The Pope and Young Club is one of North America’s leading bowhunting and wildlife conservation organizations. Founded in 1961 as a non-profit, scientific organization whose objectives included bettering the image of bowhunting, the Club has grown to be the standard-bearer for the principles of fair chase, ethics and sportsmanship in bowhunting. Named in honor of pioneer bowhunters Dr. Saxton Pope and Arthur Young, whose exploits during the early part of the 20th Century drew national attention to this “forgotten” and challenging form of hunting, the Club encourages responsible bowhunting by promoting quality hunting, sound conservation practices, high standards of conduct and fostering dedication to the protection of bowhunting’s future.
In the early days, the Club’s objectives of proving the effectiveness of the bow and arrow and bettering the image of bowhunting proved to be keys to the acceptance of bowhunting and the establishment of bowhunting seasons around the country. Nowadays, the stalwart Pope and Young Club champions the cause of protecting our bowhunting heritage, promoting its rich values and the adherence to a strong fair chase ethic, while continuing to prove the effectiveness of conventional bowhunting equipment. For over 50 years we’ve been leading the way and setting the standard.
“In the joy of hunting is intimately woven the love of the great outdoors. The beauty of the woods, valleys, mountains, and skies feeds the soul of the sportsman where the quest of game whets only his appetite. After all, it is not the killing that brings satisfaction; it is the contest of skill and cunning. The true hunter counts his achievement in proportion to the effort involved and the fairness of the sport.” Dr. Saxton Pope, 1923
In 2004, the doors to the Pope & Young Club / St. Charles Museum of Bowhunting, at the Club’s national offices in Chatfield, Minnesota, were opened, free to the public. The foundation of the museum is the largest collection of bowhunting related artifacts and memorabilia anywhere in the world. Artifacts in glassed cases, descriptive storyboards and dramatic dioramas – featuring Ishi, Dr. Saxton Pope, Arthur Young, Fred Bear and Glenn St. Charles – chart the events that shaped bowhunting’s rediscovery and evolution.
Special exhibits include, among other things, the largest and most complete publicly-displayed broadhead collection, “Journey to Africa – 1925,” the evolution of the compound bow, and representative examples of all 29 species of native North American big game animals.
Bowhunters are some of the most active and dedicated conservationists anywhere. We are committed to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the scientific-based management of our natural resources – including the key role that hunters play. Our program is about leading by example. We support, with financial assistance and moral support, a wide array of projects and programs around North America in efforts to enhance and protect wildlife conservation and our bowhunting heritage. We do this by providing monetary grants annually to projects and programs in areas of wildlife research, education, pro-hunting and wildlife management. The Club is also active in a number of valuable partnership and collaborative efforts representing bowhunting and promoting bowhunting. In recent years, annual conservation budgets have exceeded $110,000 per year.
If you are an ethical, fair chase bowhunter, then YOU are the Pope & Young! We are men, women and youth, from all walks of life and from all corners of North America. We are well-rounded, dedicated and concerned bowhunter/conservationists who care deeply about the fair chase principles and high standards of ethics and for protecting bowhunting so that future generations can experience and appreciate all that true bowhunting has to offer. Associate Membership is open to any bowhunter who has pursued the challenge of bowhunting long enough to have taken at least one adult big game species (not necessarily a record book animal).
Membership is separate from the Records Program (i.e., entering an animal into the record book does not mean that you’re a member…each is separate). The mystique of the Pope and Young Club is often credited to our unique membership structure. The founders established a membership structure to reward longevity as both a bowhunter and as a Club supporter. Every bowhunter joins as an Associate Member. Over time, a member may advance to Regular Membership, and then on to Senior Membership, by meeting different sets of criteria, including well-rounded bowhunting experience and active involvement. Members receive quarterly news magazines, membership card, decal, Club updates and fundraising activities, access to the Members Area of the website, and more. More importantly, members gain a sense of pride belonging to a special fraternity of dedicated bowhunters, giving something back to a sport…no, a lifestyle…that means so much to them.
The Pope & Young Club is recognized as the official repository for records on bow-harvested North American big game. Together with the Boone & Crockett Club, we maintain the long-standing, universally-accepted scoring system and set the standards for measuring big game animals. Through the Records Program, the Club records for posterity scientific data on North American big game taken with bow and arrow. The Records Program has many purposes and objectives.
First and foremost, it is THE venue to honor a bow-harvested animal, throughout all time—an historical record. The Records Program is the scientific measure to compare an individual animal to others and to the ideal for that species. Each listing is a document of bowhunting history, a testament to bowhunting’s heritage and traditions. The Record Book is the principal means by which the Club can promote the ideals of fair chase and ethical standards, and protect the integrity of bowhunting.
Continuing to prove the effectiveness of conventional bowhunting equipment remains important. The Club’s ever-growing archives provide great insight into the past and present management, health and trends of North America’s wildlife populations. The Records are a testimonial to traditional wildlife management and the important role of hunting in that management.
Through the Records Program, the Club encourages quality bowhunting experiences by awakening interest in selective hunting and the outstanding examples of this continent’s big game animals. We conduct ongoing recording periods and every two years present appropriate recognition to the finest big game specimen accepted into the Records.
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Why should you be a member of the Pope & Young Club?
If you are a bowhunter and want to help protect and defend bowhunting across North America, you should be a member.
If you believe the culture, heritage and ethics of bowhunting should be passed down from generation to generation, you should be a member.
If you believe that North American big game animals and their habitat should be maintained and managed so that future generations can experience their wild beauty, then you should be a member.
The Pope & Young Club is much more than bowhuntings record keepers…
We are Fair Chase. Supporting the ethical pursuit of free ranging, wild game animals without unfair advantage.
We are Conservation. We protect the future of bowhunting and promote the conservation of habitat and wildlife.
We are Heritage. We strive to increase the awareness and appreciation of bowhuntings foundations, principles and values.
We are Membership. We are a fraternity of bowhunters networked to protect the future of bowhunting.
If you are an ethical, fair chase bowhunter, then YOU are the Pope & Young Club! Join Them Today!