One old buck, five elk take new top spots in Pennsylvania Big Game Records

Brian Whipkey
Pennsylvania Outdoor Columnist

Pennsylvania is known for its wildlife and several new trophy animals have been entered into the Pennsylvania record book.

Bob D’Angelo, the Pennsylvania Big Game Scoring Program coordinator for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said Monday he’s seeing more deer and elk that qualify for the agency’s Pennsylvania Big Game Records book than in past years.

Bob D’Angelo, Pa. Big Game Scoring Program Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The agency keeps track of trophy free-range, big-game animals on its website, and each summer a book is produced of the trophy deer, elk and bear. 

One of the highlights this year is a new record whitetail typical buck with a firearm. While the buck was entered into the record system this spring, D’Angelo said it was actually killed in the 1960s. “We don’t have the exact date,” he said. For the PGC’s website’s software, they needed to write a year and 1968 was chosen.

This buck killed by Frederick Kyriss of Montgomery County in the 1960s is the new record whitetail typical buck with a firearm in Pennsylvania. It was scored this spring.

The trophy was harvested by Frederick Kyriss of Montgomery County who has since died. D’Angelo said the hunter’s widow provided the antlers to Bass Pro Shops who had it scored. At 202 7/8 inches of antlers and spread, it’s the new Pennsylvania record. The hunter just kept the antlers in his garage probably not realizing it was a record. “Most people back then just wanted the meat,” D’Angelo said about Kyriss not getting it scored or mounted.

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D’Angelo said Bass Pro has it on display in Missouri and made a replica of it for the Game Commission’s office in Harrisburg.

It tops the 189-inch buck taken by by Fritz Janowsky of Gillett in Bradford County in 1943.

The top archery typical whitetail buck record did fall a few years ago. It’s now held by Ronald Shaulis of West Newton, who shot a 184¼-inch buck in 2017 in Westmoreland County.

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“These big bucks are coming from all over now. You are getting them from the big woods counties. It really amazes me. I score a lot and for me to see a 140 class rack anymore is not an everyday occurrence but they are not rare anymore,” D’Angelo said.  He credits the antler point restrictions that went into place in 2002 as part of the reason why bucks are growing older and having larger antlers.

The state also had a new record size non-typical elk for the 2021 printed publication. Duane Kramer of Bellingham, Washington, tagged a 455-inch bull in 2020 in Elk County. 

Ian Craig of Harrisville shot a 400 2/8 inch bull this fall in Cameron County. It's the new non-typical elk archery trophy in Pennsylvania.

This fall after the book was printed, hunters broke four archery elk records. In the non-typical elk archery category, Ian Craig of Harrisville shot a 400 2/8 inch bull in Cameron County and Bowdy Gardner of Provo, Utah, killed a 379⅞-inch elk in Clearfield County. They topped the previous record of 372 6/8 that was in place since 2019.

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In the typical elk archery category, Christopher Sebulsky of Pennsylvania Furnace tagged a 381⅛-inch bull in Centre County and Arnold Metzger of Germansville arrowed a 374⅛-inch bull in Clearfield for the No. 2 spot.

“These records seem to be falling just about every year, recently,” D’Angelo said. “We have tremendous bulls” in Pennsylvania.

This year’s printed record book has about 5,100 entries in 10 categories, including 238 new trophies that were added to the records this year. The book contains 51 photographs of hunters and their trophies. It available online at huntfish.pa.gov for $12.95.

The Pennsylvania Big Game Records Book for 2021 published annually by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The categories and minimum inch scores for inclusion in Pennsylvania's book are: Typical White-tailed Deer Firearm, 140; Typical White-tailed Deer Archery, 115; Nontypical White-tailed Deer Firearm, 160; Nontypical White-tailed Deer Archery, 135; Black Bear Firearm, 19; Black Bear Archery, 17; Typical Elk Firearm, 300; Typical Elk Archery; 200; Nontypical Elk Firearm, 325; Nontypical Elk Archery, 275.

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Contact D'Angelo at rdangelo@pa.gov to enter a big game animal or for more information about the records program.

Brian Whipkey is the Pennsylvania Outdoors columnist for the USA TODAY Network.

Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA TODAY Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at bwhipkey@gannett.com and sign up for our weekly Go Outdoors PA newsletter email on your website's homepage under your login name. Follow him on social media @whipkeyoutdoors.