Shooting the bull at the Dancing Moose

Heinz Naef with his record-setting antlers were on display at the Dancing Moose during the Trek.

Heinz Naef with his record-setting antlers were on display at the Dancing Moose during the Trek.

Story & photos
by Dan Davidson

The big draw at the Dancing Moose in Dawson City on Saturday, March 8 was Heinz Naef’s set of bull moose antlers. Visitors from the Trek Over the Top tour packed the Front Street between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to gaze at the massive antlers and have their pictures taken with them, or have Naef pose standing between them.

The Dancing Moose is selling a line of t-shirts with a photo of Naef and his friends with the antlers, bearing the logo “Size Does Matter”.

Naef shot the moose last September at the point where the Stewart River meets the Yukon River. He was hunting for the meat, which was a substantial prize from an animal weighing 560 kilograms (1250 pounds).

He wasn’t concerned about the antlers at the time. As several press stories have related, it was only later that he was persuaded to pay closer attention to their size, which he measured to be 75 and 1/4 inches (191 centimeters) across at the time.

Visitors enjoyed posing with Naef’s antlers.

Visitors enjoyed posing with Naef’s antlers.

He decided to submit his antlers to the Boone and Crockett Club to see if they qualified for record status. In the end he took the rack to Reno, Nevada, where it was examined by five different judges, who determined that it was a record breaker.

Published reports indicate that it was bit bigger than Naef had thought. Boone and Crockett has a system for evaluating antlers. Naef’s moose beat the previous record, held by John Crouse, of Soldotna, Alaska by two points. The previous record was set in 1994.

“There’s five different measurements on here,” Naef said, pointing them out on the antlers, “and they all add up. It’s not inches no more, it’s points. The length gets measured; the thickness gets measured; it’s complex.”

The antlers measure 75-5/8 inches at the greatest spread. The left side has 17 points and a palm measuring 17-5/8 inches wide by 51 inches long. The right antler has 19 points and a palm measuring 23-6/8 inches wide by 50-7/8 inches long. The antler circumferences are 8-4/8 and 8-7/8 inches on the right and left sides, respectively.

That makes a total of 263 5/8 points on the Boone and Crockett scale.

“The antlers weighed in at 94 pounds,” said Naef. “He was quite impressive coming at me.”

What will happen to the antlers now that the judging is done? There are a couple of things.

“We’re going to make a replica and put it in the Visitors Information Centre,” Naef said.

As for the original, he says it a matter of economics.

“A lot of people want to buy it.”

He’d like it to go to some museum.

“I wouldn’t sell it to a private collector.”

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