Beginning July 1, hunters who kill a trophy elk, black bear or pronghorn antelope in Oklahoma will be eligible for the state Wildlife Department’s Cy Curtis Awards Program.
Since 1975, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has recognized deer hunters who bring home a trophy buck in the state through its Cy Curtis awards.
Named after the former state wildlife biologist credited the most with restoring Oklahoma’s deer population, the Cy Curtis awards are similar to the national hunter recognition program operated by the Boone & Crockett and Pope and Young organizations.
However, the minimum scores that qualify for the Cy Curtis record book generally fall between the scores required by Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett, said Jerry Shaw, programs supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
That allows for more Oklahoma hunters to be recognized for trophy animals that might not qualify for the national record books.
The Wildlife Department currently keeps a Cy Curtis record book which is also available online that lists details about the deer, the hunter and county where the buck was killed. Hunters also receive a Cy Curtis certificate recognizing their trophy animal.
Shaw said the Wildlife Department will begin accepting new applications for the Cy Curtis record book beginning July for black bears, elk and pronghorn antelope and it will be retroactive.
“There was some discussion to accept them only going forward but we decided to take all comers,” Shaw said.
The process of getting a bear, elk or antelope entered in the Cy Curtis record book will the same as for whitetail and mule deer, except hunters will be required to call the Wildlife Department and schedule an appointment, Shaw said.
“We got a lot of guys ready to score whitetail and mule deer,” he said. “Not so many ready to go for bears, elk and antelope.”
Eventually, a list of Wildlife Department personnel who will be certified to officially score bears, elk and antelope will be published on the agency’s website, Shaw said.
Shaw said he doesn’t have any idea how many hunters will apply for Cy Curtis recognition with bears, elk or antelope. Currently, there are only 20 mule deer listed in the Cy Curtis record book, he said.
“I don’t know if we are going to be similar to those number or if these first few months we are going to be going gangbusters and putting a bunch of animals in,” he said. “We don’t really know what is out there hanging on walls.”