand held firearm with a barrel less than 16 inches in length. Examples of some of the designs are the revolver, single shot, and semi-automatics. The caliber is also immaterial.
Incidental Acquisition includes any trophy acquired through any means other than hunting in any of the preceding categories. (Found in the field, bought at a garage sale, won in a poker game, etc.)
In-Line Muzzle Loader is defined as a firearm designed to use black powder or black powder equivalent as a propellant, uses a lead round ball, conical lead bullet or sabotted bullets as projectiles, utilizes an internal ignition system, and loads from the muzzle. Open and optical sights are approved. The distinguishing characteristic is that they must load from the muzzle or the barrel and have an internal ignition system action to be considered for this category.
Modern Arms is defined as all metallic cartridge-firing rifles, whether they are bolt action, lever action, semi-automatic, drop block, rolling block, etc. These rifles utilize a self-contained metallic cartridge as a means of loading a round of ammunition. There is no distinction made between smokeless powders and black powder or black powder substitutes, historical time frame of the rifle's design or type of projectile utilized (i.e. lead vs. jacketed). The caliber is also immaterial when inclusion in the records is being considered.
Primitive Arms is defined as a firearm that does not use or shoot a center-fire cartridge (excluding rim fire), any bladed or non-projectile weapon. Note: If the weapon used falls under this category but has a category of its own, it will be listed there.
Primitive Handgun is defined as a firearm with a barrel 16 inches or less and is loaded from the muzzle or front of the cylinder with black powder or black powder equivalent as a propellant, uses a round ball, conical lead bullet, or sabotted bullet as a projectile. The ignition system will be matchlock, flintlock, or percussion cap. There will be no shoulder stock attached.
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Award plaques are offered and presented annually to hunters with entries in the top 5 of each species, Typical and Extra-Typical by each method of collection. TGR records are kept according to the species first, secondly by method of collection, then by whether a species is native or exotic to the location of harvest. Animals must be harvested and scored in the twelve-month period, March 1 to the last day of February of the competition year, to be eligible for annual awards. These awards are presented at the annual awards banquet, which is held in July. Notification to hunters of the placement of their trophies both for the annual competition and the overall placement into the record book will be mailed the first of May in the awards banquet packet. In addition to information regarding the banquet, the hunters will receive a certificate of official standing (showing placement for the year and record book) for each animal submitted.
Another type of award that TGR offers is the Trophy Slam Award(s). Trophy slams (Texas Slam, Texas Slam of Sheep, Turkey Slam, etc.) are specific animals that are grouped together showing a major achievement. These animals do not have to be harvested in the same scoring year, but must be entered into the Trophy Game Records to qualify. To verify if you qualify for one of the slams, contact the EWA/TGR office. Once verification has been made, award plaques can be offered at the next upcoming TGR banquet.
Click here for a complete list of Trophy Slams (.pdf file)
All TGR major hunting award recipients are selected on a point system and other criterion established by the TGR Technical Committee. The top scoring animal entry for each species harvested under each method of collection will be awarded 5 points, second place - 4 points, third place - 3 points, fourth place - 2 points and fifth place - 1 point. To be eligible for any Major Hunting Award, the hunter/huntress must accumulate a minimum of 11 points in the award category. All hunters that will be receiving an award, will be sent a letter from the TGR Technical Committee. This letter will not state which award they will receive but rather that the hunter has qualified and will be presented a major award from the Trophy Game Records of the World at the annual banquet.
Should a hunter/huntress enter more than one animal of the same species and each animal be taken with the same method of collection and of the same origin (native/exotic), TGR will only allow points from the highest ranking animal, method of collection and origin to be calculated towards a major hunting award.
Example: John Doe hunts in Africa and harvests three impala (where Impala are native species), one with a crossbow and two with a rifle. John’s points for his Impala (taken with a crossbow) would qualify him for the Safari Hunter of the Year award. John’s points from his highest scoring Impala (taken with a rifle) would also be calculated for the Safari Hunter of the Year award. The points from the second Impala (taken with rifle would not qualify for a major hunting award. Should John also take an Impala in Texas (where Impala are exotic) with an in-line muzzle loader, the points would not be calculated into the Safari Hunter of the Year, but could be calculated towards the Exotic Hunter of the Year award.
Only one major hunting award will be presented to an individual hunter/huntress. Should a hunter/huntress have an accumulation of points that would qualify him/her for an additional major hunting award, the next highest ranking (by points) hunter/huntress will qualify for that award.
