Fattest Raccoon of All It's probably safe to say that Bandit the pet raccoon didn't climb to the tops of many trees, especially when his weight mushroomed to 75 pounds. Shown here in 1991 with owner Deborah Klitsch of Palmerton, Penn., Bandit weighed more than three times the average weight for a male coon. He passed away in May 2004, fat and sassy.
Largest Big-Game Animal On November 13, 1955, in Angola, J.J. Fenykovi of Hungary shot the largest land animal ever taken by a big-game hunter: a 12-ton bull African elephant. The kill required 16 bullets from a .416 Rigby. The elephant’s tusks were 7 feet long and weighed about 200 pounds each. The bull’s height was 13 feet 2 inches. Twenty-three bearers could not lift the hide, which weighed more than two tons. The elephant was mounted for display in the rotunda of the U.S. National Museum of Natural History, where it remains today.
Biggest Black Bear A 10-year-old male black bear shot in North Carolina in November 1998 weighed a record 880 pounds.
Biggest Bullhead The world’s largest bullhead catfish is 17 feet 8 inches long and weighs 1,650 pounds. This statue stands at the end of Main Street in Crystal Lake, Iowa, in recognition of the community’s fondness for the bullhead, also Iowa’s most popular panfish.
Biggest Dog Ears of All Time Basset hounds are famous for their long ears, but a German dog named Jack has taken it to extremes. The hound’s ears measure more than a foot long; in fact, Jack has trouble keeping his front paws from treading on his ears as he waddles along. Otherwise, Jack is normal: low to the ground and wearing a perpetually weary look on his face.
Biggest Record Fish On April 21, 1959, Alfred Dean caught a 2,664-pound great white shark off the coast of southern Australia. Amazingly, he subdued this monster–the heaviest record fish ever listed by the Inter-national Game Fish Association–in only 50 minutes on 130-pound-test line. Dean also caught great whites weighing 2,333 and 2,536 pounds.
Biggest Fish Ever Hooked and Landed What may be the biggest fish ever hooked and landed was captured in Florida waters by Captain Jay Gould in 1933. It was a manta ray that measured 19 feet 9 inches from wing tip to wing tip. The huge ray was hooked on a large shark hook tied to 1,200 feet of half-inch rope, and when it had been subdued and towed back to Ft. Lauderdale, the city’s 20-ton crane had to be used to lift it from the water. The ray weighed an estimated 5,500 pounds.
Biggest Fishing Lure Ron Mirabile of New Port Richey, Fla., has built what may be the world’s largest wooden fishing lure: an 8-foot-long, 200-pound torpedo called “Bassmonger,” which has two 9-inch hooks, 2-inch glass eyes and a coat of green paint with black spots.
Best White Bass Fishing Anywhere On April 23, 1984, two unrelated anglers from Indiana, William Wilson and William Garvey, caught two Arkansas state-record white bass while fishing from the same boat on Bull Shoals Lake. Garvey’s fish weighed 5 pounds 2 ounces; Wilson’s fish (still the state record) weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces.
Most Consecutive Rod and Reel Casts Georgia’s Brent Olgers established a world record for the longest period of consecutive casting in July 1999. Using a Zebco 33 reel, the indefatigable Olgers cast 6,501 times in just over 24 hours.
Fastest Fish Anglers at Florida’s Long Key Fishing Camp came up with a simple and ingenious method for measuring a fish’s swimming speed. When a hooked fish makes a run, measure the amount of line the fish took off the spool in a certain number of seconds to calculate the speed. The fastest fish they clocked was a sailfish that took out 300 feet of line in three seconds, at a velocity of 68 mph. The speed-burning sailfish went from zero to 60 in 2.6 seconds!
Fastest Gunslinger At South Dakota’s Lead Club Range on August 20, 1932, Ed McGivern of Montana fired a .45-caliber revolver five times from 15 feet into an area with a diameter of 1.1875 inches. He accomplished this in 0.45 seconds (including the time needed to draw the gun from his holster), and did it twice that day.
Biggest Fly Rod & Reel In 1999, Texan Tiney Mitchell finished the world’s largest flyfishing rod and reel. The rod is 71 feet 4.5 inches long. The reel measures 4 feet in diameter and 10 inches wide.Highest Price for a Live Deer In August 2004, Texas deer breeders Don Wilson and Gene Gonzalez paid $450,000 for Dream Buck, the largest whitetail buck in Texas and one of the biggest non-typicals anywhere. As a 4-year-old, Dream Buck scored 3013⁄8. The men sell the deer’s semen to other breeders of trophy-size whitetails.
Most Frequent-Flier Miles A northern pintail banded in September 1940 in Athabasca County, Alberta, Canada, lived until January 1954, when it was shot near Macuspana, Tabasco, Mexico. Considering the 3,000 miles between band site and death, and assuming the bird made the two-way migration each year for 13 years, the pintail would have logged nearly 80,000 migration miles during its lifetime.
