Any sheep is a trophy, but Tony Loop’s is a trophy. His desert bighorn could very well be the new world archery record, beating out the current record by seven inches or more if its gross score holds.
Loop, a bowhunter from Appling, Georgia, was hunting in Arizona last November when he and his guides came across the large ram in a canyon. He climbed above the sheep, ultimately taking his shot at 30 yards. The arrow founds its mark, hitting it between the shoulders and exiting through the front of its chest. The mountain monarch ran 100 yards and piled up on the edge of the canyon’s rim.
“As we knelt beside the big ram and admired this great warrior, I was overcome with both joy and sadness,” Loop told the Pope and Young Club. “He was majestic in every sense of the word.”
Loop and his guides named the ram Horseshoe, applicable for both its horn shape and the canyon in which they found it.
Loop’s ram is poised to beat the standing record by as much as seven inches. The current world archery record was shot in 2013 by Brian Benyo, measuring an impressive 179 3/8 inches. Loop’s initial entry score was 186 4/8 inches, 7 1/8 inches more than Benyo’s. While Horseshoe’s mandatory drying period and panel judging still lie ahead, this could certainly be the unofficial world record desert bighorn.
Horseshoe now goes to the P&Y biennial recording event, scheduled for April 5-8, 2017, at the club’s convention and awards banquet in St. Louis, Missouri. All the potential records killed between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2016—more than 100 animals—will be officially scored there by a panel of certified judges, with the animals on display as part of the club’s 30th Biennium Big-Game Trophy Exhibit.