Bruce Keller, Big Game Hunter
Bruce Keller, Big Game Hunter
Bruce Keller began hunting when he was 12 years old. He hunted for the love of the outdoors, the animals he pursued and the unique people and places he met along the way. More than 40 years later, those same passions still drive his pursuit of big game worldwide. During his early years of life Bruce Keller followed his father and uncle through the woods as they pursued indigenous game in his native state of New Jersey. The killing of his first deer fueled his desire to make hunting a lifelong passion. His uncle was one of the world's greatest bow hunters and was very important in getting Keller into International hunting.
Bruce Keller has journeyed to more than 40 countries on all six continents and collected big game animals on almost 200 guided hunts. He has shot more than 250 different species, including the super 20 in both orvis and capra, the big five of Africa and most of the SCI slams and inner circles at the platinum level. Keller has been very active in conservation and youth education organizations, since the late '70's, severing on the board of SCI for over 13 years and he is a life member. He also finds time to be involved with the NRA, FNAWS, Dallas Safari Club as well as being a member of Shikar Safari Club International.
His proudest contribution to hunting was in 1992 when he founded the SCI Youth Hunter Appreciation Program, which was run at his ranch in Texas for the first two years. Keller recently was honored with the 53rd Annual Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award - the highest honor in hunting.
"By creating a program to teach young people to hunt, I was able to repay in a small way the sport we love so much and has meant and given so much to me," said Keller during his acceptance speech.
"I've never hunted for awards," Keller said. "I've always hunted a lot because I love to hunt, especially unique species in unique areas. I like seeing places like Chad, Romania and Ghana. A large part is the people you meet and the places you see. I love that aspect. The Weatherby is such an honor for me because of the past winners. It's just a huge honor, and it is surreal to be mentioned with the past winners."
Keller said throughout his hunting career, he accumulated many species that pushed him into consideration for the Weatherby award. And when his mentors, including Bob Speegle, told him he should consider putting his name out there, Keller was apprehensive.
"I didn't think I was of that caliber," Keller said. "It wasn't my desire to be considered for 10 or 12 years. I was very fortunate to win some other prestigious awards, but you have to really work for the Weatherby. You have to hunt for the hard animals. I've hit it hard the last three or four years, and was blessed with some great hunts."
Keller said even though the anti-hunting community always will be pushing to stop the life he loves, organizations such as Safari Club International, Shikar Safari Club and Dallas Safari Club are invaluable to protecting hunters' rights.