Pope & Young FAQ's
Everything you have ever wondered about the world's greatest bow hunting organization
By Andrew McKean 2/17/2022
Frequently Asked Questions – Pope & Young Club
Author – Andrew McKean
Editor – Dylan Ray/Jeff Burgmann
Can just anyone join the Pope & Young Club? Do I have to kill a record-book animal in order to be invited to P&Y’s annual convention? Can I hunt with a compound bow and still submit my trophy animal to the club? And who were Pope and Young, anyway? Here’s the one place to start any questions about what the Pope & Young Club represents, how to become part of its bowhunting community, and why Fred Bear is still king.
Everything you’ve ever wondered about the world’s greatest bowhunting organization
Question: How do I join Pope & Young?
Question: What are membership costs?
Answer: $10 for annual youth membership (under 18 years), $45 for a regular one-year membership, $80 for a discounted two-year membership, $150 for a discounted four-year membership, $600 for a lifetime membership (age 65 and older), and $1,000 for lifetime membership (age 64 and younger)
Question: Does the Pope & Young Club have different membership levels?
Answer: Yes, we do, Any bowhunter can join at the general membership level. Once you have been a general member for five years, attended a convention, and taken some animals with your bow, you can apply for regular member status. The idea of our membership tiers is that the more you successfully bow hunt, the more you commit to the principles of bowhunting, and the more your perspectives can shape club rules and positions.
Question: I killed a tremendous whitetail with my compound bow. Can I enter that in the Pope & Young Club records?
Answer: Absolutely! Pope and Young was founded for exactly that reason. We are the keepers of the records for North American big game taken with a bow and arrow.
Question: I picked up a trophy elk skull while I was shed hunting. Can I enter that in the Pope & Young record book?
Answer: We only accept animals taken with archery equipment, but our good friends at Boone and Crockett (www.boone-crockett.org/) accept those.
Question: How did the Pope & Young Club get its start?
Answer: We were started as a way of proving to fish and game agencies that archery equipment was a legitimate way to taking big game. Our very existence was to promote archery seasons across the country.
Question: How do I submit my animal to the Pope & Young Club?
Answer: First step is to have it officially measured by a Pope and Young measurer. They will take the entry fee and submit the paperwork for you. Our goal is to have your trophy certificate back to you within 30 days of receiving your entry.
Question: I would love to become an official measurer for Pope & Young Club. How do I start?
Answer: In order to become an official measurer, you must attend a measurer clinic. The very best way to get notified about our upcoming training courses is to call the office. We keep a list of individuals interested in becoming official measurers. We plan to hold a number of new measurer clinics in the near future, so now is a great time to let us know you’re interested.
Answer: The two easiest ways to join are to sign up on the website (https://pope-young.org/) or call the office (507-867-4144). Either way is quick and efficient.
Question: I hunt with a crossbow. Can my deer taken with a crossbow be considered for the Pope & Young awards?
Answer: Pope and Young does not accept crossbow entries, but a new organization, Bolt and Quarrel (https://bolt-quarrel.org/), was formed specifically to recognize animals taken by crossbows.
Question: I’ve heard that the Pope & Young Club’s big-game records are among the most extensive in the world. Can you tell me more about the records and how to access them?
Answer: We have over 120,000 big game records on file. For hunters, we have an online database (http://trophies.pope-young.org/) that you can access from our website. Basic information is free, more detailed information requires a subscription. We also provide access to our records for fish and game agencies and management professionals across North America.
Question: Does the Pope & Young Club have fundraising banquets like so many other conservation groups? If so, how can I learn about events in my area? And if not, how does the club make money to operate?
Answer: We do participate in a few select local events, keep an eye on the website for the latest information on those. Our operations are funded through our bi-annual convention, membership revenue, trophy entry fees, donations, and our corporate partner program.
Question: I’ve always wanted to visit the Museum of Bowhunting. Where is it located and what can I expect to see?
Answer: We just shipped the National Bow Hunting Museum from our office in Chatfield, Minn., to Springfield, Missouri. We are partnering with Johnny Morris and his team at Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s to bring the Pope & Young Museum to the Wonders of Wildlife (https://wondersofwildlife.org/) complex, which is considered to be the premier wildlife display in the world and we are very proud to be part of it.
Question: Every time I search for renowned bowhunters, I come across the name Fred Bear. Who was he, and who are other famous bowhunters?
Answer: In 1933, Fred joined a partnership that produced advertising materials for the automobile industry. During off hours, he crafted archery equipment for a growing circle of friends who appreciated his workmanship. Within six years, the archery business demanded Fred's full-time attention, and he launched Bear Archery Company.
Archery was a life-long passion. Fred was instrumental in promoting a bowhunting season in Michigan (1936). An expert marksman, he won the state's target archery championship in 1934, 1937, and 1939. He was a regular on the sports show circuit, inspiring experienced bowmen and novices alike with his natural shooting skills.
Fred remained active in designing products and promoting bow hunting until his death in 1988. He will be remembered always for his tremendous personal contribution to the sport he loved and a legacy of products that perform well above price.
A documentary on the bowhunting adventures of Art Young ignited a fire in Fred's imagination. Soon he was learning to craft his own bows, arrows, and bowstrings under the tutelage of Young himself. Fred was also one of the key players in helping found Pope & Young as one of the original founding members.
Question: Who is the Pope & Young Club named after?
Answer: For the name, the group went with two of the four notable men who started it all, Saxton Pope and Art Young. On January 27, 1961, Pope & Young became an official club. St. Charles was chosen to serve as chairman and the club's first president.
Question: I love to hunt with all tools that are allowed by law. What’s so great about bowhunting, and why do you need a special organization?
Answer: We are hunters first and appreciate all of the ways people are able to chase game. Bowhunting allows for a more intimate experience with the quarry. It’s all about seeing how close you can get. Many times, with a rifle or crossbow, the hunt is over at 100 yards. With a bow, you are just getting into the game at 100 yards, and are often within just few yards of your quarry. It’s not for everyone, but is special when you take the challenge, test your skills, and try your luck with archery equipment.
Question: Do I need to be a member to enter an animal?
Answer: It is not necessary for a bowhunter to be a member of the Pope & Young Club in order to enter an animal. The club’s records are open to anyone who legally takes an eligible animal. It is also not necessary for an individual to have an animal in the Records Program to join the Pope & Young Club.
Question: Why should I advance to Regular Membership?
Answer: If you're a passionate bowhunter, you want to be able to move up to join a group of like-minded peers to have a say about our future, and the future of bowhunting.
Question: How do I enter/pay for an animal?
Answer: Once the drying period has elapsed (at least 60 days), the hunter contacts one of the club’s volunteer official measurers to make arrangements to have the antlers/horns/skull scored. If it meets the entry requirements, then the bowhunter (typically with the assistance of the measurer) completes and submits the necessary paperwork to the club. The necessary paperwork includes the original scoring form completed by the official measurer, the Fair Chase Affidavit completed and signed by the bowhunter and a witness, 3 photographs of the antlers (a front view, left view, and right view), a field photo if available, and a $40 recording fee payable online, over the phone, or by sending a check to the Pope & Young headquarters. Once the club’s office accepts the entry into the records and processes it, then the final score becomes “official.” Once the entry is processed, the bowhunter will receive, among other things, a certificate suitable for framing that signifies the animal has been accepted into the club’s records. The entry is then listed in the next published record book and will remain in the Records Program archives for all time.