World Record Sheep: The Biggest Boone & Crockett Bighorn and Stone's Sheep

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What's the toughest hunt in North America? Most of us would probably answer: sheep. If the altitude and rugged terrain don't get you, the unlikely odds of drawing a tag and the expense of the hunt probably will. But, as these hunters have proven, it's not impossible. To celebrate sheep hunting at its best, we take a look at the biggest bighorn sheep and Stone's sheep to ever be recorded by the Boone & Crockett Club. All photos: Boone & Crockett Club
#1 Bighorn
Hunter: Guinn D. Crousen
Score: 208 3/8
Year: 2000
State: Luscar Mt., AB Nowadays, the vast majority of bighorn hunters wait a lifetime for their shot at hunting a massive ram. Pulling the coveted tag is akin to winning the lottery. Unless, of course, you've already won the proverbial lottery and can afford to buy yourself a tag for $200,000, which is how Guinn Crousen came about his world record sheep. Don't stop reading just because he had to pay six figures and hire at least three guides to put him on the world record ram that happened to live on a mine in western Alberta. The hunts and the stories do get much better, with the "common folk" waiting a lifetime for a tag and shooting the ram of a lifetime. In all fairness, Crousen still had to hunt and kill this amazing ram. Here's how it all went down. After shelling out $200,000 for the Alberta Minster's Tag, Crousen did his homework and knew he wanted to hunt Unit 438, an area between Jasper National Park and Cardinal River Mine known to hold colossal rams. He hired a guide who phoned him the minute the big rams started to rut. They began moving and rutting around November 7. Crousen arrived from Texas on the ninth. For two weeks, Crousen and his three guides hunted for a big ram. One ram in particular was spotted, safely shielded from the hunters as he stayed on mine property. Finally, after two and a half weeks, the guides watched the drive to mate get the better of the old ram. He came off the mine, and Crousen was waiting for him. With the boundary stakes still in sight, Crousen killed this ram with his .270 Weatherby Magnum.
**#2 Bighorn **
Hunter: Fred Weiller
Score: 208 1/8
Year: 1911
State: Blind Canyon, AB This has to be one of the craziest tales about a head that I've ever heard. In the early 1900s, Fred Weiller supplied meat to the men who worked on Alberta's first oil well in western Canada. With his Model 1894 Winchester .30-30, he shot one very large and old ram. Weiller knew the ram was special so he saved the horns to mount on the wall of his ranch house near Blind Canyon, four miles from where he killed the ram. Friends, hunters and family members of Fred's commented on the ram and suggested he get it measured. He wouldn't hear of it. When Fred died, the old ranch house was abandoned. A family member who lived two miles away went to check on the house one day around 1964. There she found the old home had been vandalized and the ram's head was laying in the mud in the front yard. A neighbor and amateur taxidermist cleaned up the head, and it was finally allowed to be sent to the Boone & Crockett competition. But the new owner, Clarence Baird, was leery of sending it to Pittsburgh for official scoring. He finally agreed to ship the head, but on its journey it was caught in the middle of a railway strike and lost! It turned up in a warehouse in Buffalo, NY and Baird would not let the ram out of his sight again--not even for the thousands of dollars offered to him by collectors. Then in the winter of 1971, a fire burned the Baird home to the ground. Not only was the head reduced to ashes, but so was Weiller's Winchester that downed the fine animal. The head has been since reproduced and as for the rifle, Earl Ward of Pincher Creek Alberta took the charred metal remnants and restored the old gun.
#3 Bighorn
Hunter: Picked Up
Score: 207 4/8
Year: 2010
State: Longview, AB These top three rams are, to me, the epitome of the evolution of how things die in North America. The new number one was killed thanks to special tags and special sanctuaries. The number two ram is the old-school, out for meat, kill a big ram, hunting tale. And this ram? Well, modern times finally caught up to him as he was killed by a vehicle west of Longview, Alberta. Todd Snodgrass found the ram off Highway 541 and took it to their ranch yard where Alberta Fish and Game processed it, issuing Snodgrass a permit to possess the animal. This ram and another younger ram, lived right above the ranch yard on a steep rock face where Snodgrass worked. The older ram would go down to the highway a couple times every month without the younger ram, likely to lick salt or antifreeze off the highway. Snodgrass always wondered which trip would be the animal's last.
