July 19, 2021
By Gordon Whittington
Symbolizing the pinnacle of achievement in North American bowhunting, the Pope & Young Club's Ishi Award is a special honor indeed. And now, for the fifth time in the club's 61-year history, it has been given in recognition of a world-record archery whitetail.
At its 32nd Biennial Convention in Reno, Nevada, P&Y presented the award to Luke Brewster for the 327 7/8-inch non-typical he arrowed in Edgar County, Illinois, on Nov. 2, 2018. In earning this honor, the Brewster buck becomes the second Prairie State buck thus recognized. Mel Johnson's 204 4/8-inch typical, shot in Peoria County in 1965 and still the world record in its category, was the first.
The only other whitetails ever recognized with the Ishi Award are Del Austin's 279 7/8-inch non-typical (Nebraska, 1962), Mike Beatty's 294 0/8-inch non-typical (Ohio, 2000) and Sergio Orozco's 130 1/8-inch typical Coues whitetail (Arizona, 2001).
The idea for the Ishi Award goes back nearly to the foundation of P&Y, which was chartered in 1960. Archery legends Glen Mauch, Glenn St. Charles, Fred Bear and Chuck Kroll came up with the concept as a way to honor the most special big-game trophies taken by bow. Bear and Kroll designed the award, incorporating select-grade rosewood the former donated specifically for that purpose. A special obsidian spear point knapped by Jim Ramsey adorns each plaque, which has an engraved plate showing the hunter's name, as well as the category of animal, its score, location and kill date.
Ishi was in many ways one of the founders of modern bowhunting. The Yahi Indian taught California bowhunters Art Young and Saxton Pope, namesakes of the club, how to make and use traditional archery tools. Although Ishi lived only five years after coming into contact with white society in 1911, he made a lasting impression on the men who would in turn inspire others to take up bow and arrow in pursuit of North American big game. It's only fitting that the award for exceptional bowhunting achievement is named for him.
To read more about Luke Brewester's buck, be sure to check out our other web articles listed below: