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Minnesota, North Dakota books put big game records in spotlight

Released in 2016,"Big Game Records of Minnesota" is the first edition to be published under the ownership of Minnesota Official Measurers.1 / 2
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If you hunt big game in Minnesota or have a fascination with record-book deer, moose, elk or bear, this book's for you.

Minnesota Official Measurers, a club dedicated to measuring and scoring record big game animals in the state, in 2014 purchased the "Minnesota Deer Classic Record Book," which for years had compiled the database of the state's top big game animals.

According to Randy Dufault of East Grand Forks, a certified measurer who scores big game for Minnesota Official Measurers, the purchase was a perfect fit because group members are certified by clubs such as Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young.

They do all of the measuring anyway, in other words, so they might as well keep track of the scores. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association also provided the records it has kept of top-scoring animals, Dufault said.

The first edition of "Big Game Records of Minnesota," as published by Minnesota Official Measurers, came out in 2016, but I didn't see a copy until two weeks ago.

"We're proud of it—it's a nice book," Dufault said.

He's right—the book is very well done.

Besides ranking the top 100 typical whitetails, the top 100 nontypical whitetails, the top 50 moose, the top 25 elk and the top 25 bears, the book breaks the top entries down by county in both archery and firearms categories.

Polk County, for example, has 28 entries for typical archery whitetails. Dufault can be excused for pointing that category out specifically because he has the highest-scoring archery typical whitetail in Polk County. Taken in 2003, the buck scored 162 4/8 and ranks No. 124 in the state, the book shows.

"The whole book is done by county so you can see who's No. 1 in your county," Dufault said.

Besides a listing of the top-scoring big game, the book includes several hunting stories. The focus of the stories isn't just about the biggest racks or biggest bears, there also are tales of sportsmanship and ethics.

"We're going for a good story," Dufault said.

The book will be updated every two or three years as new entries are reported, he said.

"Big Game Records of Minnesota" is available for $30 online or $20 if purchased directly from a member of Minnesota Official Measurers. For more information, check out the Minnesota Official Measurers website at https://mnmom.com.

With the firearms deer season right around the corner, "Big Game Records of Minnesota" would be a great addition to any hunting camp.

New N.D. book

In North Dakota, outdoor writer Patricia Stockdill of Garrison, N.D., now is the owner and editor of the "North Dakota Big Game Records Book," and the latest edition of the book—her first at the helm—was published this past spring.

Lyle Hanson of Jamestown, N.D., launched and published the first six editions of the North Dakota records book. As with Minnesota's book, the North Dakota publication includes top-scoring big game animals taken legally and measured according to Boone and Crockett Club scoring methods.

Categories in the book and minimum scores needed to qualify are white-tailed deer typical (150), whitetail nontypical (170) , mule deer typical (155), mule deer nontypical (175), elk typical (275), elk nontypical (325), moose (135), pronghorn (70) and bighorn sheep (135).

I haven't seen the latest edition of the book, but I always found the publications edited by Hanson to be useful reference guides. The new edition, I'm sure, offers more of the same.

For more information about the "North Dakota Big Game Records Book," contact Stockdill by email at stockdill.patricia@gmail.com.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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