Ovis Awards 

2009: Butch Kuflak

2009 OVIS recipient Butch Kuflak shares a moment
with Rick Taylor, the artist that created the OVIS bronze.

2009 Ovis recipient Butch Kuflak can’t hide the elation as he receives the beautiful Rick Taylor Bronze from fellow GSCO board members Hugh Jacks (L) and Dale Martin (R).

Butch Kuflak grew up on the sandy shores of southern California. As a young man, his only hunts were for bathing beauties and beach volleyball. Butch still can’t resist a good doubles match, and in 2003, he walked away as champion of the Hoffy Gold division at the 33rd Gillis Invitational. But one day, on a whim, some friends invited the 20-year old to go hunting. Little did they know that this would be the start of a lifelong obsession.

A few years later, Butch saw his first full-body sheep mount in a sporting goods store and declared, “I want to hunt that!” The rest is mountain hunting history. Butch’s obsession with sheep hunting began to heat up in 1991 when he took a Dall ram with Stan Simpson in NWT. And in 1992, Butch took a desert bighorn in South Baja to complete his first Grand Slam. He referred to this hunt as “one truly great adventure.” In hindsight, it would become one of many.

By 1993, Butch had succumbed to one of the most severe cases of “sheep fever” ever documented. He returned to South Baja in February for his second desert sheep in as many years. In August, he rejoined Guy Anttila for another Stone ram to complete his second Grand Slam. He was drawn for Alaska’s Area 14-C and hunted his fourth Dall sheep in August, as well. And by October 7th, he was braving a snowstorm in Wyoming for his third Rocky Mtn. bighorn. Through the snow and fog, Butch Kuflak had taken his fourth ram of 1993.

Several people have completed a Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep from start to finish in a calendar year, but Butch Kuflak is the only person to have done so four times – the first in 1993, again in 2001 and in 2003, and most recently in 2007.

After completing his 1993 Grand Slam, an emotional Butch Kuflak admitted, “What a lucky man I am. I never started out to do this. It just all came about.”

His North American hunts are almost too numerous to mention. To date, Butch has taken 12 Dall, 12 Stone/Fannin, 9 Rocky Mtn. bighorn, 2 California bighorn and 12 desert rams. He is the only person to have ever taken 11 Grand Slams of North American Wild Sheep, and with one more bighorn it will be an even dozen.
Butch has not confined himself to the North American continent. Since 1996, he has traveled extensively in Asia and Europe, completing his Ovis World Slam in 1999. Among his most memorable trophies are his three argalis from Mongolia and an impressive Marco Polo argali from Tajikistan.

His quest for the Capra World Slam actually dates back to an American Mtn. Goat taken with Guy Anttila during his 1987 hunt. He completed his Capra Slam in grandiose fashion by taking all four Spanish ibex in 2006, which also completed his Triple Slam.

Butch has never stopped hunting North American sheep, but neither has he slowed his pursuit of international mountain game. He completed his Ovis World Slam Super20 in 2006 and his Capra World Slam Super20 in 2008.

Of much more importance, Butch Kuflak is a devoted sheep conservationist in every sense of the word. His charismatic enthusiasm is at the forefront of the many conventions and banquets he attends, and he can often be seen lending a hand wherever needed. Butch has provided GSCO with research information from Mexico to Alaska, and is always available when a member has a question about sheep. Over the years, Butch has also contributed many hundreds of thousands of dollars toward wildlife conservation —through donations, as well as purchasing hunts and special tags at auctions, and an untold number of raffle tickets.

Butch is a member and life member of numerous hunting organizations. He has contributed an immeasurable amount of time and resources. As a matter of fact, Butch has been on the Board of Directors of GSCO since 1995. His contributions to GSCO are also immeasurable.

He has come a long way — from the beaches of his youth to the pinnacle of mountain hunting. To date, Butch has taken an amazing 47 North American rams. When you add his International sheep to that number, the ram count reaches 62. Of the Capra mountain animals, Butch has an additional 20. Therefore, his total number of mountain animals compares to and exceeds any other mountain hunter. Truly he is a most worthy recipient of the Ovis.

Butch Kuflak with a Karaganda argali taken in 2003.

Butch (c) poses with (L-R) GSCO board member
Dale Martin, previous OVIS recipients Rex Baker,
Tom hoffman, Bob Speegle, Archie Nesbitt,
and GSCO board member Hugh Jacks.