I have just read “Give an Inch” in the summer 2018 issue of African Hunting Gazette. I agree with your disdain for those who “chase the inch,” but Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game is not a book for inch-chasers. I know, as a publisher, that space is limited in a magazine, but I hope you will publish this letter and allow me to mention a few items possibly overlooked in the editorial.
Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game lists all animals whether they are shot by a hunter, owned by a game department, picked up, or even if killed by a car. Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game lists the animal on the left side of its pages, thus placing the animal first and the hunter later. Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game has entries with “Anonymous” and “Name Removed by Request.” Rowland Ward does not have separate categories for bow-, muzzleloader-, and handgun-hunted game. In short, the animal is honored, and it does not matter if it was hunted; indeed, multiple world records in Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game are pickups.
Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game will not accept animals from fenced areas unless those animals came from self-sustaining, breeding populations that do not receive year-round supplemental feed. The “hunt” for a particular animal cannot be preordained; thus, this excludes from Rowland Ward any ear-tagged animals that are shown on photos before the “shoot” begins. Rowland Ward will not accept buffaloes, lions, leopards, or any other predators that have been shot from behind a fence, nor do we have categories for color-phased animals or darted animals. Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game will not accept any introduced (“exotic”) animals from behind a fence. I could go on, but I encourage you to read our “Guiding Principles,” which state all of the above in greater detail. Our guiding principles have been on our website for several years now.
You mention the influence of America on big-game hunting, and I would like to respond with the following: It is widely accepted that free-ranging game herds in North America that produce top-of-the-record-book antlers or horns are considered healthy, are a good sign of well-managed populations, and a clear indication of sustainable conservation at its best. Game animals don’t grow those world-record antlers/horns unless environmental conditions are optimal.
Finally, it should be noted that Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game has been in existence since 1892, so I think the game breeding that started in Southern Africa in the 1990s can hardly be connected to our record book since the genesis of the two are a century apart.
Please keep publishing your interesting and thought-provoking magazine; I enjoy every issue.
Ludo J. Wurfbain,
Editor, Rowland Ward’s Records of Big Game