April Achord of Lake George waited 12 years to draw a pronghorn tag and when she did, it ended up being listed in the Boone and Crockett Club’s 31st Big Game Awards.
Achord was born in Colorado Springs, but was raised in Woodland Park. She credits her father for getting her into hunting and sharing his passion with her and her brother. He also helped her develop into quite the avid horsewoman.
“Whether it was riding and competing in rodeos or being outdoors and hunting. Dad was a great influence and taught us to respect the wildlife we hunted and thank them for feeding us. Wild game is the best meat you can eat,” Achord said.
She and her husband, Gabe, met in elementary school and knew each other through mutual friends growing up. She admitted she always had a crush on him and when they started dating, they knew right away they were perfect for each other.
The couple were married in 2005 and moved to Lake George. Achord was familiar with the area after spending a lot of time hunting there as well as participating in the Lake George Outfitters and Gymkhana and roping competitions. They have two daughters, who are also learning to hunt and horsemanship.
Achord was thrilled to finally get a tag for a pronghorn. Her goal for hunting season was to just get one and enjoy spending the time in the field with her family.
They hunted for a few days and she missed the first buck they saw. “I was super bummed about that, but I guess he wasn’t the one I was supposed to get,” Achord said.
After looking for another buck, they came across another and he was bigger than the first. “He was wow, amazing, blew all the others bucks we had seen out of the water,” she said.
To her dismay, that buck was on private property, but they decided to just keep an eye on it and see if it would make his way to land where it would be fair and legal game. She returned the next day and the buck was still in the same area, fighting off smaller bucks. Achord decided to find out who the owner of the land, which was close to national forest land, was and to see if she could get permission to hunt on the property. She was successful in her quest.
On Oct. 8, 2019, when Achord was finally on the buck and ready to shoot, she was somewhat nervous, but kept telling herself, she could do it. The excitement was overwhelming and she was thinking about the amount of meat he would produce. She said after she shot, the animal ran a short distance and at first, she was concerned. When the buck went down, she was super excited and thankful.
What made the hunt all the better was that her husband and father were able to be a part of it, Achord said. Her youngest daughter and a friend’s son were also with her. “At the time, I really had no idea of just how big (the buck) was. We knew he was nice, but we are not trophy hunters,” she said.
They decided to have a shoulder mount done and took him to Brad Shaw at Still Life Taxidermy in Woodland Park. Shaw and his son helped them do a green score and discovered her pronghorn was exceptional. Through the coaxing and encouragement of Shaw and others, she contacted Boone and Crockett to get the process started of finding out where the pronghorn would score. The process took longer than usual through the pandemic and it was looking promising, but then there was a paperwork snafu and he had to be scored again.
Finally, in November, she received the official letter of recognition into Boone and Crockett. The pronghorn scored 83 and 4/8 points. Not only did the animal make it into the Boone and Crockett records books, but also the all-time records.
“I was shocked and so happy! I feel like by doing the process of having him scored and entered into the books gives my pronghorn the recognition he deserves. It was all luck and I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to get him and go through this process. My pronghorn hunt was an amazing experience,” Achord said.
According to the Boone and Crockett website, “A pronghorn with heavy 14-inch horns and four-inch prongs will score about 70 points and is a trophy no one need be ashamed of. If, however, a trophy qualifying for the current Boone and Crockett all-time records needs a minimum of 82.”
This was not Achord’s first hunt. She has been fortunate in bagging a couple nice Mule deer bucks, a 6 x 6 bull Elk and many cow Elk to help feed her family. “We don’t hunt to get a trophy, we hunt for the meat,” Achord said, adding she is in search of a good recipe for antler soup.
Achord is a devoted wife and mother, and is also an avid horsewoman having competed in gymkhanas, roping events, barrel racing and Little Britches Rodeo. She claims to have been riding before she was born and when she was around horses, she was riding. Achord is a competitor with America’s Mountain Barrel Racing and is on the board of the Lake George Outfitters and Gymkhana.
Her focus now is enjoying life and with her husband and passing on their passions, skills, and love of the outdoors to their daughters, Eva and Mina.
“I am just very thankful to be living the life I live and to be able to pass on everything to my daughters. My dream is to have them grow up to be talented horsewomen and skilled in the outdoors,” Achord said.
“As for my trophy pronghorn, I’m just lucky to have been in the right place at the right time. I was just happy to have the meat. He (the buck) was awesome and the biggest I had ever seen. To discover I had bagged a record trophy was icing on the cake and an unexpected, but welcome accomplishment.”