With the major portion of the deer hunting seasons about over, our annual deer take survey from local deer processors and a taxidermy shop shows a healthy population of 8-point bucks, a favorable accomplishment since antler restrictions went into effect in Pennsylvania.
At Hartman’s Butcher shop in New Tripoli, Mr. Hartman said they no longer take deer in for processing, but merely process the boneless meat into specialty cuts. But he did add that some local hunters told him that because of the rainy months we had, the swamps that would produce deer, the deer were not there because the swamps were flooded. So deer were scarce. As an added, note, he said a customer captured a 300-pound bear on his trail camera the day after Christmas on his property near Leaser Lake. Guess that bruin didn’t go into hibernation.
Lazarus Market in Whitehall, reported they received a lot of 8-pointers for processing, most of which averaged around 180 pounds field-dressed. But they did process one that tipped the scales at 200 pounds.
Fable’s Deer Processing in Slatington, said they took in a bit more archery shot deer this year than during the rifle season. Jeremy Frable said that was probably the result of the first week of rifle season being off because of the rainy weather. But overall, they had lots of 8-pointers and a few 12-pointers with one field dressed at 200 pounds.
Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield reports taking in somewhere over 100 antlers to mount. This year he had a 50-50 split between archery to rifle deer season on incoming racks. And most of the antlers were 8 and 10-pointers with one heavy 11-pointer that had a 20-inch wide main beam. He judges rack size by mass and width as opposed to points. As he says, “Although it’s a 10-pointer, it doesn’t mean it’s big, especially if it can fit inside the hood of a jacket.”
But if you want to talk big deer, how about the 38-point buck that was arrowed in Edgar County, Illinois on Nov. 2, 2018. Bowhunter Luke H. Brewster of Edgar County, said his gigantic buck had an estimated green score of 311 but after the 60-day drying period, it officially scored 320 5/8. His buck, according to Boone & Crockett (B&C) and Pope & Young (P&Y) club scoring methods, was only the 5th hunter-taken non-typical whitetail to exceed 300 inches in history. When verified, it will be the third largest non-typical whitetail in B&C and P&Y World’s Record Books.
According to Eli Randall, director of Big Game Records for P&Y, “Putting Luke’s deer in perspective, this deer could surpass our current World Record that has stood for 18 years by more than 20 inches. The current P&Y World Record was taken in 2000 by Michael Beatty from Green County, Ohio. It scored 294 points.”
Brewster’s buck had a gross typical frame of 151 5/8 with 178 3/8 inches of abnormal points. After an accepted entry score, all potential World Record entries for each organization are verified by a panel of official measurers. And a panel of B&C and P&Y measurers is being scheduled next to verify the bucks’ measurements.
B&C scores are for firearms taken animals whereas P&Y are for big game that is harvested with a bow and arrow. For more information on both conservation organizations check www.boone-crockett.or and www.pope-young.org.
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Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.