#4 Bighorn
Hunter: Martin K. Bovey
Score: 207 2/8
Year: 1924
State: Oyster Creek, AB Bert Riggall was a guide in the Canadian Rockies and neighbor of Fred Weiller (see the number 2 ram). He first spotted this ram when he was tracking down some runaway pack horses while guiding other sheephunters. In a 1952 article for Outdoor Life, he wrote, "I turned my glasses to the cliffs above. And there, in the bottom of a deep notch that looked like the V of a rifle sight, were three giant rams...That sight alone was worth a thousand miles of travel." That was the fall of 1917. In 1920, he took two men, Martin Bovey and Meridian Bennett into that country. Bovey of Minneapolis had hunted with Riggall when he was 14. Now, he was back from WW I and about to enter college. All he wanted to do was hunt sheep. The men tracked down those three rams Riggall had seen three years prior and Bennett ended up shooting the smallest of the bunch. The biggest one got away. In 1924, Martin Bovey returned, this time with his brother Charlie. Martin was about to start his senior year, having transferred from Yale to the University of Minnesota after being a trader in northern Manitoba. Eventually, the men caught up with a group of rams that held the biggest ram Riggall had ever seen. With his Savage .250-3000, Bovey shot the ram with an 87-grain bullet right in the jugular. It was over. A great hunt, a great hunter, and a great ram. Jack O'Connor later told Riggall, "That was probably the best trophy ever taken on the North American continent..." In the end, the Bovey family sold the head to Aly Bruner in 2003 for an undisclosed amount.
**#5 Bighorn **
Hunter: Picked Up
Score: 206 3/8
Year: 1955
State: Burnt Timber Creek, AB
**#6 Bighorn **
Hunter: James R. Weatherly
Score: 204 7/8
Year: Granite County, MT
State: 1993 In September 1993, Weatherly had spotted and hunted one particular ram numerous mornings, but it gave him the slip every time. Finally, on October 9, he left his home in Missoula at 3:30 am and found himself on top of a ridge looking down on three inches of fresh snow and two rams of questionable quality in the early overcast skies. There were only three trees between him and the rams. He crawled to the first tree. From there, he could tell one ram was small. The other ram had his head down. He crawled to the second tree. The feeding ram looked big from there, but he still wasn't sure. After crawling to the third tree, he was parallel the sheep, 175 yards out and downwind. The big ram looked up. That's when James nearly lost it. He shook terribly, knowing 22 years of applying for a tag was about to come down to one shot. He put on his jacket. Then took it off. He dropped his pack, then his fanny pack. He propped the rifle in a fork in the tree, then couldn't get comfortable. Finally, he squeezed off the shot. The ram whirled a 180 and fell over dead.
**#7 Bighorn **
Hunter: Toni L. Sannon
Score: 204 2/8
Year: Fergus County, MT
State: 2008 There aren't many ladies making the book, but bighorn sheep tend to attract them. This is the first entry of three women who made the top 20 for bighorns. Sannon had applied for a decade, and in 2008, she finally pulled a Missouri River Breaks tag in Montana. The breaks made some humongous rams, and the country is spectacular--as long as it doesn't rain. If it rains, you'd better hope you like where you're sitting because the roads are gumbo and you ain't going anywhere for awhile. But Toni wasn't letting a little mud stop her. She enlisted help from a hunting buddy, bought a river boat, called landowners and poured over maps for three months. She wanted to get a big ram and get it with her bow. Early in the hunt she spotted a big ram with distinctly flared horns. Then he disappeared. She waited eight days until he made an appearance. The ram was alone on a very steep ridge. Toni pushed aside her bow (it was rifle season after all), crossed the Missouri River, took 15 minutes to get a solid rest and took more than a couple shots. After the smoke cleared, she made her way to the record books with the biggest breaks ram ever killed.
