The Pope and Young Club officially certified the Clayton Miller ram as the new world-record Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
On Oct. 30, 2018, Clayton Miller set out to fulfill a lifelong dream of filling a big-game tag. The excitement of drawing a tag in itself would've left him satisfied, but no one could've expected the kind of success he experienced.
"I couldn't believe it when I got the phone call that my name had been drawn for the first and only bighorn sheep unit in the Badlands of South Dakota," Miller said in a press release. "I have been dreaming of the opportunity to draw a tag like this since I started applying religiously at the age of 12."
He was hunting in Pennington County with a bow when he shot the ram that recorded a final score of 209 1/8 inches. Miller's bighorn ram bested the previous Rocky Mountain ram world record--shot by Todd Kirk in 1998--by nearly 10 inches.
It's now the largest hunter-killed Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, according to both Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett.
"The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep is such an American icon," said Ed Fanchin, Records Chair for the Pope and Young Club. "To have the privilege to part of a Special Panel of Judges to authenticate its final score was a special treat."
Miller's record-setting harvest comes after successful restoration efforts that revitalized the bighorn sheep population in South Dakota.
"This is a true testament to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and a shining beacon of what can be accomplished with efforts and funds being dedicated to wildlife," said Justin Spring, Records Director for the Boone and Crockett Club.
The Pope and Young Club Convention in Omaha, Nebraska, will feature a display of Miller's world-record bighorn sheep.
The conference isn't until April, though, so we'll all have to make do with photos for now. Miller, however, will have memories to enjoy for the rest of his life.
"I went into this hunt knowing that there were some spectacular animals in the area," he said. "But it was beyond my wildest dream that I would be after the new Pope and Young World Record!"