Rowland Ward's Records of Big Game
For over a century Rowland Ward's Records of Big Game has been the "go to" book of records for big game trophy hunters, especially African big game hunters. It is a comprehensive record of some of the most incredible trophies ever taken, or found in the wild.
The book differs a bit from SCI's record book as it does not rank the animals listed by class or numeric raking so there is no "award" system.
The Rowland ward measuring system differs depending on the species discussed. For instance horned animals are ranked in descending order according to the measurement of their longest horn. Other measurements such as circumference and tip to tip spread are also provided but only incidentally as they are not tallied as part of the animal's "overall score".
This measuring system is simple and very useful in the field. It is certainly easier to try to judge the overall length of a horn to determine an animal's maturity then it is to try to calculate the overall gross score. The book has the approximate height at the shoulder of each animal which assists in field judging horn length by allowing one to compare the horn to the size of the body. This measurement also can be very helpful in quickly calculating bullet drop at known distances. Especially since the measurement is at the shoulder.
I think the Rowland Ward system of measurement encourages the taking of mature male specimens of a given species, which is an integral part of wildlife conservation. We as sportsmen must regulate ourselves to take mature animals to ensure that they have already passed on their genes to the herd. Taking immature animals as trophies is antithetical to good conservation. The folks at Rowland Ward recognize this especially as it pertains to Cape Buffalo more properly known as "Southern Buffalo." The current scoring system ranks Cape Buffalo based on the width of the outside spread of it's horns. In my opinion and in the opinion of many others this has lead to the shooting of many immature soft bossed bulls. Because younger Cape Buffalo bulls will generally sport wider horns. As a buffalo ages the horns will drop and the overall width of the horns narrow
In order to encourage the taking of more mature bulls Rowland Ward sent out an email recently announcing they intend to change the way the minimum score is derived. This is from a recent email from Rowland Ward's Guild Of Field Sportsmen:
"The minimums for all recorded animals will include the longest horn or greatest outside spread as well as a composite measurement which will be derived from a combination of the outside spread or longest horn, as the case may be and the width of the biggest boss or the circumference of the longest horn, as the case may be, multiplied by two; "
This change will encourage the shooting of more mature bulls by including the width of the boss in the minimum measurement. This is an important step in encouraging hunters to shoot older bulls and I hope SCI will follow Rowland Ward's lead and adjust their scoring system as well. If we want to assure the future of healthy buffalo populations then we should embrace this change.
The book provides excellent descriptions of each species and how they differ from other species which are closely related. It also gives home ranges and countries where each species lives.
I also really like the classic style hand sketches of the animals in the book. The sketches remind me of the traditional naturalists who recorded their impressions of wildlife with a pencil. The "books" (because it is two volumes) are also very nicely bound and will look great on the shelf or on your coffee table.
To order Rowland Ward's Records of Big Game please visit their website at: Rowlandward.com or call them at (877) 423-3220
Todd J Rathner