Heaviest Whitetail On a cold November day in 1926, Carl Lenander Jr. dropped a monstrous Minnesota buck with a single shot. Field-dressed, the deer weighed 402 pounds. The state Conservation Department calculated its live weight to be 511 pounds. No heavier whitetail deer has ever been recorded.
Heftiest Retriever Nineteenth-century English hunter Richard Toomer trained a Berkshire sow to hunt birds. Slut, as Toomer named her, could catch bird scent from 40 yards, stop and alert her owner with snorts and head shakes that game was near. When a bird was shot, she fetched it. The unusual retriever weighed 700 pounds.
First TV Hunting Show On December 23, 1956, viewers of NBC’s Wide Wide World saw 300,000 mallards sitting on Arkansas’s Claypool Reservoir. Suddenly, a rocket was fired over the ducks to flush them. Reservoir owner Wallace Claypool then called in ducks for 12-year-old hunter Lynn Parsons. Host Dave Garroway (also the first host of NBC’s Today show, 1952-1961) observed, “Now if you’ll brush the duck feathers off your sofa, we’ll go on with the rest of the program.”
Largest Shark Ever Paleontologists excavating fossilized fish in England have plenty of bones to back their claim that they found the whopper of all whoppers when it comes to fish. What they discovered was a specimen of Leedsichthys problematicus, a Jurassic Age version of the basking shark. At 72 feet long, it was almost twice as long as a whale shark, which is the largest fish swimming the seas today.
Littlest Lunker The smallest fish ever to make the record books may be the 21⁄2-ounce pygmy whitefish hauled in from Montana’s Ashley Lake in 1982. The catch, by Orlin Iverson, stood until 1999, when Frank Gamma caught a 23⁄4-ounce pygmy whitefish from the same lake. The record now stands at almost 31⁄2 ounces.
Longest Canoe You could carry lots of your friends fishing if you had access to the world’s largest canoe, the Nga Toki Matawhaorua, built in New Zealand in 1940. This unusual craft–117 feet long and 6 feet 7 inches wide–was able to accommodate 135 people.
Luckiest Double On May 29, 1992, Dorothy Taylor of Ft. Scott, Kan., caught a 53-pound flathead catfish. When the fish was cleaned, inside its stomach was found a 1.5-pound channel cat with Taylor’s hook in its mouth. The flathead had swallowed the channel cat tail first as it took Taylor’s bait.
The Record for Marathon Shooting Ohio rifleman Tom Frye was arguably the greatest shot with a .22 who ever lived. He established a marathon and accuracy world record by
hitting nearly every one of 100,000 hand-tossed wooden blocks, missing only six. To accomplish this phenomenal feat, Frye banged away for nine hours a day over a 13-day period.
Best Excuse for Missing the Oscars The 1940 Academy Award nominees for Best Director were George Cukor, Alfred Hitchcock, Sam Wood, William Wyler and John Ford. Ford, who won the Oscar for The Grapes of Wrath, did not attend the award ceremony. He was away on a fishing trip.
Oldest Fishing Record In May 1865, Dr. C.C. Abbot caught a 4-pound 3-ounce world-record yellow perch near Bordentown, N.J. His freshwater record has stood for more than 140 years, longer than any other.
Oldest Weapons Three wooden spears excavated from a German coal mine are the world’s oldest-known complete hunting weapons. Ranging from 6 to 7 feet long, the wooden-shafted spears were fashioned with admirable skill by apparently dedicated meat-eaters approximately 400,000 years ago.
Fattest Raccoon of All It’s probably safe to say that Bandit the pet raccoon didn’t climb to the tops of many trees, especially when his weight mushroomed to 75 pounds. Shown here in 1991 with owner Deborah Klitsch of Palmerton, Penn., Bandit weighed more than three times the average weight for a male coon. He passed away in May 2004, fat and sassy.
Most Bountiful (Burrrp!) Squirrel Dinner In 1859, just for the heck of it, two parties of Arkansas hunters competed to see which could bag the most squirrels. During the five-week competition, the hunters shot 19,765 squirrels. The difference between the two parties was 1,134. Afterward, the folks in Pulaski County enjoyed the mother of all squirrel barbecues.
Strangest Coincidence Dr. Stan Chace of Alturas, Calif., seemingly defied all odds in the fall of 1962. Chace bagged a banded Canada goose in October and shot another banded Canada in December. When he compared the bands, Chace found them to be consecutively numbered–the first 518-31661 and the second 518-31662. The birds were banded three years earlier.
Shootinest Gent’man Perhaps only one man ever surpassed Walsingham in bird-hunting skill, and that was Frederick Oliver Robinson (1867-1923), later the
second marquess of Ripon, who bagged 556,000 game birds during his lifetime. On the morning of September 22, 1923, Robinson died as he lived. He shot 52 birds, then himself fell dead of a heart attack on a grouse moor.
