SCI Ignited This Hunter’s Great Passion

In my early 20s, I took what I would describe as my first real trophy. It was a handsome Texas white-tailed deer that I shot with a longbow on a low-fence property. I was excited to enter it in the “book,” which to me as a bowhunter meant the Pope & Young Club record book. At the time, I was oblivious to the existence of SCI and the SCI Record Book.

As I waited for the 60-day drying period to pass, a local taxidermist unofficially measured my deer and gave me a total score. It was an old nine-point buck with long tines and a nice spread, so scored quite well. I eventually had it measured for the Pope & Young Club book and was quite surprised by the difference in score.

Suffice to say, the measurer quickly educated me on the difference between gross score and net score. At the same time, he told me about the SCI scoring system, which uses gross score versus net score. He encouraged me to join SCI and submit my entry.

The measurer gave me a completed SCI scoresheet. I filled out a membership application, bought a money order, and sent them both in the mail. Not long after, I received a certificate for the entry and began to receive the SCI publications. I was completely fascinated by everything I saw in the publications — so many animals and countries I had never heard of!

The following spring I received a personalized copy of the annual SCI Awards Issue. On the cover, it showed that I qualified for the Top 10 Award at the Copper Level. I felt that was quite special, so I called in, gave my credit card number and received a nice acrylic trophy.

In my free time, I reviewed in detail the awards issue, and I began to understand the breakdowns provided by the awards for continents, similar species and other distinctions. I researched and learned about animals and places that had previously been unfamiliar to me. Ultimately, I charted a course for what was to become my greatest passion.

Twenty-five years later, this passion has taken me on countless trips to each continent, with hunts in almost every country that allows bowhunting. Along the way, I had life-changing experiences and made lifelong friendships — the type of friendships that can only be made around a campfire in a wild place.

Beyond bowhunting, my 25 years of membership in SCI have taken me from a young man chasing deer and javelina close to home, to a fully committed bowhunter and conservationist. Through SCI and the SCI Foundation, I have learned much more than I ever dreamed about hunting and conservation. My initial hunting focus evolved into a conservation focus, as a result of all I learned as a member. All of this because I took an old nine-point buck and entered it in the SCI Record Book.–Ricardo Longoria

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