How To Join The Grand Slam Club Ovis!
Africa may have its “Big 5” but North America has the “Super Ten”! These are the ten unique species of animal that are found across Canada and North America.
Chris Maxwell: Hunter and feature editorial writer
These animals also represent a flavour of everything this continent has to offer in terms of hunting. Anyone who has harvested an animal from each one of these species will have experienced a little taste of all of them. With each subspecies included there are twenty-nine animals in all. From the Arctic tundra to the deserts of Mexico to the rain forests of the West coast, a hunter can experience a wide variety of climates, cultures and experiences not found by any other type of pursuit. ‘The Grand Slam Club Ovis’, headquartered in Birmingham Alabama, actively documents hunters that have reached this milestone. For some this is a lifetime goal and one that is achievable by any hunter of average means.
The Icon of the American west once flourished across the great plains of North America but is now limited to ranches with only a handful of wild herds still remaining. British Columbia and Alberta furbish the only wild herds in Canada, while a handful of free-range herds can be found in various parts of the United States.
Also known as the mountain lion, this is North America’s big cat. With mature toms reaching in excess of 180 lbs this animal is one of our apex predators. Typically a cougar will be hunted with the aid of hounds but on rare occasion can be called in by a patent hunter.
Recognizable by long twisting horns this species calls home some of the most beautiful country in the West. Alpine meadows with jagged cliffs utilized as escape terrain is where you will find this animal. Although not a tough animal like elk, sheep are considered one of the most difficult animals to hunt. In pursuit of the ten species of North American game, the sheep is usually the most difficult to acquire due to limited availability of tags as well as the cost associated with the hunt and finally the habit of the mountain sheep, which is often some of the toughest mountain terrain in North America.
Some of the most precarious cliffs the mountains have to offer are home to the Mountain Goat. With short black horns and a pure white coat this animal is a highly sought after prize. And while Europe sports many varieties of Capra, the Mountain Goat is also the only goat to be found here in North America.
Commonly found in the foothills and mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains. Recognizable by long sweeping and heavy antlers, an elk is a must for every hunter’s trophy room. With a heavy bone structure, proper shot placement is essential, along with a few good buddies to help pack out the meat. Elk are readily available in the lower 48 as well as the Canadian West. This is one species that should be on every hunters bucket list!
Perhaps the most under rated big game animal in North America, the Caribou truly is the symbol of the Canadian North. While most hunters have never actually seen a caribou unless it was on the back of a Canadian quarter, they are truly a magnificent species, great table fare and hands down the best value per inch of antler there is.
Bears can be found in abundance across the continent. Bears primarily feed on plants, roots and carrion and depending on the sub species can exceed 1000lbs! The most commonly hunted bear is the Black bear and may be found across Canada in and most of the United States. The Black Bear is affordable to hunt and is usually the second or third species a hunter takes.
Another Great Plains animal, the Antelope is a remnant of when North America was still joined to Africa. Characterized by yellow fur with black horns sticking straight out the top of its head the Antelope is commonly known as the Pronghorn. This species is found in abundance in the United States; however opportunity in Canada is limited to southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. As well as being the fastest animal on the continent, its small body structure makes the Antelope a challenging pursuit for any hunter.
Massive body structure and large panning antlers make up the anatomy of a moose. Often found in boggy or marsh type terrain, the moose can be a challenge to hunt. Typically a small boat and a few strong buddies need to come along when pursuing a moose. Although the moose is most commonly found in wet, swampy conditions in the US, it should be mentioned that some of this species can also be found in much drier mountain and even alpine conditions in some areas of Canada and the US North West.
Perhaps the most adaptable species on the planet deer can be found from Alaska to Mexico, East to West Coast and everywhere in between. There are five subspecies of deer with the Whitetail being the most recognizable and common. For most hunters their first animal will be a deer, with more products, television shows and other gear catering to this species it isn’t hard to see the importance of this species to the North American sportsman.
While the pursuit of the Super Ten may not be for everyone it is a great goal for those who want to travel, hunt and see many parts of the country that you may not otherwise have cause to visit. Many of the species above, I had never thought about before and frankly wasn’t that interested in pursuing. However, after I started reading about them I became very interested and once I became interested I wanted to hunt them. And once I hunted them I was thankful I did!