The first ideas for developing a way to record trophy wildlife from British Columbia began with Glen Hanna in Kamloops. As Glen once recalled: “In 1966, thinking of the quality of big game animals being taken in British Columbia, I had the idea that there should be a book of some kind delineating the different categories of game in the vast and varied environment of this fine province. I met with a few friends and we talked about setting up a records book to show the best of the big game animals which British Columbia has to offer.”
As a result of this meeting, a group of Kamloops area sportsmen began the task of developing a new organization. The first Executive elected to get the job underway was made up of the following individuals:
President: Glen Hanna;
Vice-President: Ralph Shaw;
Secretary-Treasurer: Ron Watts;
Directors: Lynn Blackwell, George Jones, Peter Neumann, Wilf Pelly, Ralph Ritcey, and George Smith.
One of the first steps taken by the founding directors was to write to the Alaska Sportsman magazine. In a letter dated April 20, 1967, Ron Watts requested information regarding an “Alaskan Records Book” for big game animals. “….we are very interested in finding out how the Alaskan Book started, what measuring criteria are used, how you acquired records for the first publication, what serious problems had to be surmounted in the organizing, and how you determine exactly where animals are shot with regard to borders….” The letter was referred to the Alaska Big Game Trophy Club and a reply dated May 3, 1967 from Frank Cook, that club’s president, outlined the history of their club and emphasized the importance of gaining permission from the Boone and Crockett Club to use their scoring methods and records. On June 15, 1967, Ron Watts wrote to Mrs. Grancel Fitz, Secretary of the Boone and Crockett Club: “…..we have been in touch with the president of the Alaska Club, Mr. Cook, and he has told us they received permission from you to use your system of scoring. We would be very interested in knowing how we might go about gaining this permission….” Mrs. Fitz referred this letter to Elmer M. Rusten, Boone and Crockett Club Chairman, who replied on June 28, 1967, granting the permission requested. Then, on November 2, 1967, Ron Watts wrote again to the Boone and Crockett Club – this time to request “the permission to use the names and records of all animals collected in British Columbia listed in your book.” This request was granted by the Boone and Crockett Club in a letter dated December 4, 1967 signed by Lawrence C. Woods, Jr. Obtaining qualified, reliable scorers was an early problem for the Club, and one which has persisted through the years.
Throughout 1968, letters were sent to the various Boone and Crockett scorers in the province asking them to also score for the Club. As well, contact was made with the Fish and Wildlife Branch and the British Columbia Wildlife Federation asking for the names of individuals who could be recommended for this responsibility. By the end of the year, a list of 31 scorers had been declared and the Club thus had representatives throughout the province.
The first official entry was received in late November, 1968, from Ed Escott of Anahim Lake. It was for a fine grizzly scoring 25 1/16” measured by the late Harold Mitchell of Williams Lake. As the Club indicated to Mr. Escott at the time: “…this entry is of special significance to us because, although we have quite a number of people going to enter trophies, yours is the first official entry.”
Meanwhile, the Club had drawn up a constitution and was corresponding with the Office of the Registrar of Companies in Victoria. The name was researched, the Constitution and Bylaws
were properly drafted, and proper provision was made for the custody and use of the seal. On February 21, 1969, the Constitution was filed and registered under the Society’s Act by the Registrar of Companies. The Trophy Wildlife Records Club of British Columbia was “official”.
For more than a decade, the Club remained guided by directors from the Kamloops area who gave many hours of their time to carry out our objectives.
The efforts of these individuals resulted in the publishing of a small number of Records Pamphlets in 1970 (due to many requests, 100 copies were reprinted in 2011), which carried the Club forward until 1980 when a decision was made to pass the operation on to others. The B.C. Wildlife Federation was approached and through that organization, care of the Records became based on Vancouver Island by late 1981. In 1983, 1988, 1995, 2003, and 2010 limited editions of hardcover Records Books were published. In 2006 the Club name was officially changed to the “Wildlife Records Club of British Columbia”.