**#8 Bighorn **
Hunter: James Simpson
Score: 204
Year: 1920
State: Sheep Creek, BC
**#9 Bighorn **
Hunter: Matt Q. Rippentrop
Score: 203 6/8
Year: 2010
State: Chouteau County, MT Some guys put in their time to kill a top 10 animal. Matt "Rip" Rippentropp is one of those guys. He spent 15 days scouting and 30 days hunting Montana's Missouri River Breaks. Rip, his dad, and a posse of his buddies called the area around the little town of Winifred home for the 2010 season. They were seeing a lot of rams in the 195-range, but Rip really wanted a 200-class Booner. After eight days, his crew decided to drive to town for a shower, a cheeseburger and check in at home. When Rip called his wife, she lit into him. He admitted to her he was thinking about shooting a 195 ram. Her response: "What the heck! There's a problem with you. I'm mad! You are not going to shoot a 195-inch ram with all the effort you put in. I'm going to hang up on you after I tell you this: don't come home unless you shoot a 200-inch ram." And with that, Rip spent the next few days watching a 200-inch ram as it grazed on private land. When it became clear the ram wasn't coming off, he got a hold of the landowners who gave Rip permission. One 230-yard shot later, Rip got his 200-inch ram and he was allowed back in his home.
**#10 Bighorn **
Hunter: Picked Up
Score: 203 5/8
Year: 1992
State: Beaverhead County, MT At the time this ram was found, it was the biggest one in the book from the United States. The Highland Mountains near Melrose, Montana are home to sheep that were transplanted there in the late 1960s. Since that time, the area has produced "book quality" rams, but none ever matching the beauty of this one. Jack Atcheson Jr was out glassing for sheep in the spring of 1992. He was watching three live rams when the bleached bones and massive curl near them made Jack pause. He contacted Montana FWP who then helped retrieve the head, which was at the base of a small cliff. No signs showed he was killed by a predator. Maybe he was knocked over by an even bigger ram? No one knows. The head now hangs in Montana FWP headquarters.
**#11 Bighorn **
Hunter: Katherine A. Pyra
Score: 203 4/8
Year: 1992
State: Sheep River, AB
**#12 Bighorn **
Hunter: Debby L. Perry
Score: 202 7/8
Year: 2008
State: Blaine Co., MT How many of us can say our guidance counselor in elementary had a top 10 Boone and Crockett ram? I didn't think so. But for kids in eastern Montana, it's not that uncommon. Take Debby. She pulled a coveted Breaks tag and was only able to hunt weekends because of school obligations. But with a little help from some friends, she was able to get it done. She spent September learning how to spot sheep, and eventually spotted a fine ram in October. She took pictures and was having so much fun watching the ram, that she admitted she wasn't in a big hurry to end her hunt. When she showed the photos to her hunting partner later, he gasped. The next weekend, they set out to find the ram, and they did. At 265 yards, Debby took a shot that might not have killed the ram, but his tumble down a 150-cliff over boulders certainly finished him off. His right horn was beat up pretty good, but even still, he's a mighty fine ram.
**#13 Bighorn (Tied) **
Hunter: Kristopher L. Lookhart
Score: 202 3/8
Year: 2010
State: Fergus Co., MT
**#13 Bighorn (tied) **
Hunter: Richard B. Wiant
Score: 202 3/8
Year: 1992
State: Granite Co., MT For two decades, Richard Wiant had applied for a Montana sheep tag. In mid-August of 1992, he got his tag in the mail. His home in Deer Lodge is in prime sheep country near Montana's Rock Creek drainage. He and two hunting buddies went hunting just northwest of Philipsburg. One of his buddies had a plane, which can make sheep hunting a tad less like finding a needle in a haystack. With a little recon, they had some sheep spotted and knew the general area in which to hunt. It was still early in the season (September 21) when Richard and his buddy spotted three rams lounging in a high-altitude grassy bowl. Richard picked the biggest one and shot him at 135 yards with his 7mm.