Example: John Doe has the highest amount of accumulated points in all categories which will qualify him for the highest hunting award, the Hunter of the Year. John also has the highest amount of points in the Archery method of collection. John would only receive the major hunting award of Hunter of the Year. The second place, highest ranking hunter in the Archery method of collection would receive the Archery Hunter of the Year award.
The order in which the hunting awards will be assigned (per accumulation of points) are as follows:
(Only one major hunting award will be presented to an individual hunter/huntress)
Hunter of the Year
Huntress of the Year
Jason McCullen Memorial Youth Hunter of the Year
Amanda Graham Youth Huntress of the Year
North American Hunter of the Year
Safari Hunter of the Year
International Hunter of the Year
Exotic Hunter of the Year
Sportsman of the Year
James “Crow” Carrico Memorial Award
Archery Hunter of the Year
Crossbow Hunter of the Year
Clyde Fischer Memorial Handgun Hunter of the Year
In-Line Muzzle Loader Hunter of the Year
Modern Arms Hunter of the Year
Don Wortman Primitive Arms Hunter of the Year
Primitive Handgun Hunter of the Year
The following are the definitions for the major hunting awards.
Hunter of the Year - is awarded to the top scoring male hunter. The hunter’s choice of weapon is not considered in this category.
Huntress of the Year - is awarded to the top scoring female hunter. The hunter’s choice of weapon is not considered in this category.
Jason McCullen Memorial Youth Hunter of the Year (17 yrs. or younger) - is awarded to the top hunter 17 years of age or younger at the time of collection. The youth category does require proof of age by the copy of the hunter’s birth certificate with the first score sheet submitted. This information remains on file and need not be filed with each score sheet. The hunter’s weapon choice is not considered in this category.
Amanda Graham Youth Huntress of the Year (17 yrs. or younger) - is awarded to the top huntress 17 years of age or younger at the time of collection. The youth category does require proof of age by the copy of the hunter’s birth certificate with the first score sheet submitted. This information remains on file and need not be filed with each score sheet. The hunter’s choice of weapon is not considered in this category.
North American Hunter of the Year - includes only animals indigenous to and taken on the North American continent and hunted in areas in which they are native. The hunter’s choice of weapon is not considered in this category.
Safari Hunter of the Year - includes only animals indigenous to and taken on the African continent and hunted in areas to which they are native. The hunter’s choice of weapon is not considered in this category.
International Hunter of the Year - includes only animals taken on any and all continents except North America or Africa. The hunter’s choice of weapon is not considered in this category.
Exotic Hunter of the Year - includes only animals taken in areas in which they are not indigenous (Introduced game). The hunter’s choice of weapon is not considered in this category.
Sportsman of the Year - is awarded to the top hunter, huntress, youth hunter or youth huntress with the highest total of accummulated points regardless of category. The hunter's choice of weapon is not considered in this category.
James "Crow" Carrico Memorial award - is awarded to a special youth hunter/huntress, because of their disadvantages, that has demonstrated determination, extreme willingness for and devotion to the sport of hunting.
Awards are also presented to the top scoring hunter or huntress in each of the methods of collection, (i.e., Modern Arms Hunter of the Year, Archery Hunter of the Year, etc.) excluding Incidental Acquisition and Delayed Entry.
Additional Awards Presented by the TGR
Additional awards will be presented to honor the supporters of the TGR. These awards will be presented to the Ranch/Preserve, Outfitter, Guide and Tropaeologist that have the highest number of accumulated points in the top 5 of each species.
The awards are as follows:
Tropaeologist of the Year - based on the total number of entries scored
Ranch/Preserve of the Year - Ranch/Preserve with the highest number of accumulated points
Outfitter of the Year - Outfitter with the highest number of accumulated points
Guide of the Year - Guide with the highest number of accumulated points
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Trophy class is simply a standard of Relative Trophy Quality. The arbitrary levels that have been established by some record keeping authorities have not been indicative of relative trophy quality. In some cases the requirements have been either so high that it is nearly impossible for a trophy to be recognized for inclusion, so complicated that only a very special conformation will meet the minimum standard, or so low that anybody willing to pay can be in the book!
The world record or number one animal in each species category is designed as DIAMOND. In the GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE categories there are minimum scores that have been established for each species in each medal. For information regarding GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE minimum scores, see the Scoring Parameters.
Click here for Scoring Parameters (pdf file)
REMEMBER: FEBRUARY 28 is the end of the Competition Year. COMPLETE entries must be received by or postmarked by this date in order to be processed.