New England hunters are proving to be some of the country’s best, a fact that is being underlined by the fact that 30 New England sportsmen will be awarded Boone and Crockett distinction this June at the 27th Big Game Awards.

Trophy hunting has been a growing trend over the past 30 years and over the past three years has shown no signs of slowing down. According to Boone and Crockett, trophy entries have risen 400 percent over the past three decades, including nearly 3,000 entries since 2007 alone.

When the Boone and Crockett Club publishes it’s upcoming 27th Big Game Awards book, which lists trophy big game hunted from Jan. 1, 2007 through the end of 2009, it is going to show just how good New England hunters are. Out of nearly 3,000 entries in the book, New England hunters make up 30 of those.

The New England state that gets the bragging rights above the others for trophies is none other than Maine, which recorded more than half of the 30 entries with 16. Vermont hunters had seven of the trophies while Connecticut and Massachusetts sportsmen accounted for three each and New Hampshire had one.

The top five specimens from each of the big game categories will be honored at a public exhibition in Reno, Nevada, at the Grand Sierra Resort, from June 22-26. The event is open to the public.

The Boone and Crockett Club recognizes 30 big-game categories, including bear (Alaska brown, black, grizzly, and polar), bison, caribou (barren ground, central Canada barren ground, mountain, Quebec-Labrador, and woodland), cougar, deer (Columbia blacktail, Coues’ whitetail, mule, Sitka blacktail and whitetail), elk (American, Roosevelt’s and tule), moose (Alaska-Yukon, Canada, Shiras’), musk ox, pronghorn, Rocky Mountain goat, sheep (bighorn, desert, Dall’s, and Stone’s), and Pacific walrus. In addition, the antlered game each has a classification of typical and non-typical.

Representing Connecticut in the book are three whitetail hunters, all having taken typical bucks and all in 2008: Christopher Belisle (172 1/8 points), Paul Johnson (160 2/8) and Mark Tutolo (160).

From Maine, the whitetail hunters from 2008 were Stephen Jay (176 5/8), Steven Little (163 5/8), Erik Sorensen (163 2/8) and the lone deer trophy from 2007, Foster Meserve, Jr. (162 5/8). Maine’s Canada moose were all taken in 2008 and were hunted by Ralph Miller, Jr. (209 1/8), Timothy Nelson (193), Michael Collier (189 5/8) and David Paape (185 2/8). Maine also claimed five trophy black bear, all in 2008, by Shane DuFresne (20 12/16), Joshua Callahan (20 7/16), Judy Drissel (20 7/16), Brady Haynes (20 4/16) and Paul Critean (20 4/16).

In Massachusetts, typical whitetail and black bear were the name of the game. In 2007, Fernando Cristina took a trophy buck (163 2/8), as did Dead Porter (162 7/8) in 2008. In 2008, Robert Wint took a black bear (20).

The lone trophy from New Hampshire came in the Canada moose category and was taken by Wayne Stevens (195 3/8) in 2007.

Vermont was well represented, but all in the black bear division. In 2007, Kyle Farnham (20 1/16) took his trophy while the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club (21 5/16), Scott Rawson (20 4/16) and Mathew Johnson (20 2/16) each took theirs in 2008. The lone 2009 entry and only double winner from New England came from Vermont as well with the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club’s black bear (20 points).

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