**#15 Bighorn (Tied) **
Hunter: Tom Kerquits
Score: 202 2/8
Year: 1918
State: Panther River, AB
**#15 Bighorn (Tied) **
Hunter: Patrick L. White
Score: 202 2/8
Year: 2009
State: Fergus Co., MT
**#17 Bighorn **
Hunter: Guinn D. Crousen
Score: 202 1/8
Year: 2001
State: Leyland Mt., AB You may recognize this name. He is seated at the number one spot for killing the world's record just a year prior to killing this ram. Even so, this particular ram is beautiful. And you got to give credit to Crousen, he knows where to camp out. The world's record just off of private mine property where rams are protected and can get big. And this one? It likely moseyed out of Jasper National Park. Crousen would go home with nothing less than a 200-inch ram again this time, and his guide Randy Babala would help him find it. They started hunting one day, saw this ram the next and then after a bit of a hike, Crousen shot this ram at 40 yards.
**#18 Bighorn **
Hunter: Picked Up
Score: 202
Year: 1987
State: Canmore, AB An old bighorn is a hardy animal, but trucks are pretty solid too. When the two square off, it's a losing battle for the ram. So it is with this one that was killed on a highway south of Canmore. But, if there is a silver-lining, a life-size mount of the animal is used in public education programs.
**#19 Bighorn (Tied) **
Hunter: Larry Strawson
Score: 201 2/8
Year: 1997
State: Nikanassin Range, AB I loathe the use of the term 'hardcore,' but there are few other words that truly describe the dedication of Larrry Strawson and his buddies when it comes to hunting sheep in Alberta. They were scouting three weeks prior to opening day when they saw a good band of sheep with one very good ram. They went home and came back a few weeks later. After some searching, they finally spotted another very good ram--and stayed on him. Between Larry and his buddies, one of them was always watching the ram, except when Larry wanted a cat nap back at camp, and came back to find the ram gone from his daybed. Larry vowed not to let the ram out of his sight, even though he spent a couple cold nights without a sleeping bag or fire on the mountain side waiting for opening day. He wanted to be sure that ram wouldn't go anywhere. Prior to opening day, the ram even walked by them at 30 yards, and there was nothing they could legally do about it. But when opening morning came, Larry was ready. After warming himself up with some jumping jacks in the pre-dawn darkness, he worked his way up a steep shale hillside to get into shooting position of the bedded ram. When he set his rifle down to adjust his backpack, the rifle went sliding 50 yards down the shale. He knew for certain the jig was up. Even if his rifle was in one piece, why would this old ram stick around? Well, there was nothing wrong with his .300 Weatherby or his Leupold scope. By the time he fetched up his rifle, it was right at shooting light, and the ram was up but not concerned. Larry crawled to within 100 yards of the feeding ram, squeezed off one shot, and had one fine ram for his wall.
**#19 Bighorn (Tied) **
Hunter: Robinson F. Dean
Score: 201 2/8
Year: 2010
State: Fergus Co., MT
#1 Stone's Sheep
Hunter: L.S. Chadwick
Score: 196 6/8
Year: 1936
State: Muskwa River, BC Known throughout the hunting world as the 'Chadwick Ram', this magnificent specimen has an equally fascinating hunting story. L. S. Chadwick never finished high school, but he convinced administrators at Purdue he was a worthy student. He earned a degree in engineering and became an inventor; he holds more than 250 patents from improvements on razor blades to car brakes. Hunting was his passion too. With two guides, Chadwick entered northern British Columbia to venture into country "never hunted by a white man"--his words. In an article from Outdoor Life in 1937, Chadwick recalled pitching 16 camps in 18 days, each one pushing further into the Rockies. One afternoon, they glassed a group of three sheep a mile and half away. While trying to get closer, they were spotted by the band. One guide stayed out in the open to distract the sheep while Chadwick and another guide moved in. At 200 yards, Chadwick, an avid film-maker and photographer decided to film the ram a while. Then he got tired of sitting and took a shot with his .404 Jeffrey. He shot again, striking it in the hip. The guide ran off to get the final shot. Why didn't Chadwick run after it? He wrote, "When a man gets to be 62, he has to move a little more leisurely than when he was young." They estimated the ram to be 14 years old. And get this: Chadwick noted that the right-hand horn was broken, likely missing about two inches. There has never been a Stone's like this one, and I'm betting there never will be.
