The selection committee had an easy time of it for the inaugural Ovis presentation. There was one person who stood out so dramatically that it made the selection an obvious one.
The recipient was MR. DONALD G COX of Detroit, Michigan. Don was born November 4, 1921, and married Barbara in 1941. Don was a First Lieutenant in the Army during WWII and was an accomplished multi-engine airplane pilot. He is a chemical engineer and began Specialty Steel Treating in 1956. It is an ongoing highly successful company that has grown to three plants.
His sheep hunting spans five decades, which began with an Alaska Dall in 1962. Just to mention some of his other North American rams, in 1968 he took a bighorn with Jim Babala in Alberta and completed his Grand Slam in 1978 with a Baja desert. His extensive world sheep hunting began when he went to Mongolia in 1972 and got an Altay argali. In 1975 he hunted in Iran and China. In 1979 he got a blue sheep in Nepal, and went to the USSR for the first time that same year.
The decade of the1980s was filled with hunting Asia’s wild sheep, as were the 1990s. In 2000 he took both an Oregon and Washington California bighorn. In 2001 he went to Siberia in search of a world record snow sheep but came away empty after extensive effort, as he would not settle for anything less than a world record.
Much of this hunting was done (especially in the earlier years) while developing Specialty Steel Treating in Michigan, and being a family man with wife Barbara and three children (Harold, Mary, Martha), and of course grandchildren.
Don is a conservationist, and has proven it over and over. In 1995 he worked with Dr. Thomas Bunch of the University of Utah and the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow to determine if the Severtzov sheep of Uzbekistan was a urial or an argali. This was chromosome work and required living samples. The first trip’s tissue samples failed. Don was undeterred and went back a second time, all at his own expense. Additional samples were secured, and Don, along with the Russian Academy of Sciences, was successful in helping prove that this sheep is an argali, with 56 chromosomes, and not a urial as had been thought for many years. He has also funded and heavily supported extensive scientific work on Mongolia’s argalis, Siberia’s snow sheep, and all the different sheep species and subspecies of China, and continues to do so each year. He is very interested in scientific work to help prove the true taxonomy of the world’s wild sheep.
His extensive collection of big game trophies has been placed at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, which has the largest collection in the West. He won the Weatherby Award in 1989 and SCI’s International Hunting Award in 1990, having taken some 340 big game animals. He is the only person to have taken 40 or more different species/subspecies of wild sheep. To date, he has taken a total of 75 rams.