Stupidest Reason to Buy a Hunting License At one time, the laws of California required a person to purchase a hunting license before setting a mousetrap.
Stupidest Warning Seen on a spinnerbait package: “Warning: Harmful If Swallowed.”
Top Grouse Hunter In 19th-century England, hunters in large shooting parties often competed to see who could bag the most grouse or pheasants. Their gunning practices were excessive by today’s standards, but some shooting records are remarkable feats of endurance. Consider the single-day record of Thomas de Grey, the sixth Lord Walsingham (1843-1919), who killed 1,070 grouse at Yorkshire’s Blubberhouse Moor on August 30, 1888. To achieve this feat, he fired 1,510 cartridges during 20 drives and twice killed three birds in the air with just one shot.
Toughest Game Laws Today’s game law violators get off easy compared to poachers of yesteryear. Under the French King Clovis, who died in A.D. 511, the slightest trespass into the royal hunting preserve occasioned public whipping. Poaching drew the stiffer penalty of torture on
the rack, burning and finally death by decapitation.
Most Varied Bag In January 1889, Lord Walsingham shot what might be the most varied bag ever recorded: 65 coots, 39 pheasants, 23 mallards, 16 rabbits, 9 hares, 7 teal, 6 partridges, 6 gadwalls, 4 pochard ducks, 3 swans, 3 snipe, 2 moorhens, 2 herons, 1 otter, 1 woodcock, 1 wood pigeon, 1 goldeneye,
1 rat and a pike shot as it swam through shallow water. Wildest Hunting Hat Lord Walsingham also was fond of wearing extraordinary hunting headgear–a hat made from the skin of a hedgehog, complete with erect spikes.
Biggest Whitetail Rack On September 29, 2003, in Monroe County, Iowa, 15-year-old Tony Lovstuen killed a huge non-typical whitetail with his muzzleloader.
The rack tallied 3075⁄8 Boone and Crockett Club points, making it the highest-scoring whitetail rack ever taken by a hunter.
Widest Antlers Ever The Irish elk, which became extinct 7,700 years ago, was the largest member of the deer family that ever lived. A mature stag stood up to 7 feet at the shoulders, could weigh more than 1,500 pounds and carried antlers that measured as much as 14 feet from tip to tip. Fossilized remains of the giant elk, including their antlers, are on display in some European museums.
The Winningest Caller Pat Peacock is the only person to have won all five major titles at the Stuttgart, Ark., World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest. The list includes a Junior World title in 1950 (at age 12), the first of five straight Women’s World titles in 1951, the Arkansas Calling Championship and the first of two consecutive World’s Championships in 1955 and the Champion of Champions crown in 1960.
Strangest Item Found Inside a Catfish The Manitoba Morning Free Press in Winnipeg (May 18, 1894) tells of a 140-pound Kansas catfish that apparently had aspirations to be a mail carrier. After it was caught, the catfish was cleaned, and in its stomach was discovered a small bottle, securely corked, containing this message: “Whoever will find this will please send it back to me. H.E. Pipes.” Mr. Pipes had thrown the bottle in the Kaw River three years earlier, 75 miles from where the fish was caught by Douglass Smith.
Best Pet Cemetery When his favorite coon dog, Troop, died in 1937, Alabama hunter Key Underwood buried him under a homemade headstone. Before long, Underwood’s friends wanted to bury their coonhounds beside Troop. Underwood’s only stipulation was that they be respected coonhounds and properly interred with due circumstance. Today, more than
100 coonhounds are buried in the hallowed ground of Key Underwood’s Coon Dog Memorial Park.
Heaviest Polar Bear A polar bear weighing 2,210 pounds was shot at Kotzebue Sound, Alaska, in 1960. Displayed at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, this 11-foot specimen was the largest of its kind ever documented.
Quickest Traveler A tagged great white shark swam from South Africa to Australia and back in under a year. The female shark was tagged with a data transmitter off South Africa in November 2003. The unit detached automatically and was recovered off western Australia four months later, but the story
didn’t end there. In August 2004, five months after the transmitter bobbed to the surface, project research scientists spotted the shark–identifiable by a pattern of notches on its dorsal fin–back in its old haunt off South Africa. It had completed a round trip of 12,500 miles in nine months.
Rarest Game Bird North America’s most difficult wing-shooting challenge, not to mention most expensive game meat, has to be the introduced Himalayan snowcock. These birds are hunted only at altitudes exceeding 10,000 feet and only in Nevada’s Elko County. Only 100 to 150 hunters pursue the snowcocks each year, harvesting a total of 20 to 30 birds.
A collection of fascinating facts about the biggest, longest, fastest, strangest, oldest, highest, heaviest, stupidest, coolest, and best in the world of hunting and fishing.