Since the Big Game Banquet back in 1981 and every two years since then the Big Game Committee has awarded to one or two individuals the honor of Bowhunter of the Year. These individuals were recognized sometimes for excellence in bowhunting, other times for accomplishments over a period of time, and often simply for an individual’s continuing contributions to the California Bowman Hunters Big Game Club, but always because the membership and the Big Game Committee respected the extraordinary work and efforts of the recipient.
Selecting a Bowhunter of the Year proved to be a difficult task. Voters were torn between honoring a bowhunter for his accomplishments or for an overall archer and their contributions to the sport.
A new award was needed to honor those persons who have dedicated their lives to the support and advancement of archery and bowhunting. A recipient would not be required to be a legendary bowhunter, but quite often a person’s ability to be an ambassador to the sport has a lot to do with their reputation. In other cases, the desire to be a great bowhunter is there, but Lady Luck may not have blessed some of us with the skills and ability to fill up the record book with trophy animals.
In 1999, the Big Game Records Committee voted to begin the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to honor those members who have worked so tirelessly to promote and support California bowhunting.
Rodney York conceived this most prestigious bowhunting recognition for the state of California – the Whitney-Hill Award. This award was named after the highest mountain in California, Mt. Whitney, and one of archery’s finest marksmen and bowhunters from California – Howard Hill. Both of these icons stand tall above all that surround them. The mountain and the man represent the highest levels of achievement that California has to offer. The Big Game Committee adopted the Whitney-Hill Award in 1983.