#2 Stone's Sheep
Hunter: Norman Blank
Score: 190
Year: 1962
State: Sikanni Chief River, BC
**#3 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: G.C.F. Dalziel
Score: 189 6/8
Year: 1965
State: Blue Sheep Lake, BC
**#4 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: Paul D. Weingart
Score: 187 4/8
Year: 1970
State: Ospika River, BC
**#5 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: Felipe Palau
Score: 185 3/8
Year: 1970
State: Prophet River, BC
**#6 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: Joseph H. Shirk
Score: 184 6/8
Year: 1948
State: Prophet River, BC
**#7 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: John W. Pitney
Score: 184 4/8
Year: 1936
State: Hudson Hope, BC
**#8 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: Lloyd E. Hall
Score: 184 3/8
Year: 1963
State: Colt Lake, BC
**#9 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: G.C.F. Dalziel
Score: 184 2/8
Year: 1964
State: Blue Sheep Lake, BC
**#9 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: Herb Klein
Score: 184 2/8
Year: Colt Lake, BC
State: 1965
**#9 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: Arthur R. Dubs
Score: 184 2/8
Year: 1966
State: Kechika Range, BC
**#12 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: Picked Up
Score: 183 7/8
Year: 1961
State: Hudson Hope, BC
#13 Stone's Sheep
Hunter: Otis Chandler
Score: 183 6/8
Year: 1966
State: Dease Lake, BC
**#14 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: Picked Up
Score: 183 5/8
Year: 1962
State: Sikanni Chief River, BC
**#14 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: Jeff Browne
Score: 183 5/8
Year: 1990 This is a tale that makes any paying client of a guide service scratch his head. According to the hunter of this ram, Jeff Browne, in the fall of 1990, he was a packer in British Columbia. As a packer, he is not allowed to accompany his clients on their hunt. I assume the province makes a clear separation between guides and packers. After the hunters took off after elk, Jeff busied himself with camp chores beside Munch Lake. He checked on the horses and saw some sheep up above him. One of the hunters did have a sheep tag, but so did Jeff. The hunters did come across some rams during their hunt for elk, and they did eventually fill their sheep tag--only it wasn't the one Jeff spotted. Game on, he thought. Jeff climbed high above the bunch of rams, he'd spotted a few days prior--nine in all. The rams spooked and all but one moved to Jeff's right. The one that did not move was staring straight at him, and it was the ram he wanted. Jeff connected with his .338 Winchester mag at 150 yards. Jeff and his ram were back to camp before supper.
**#16 Stone's Sheep (Tied) - No Photo **
Hunter: John Caputo, Jr.
Score: 183 3/8
Year: 1961
State: Kechika Range, BC
**#16 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: Picked Up
Score: 183 3/8
Year: 1969
State: Terminus Mt., BC
**#18 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: Keith C. Brown
Score: 183 2/8
Year: 1971
State: Buckinghorse River, BC
**#19 Stone's Sheep **
Hunter: Robert S. Jackson
Score: 183 1/8
Year: 1968
State: Cassiar Mts., BC
**#20 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: T.E. Shillingburg
Score: 183
Year: 1937
State: Muskwa River, BC
**#20 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: John Caputo, Sr.
Score: 183
Year: 1966
State: Kechika Range, BC
**#20 Stone's Sheep (Tied) **
Hunter: Gordon Studer
Score: 183
Year: 1967
State: Cassiar Mts., BC

To celebrate sheep hunting at its best, we take a look at the biggest Bighorn Sheep and Stone's Sheep to ever be recorded by the Boone & Crockett Club.