HARRISBURG – Do you have a Pennsylvania deer, bear or elk that you think might make the official big game records for Pennsylvania? If so, you’ll be glad to know that, in June, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will be conducting big game scoring sessions across the state, where hunters may bring in their deer antlers, elk antlers or bear skulls to have them officially scored.
“Over the years, scoring sessions were typically held every three years, but because of budget constraints, it’s been six years since the last scoring session,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “Also, thanks to the antler restrictions implemented in 2002, the chances of a buck living long enough in Pennsylvania to grow a trophy-sized rack are better than ever before.
“For these reasons a couple changes from past scoring session procedures have been made.”
Roe noted that, for this measuring session, hunters are required to rough score their trophies first, to see if they at least come close to established minimum scores for the various categories. If they’re within 10 points of the minimum for the specific category (or within one-inch for bear), then consider making plans to bring the trophy in for an official measurement.
Blank score sheets may be downloaded from the Game Commission Web site by clicking on “Hunting” in the left-hand column of the homepage, selecting “Pennsylvania Big Game Records” in the list of categories and then scrolling down and choosing the appropriate score sheet.
Score sheets also may be obtained by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Pennsylvania Game Commission, Big Game Score Sheets, Dept. MS, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110- 9797. Be sure to specify which score sheet you want: white-tailed deer, typical or non-typical; black bear; or elk, typical or non-typical.
In order to be considered for Pennsylvania’s Big Game Records, minimum scores – including the margin of coming within 10 points (or one inch for bear) – for the various categories are: 130 for typical whitetail taken with a firearm; 105 for typical whitetail taken with archery; 150 for non-typical whitetail taken with a firearm; 125 for non-typical whitetail taken with archery; 18 for black bear taken with a firearm; 16 for black bear taken with archery; 290 for typical elk taken with a firearm; 190 for typical elk taken with archery; 315 for non-typical elk taken with a firearm; and 265 for non-typical elk taken with archery.
For purposes of Pennsylvania big game records, harvests using a crossbow or a muzzleloader are counted in the firearms categories.
Once hunters rough-score their trophies and come within 10 points of the minimum for the specific category, they should then contact the region office where they would like to take their trophy to be assigned a specific time to bring the antlers or skull during the scheduled measuring sessions.
To ensure appropriate staffing to fulfill requests, reservations will be accepted, in the order they are received, until 30 days prior to the event in each of the six regions. Following are the dates and locations, as well as phone numbers for each of the region offices.
Southwest Region: June 21 and, if necessary, June 22, at the Southwest Region Office, 4820 Route 711 in Bolivar, Westmoreland County. Calls for reservations will be accepted through the Region Office (724-238-9523) from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Southeast Region: June 21 and 22; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, just off Hopeland Road, two miles south of Kleinfeltersville, Lebanon County. Calls for reservations will be accepted through the Region Office (610-926-3136) from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Southcentral Region: June 28 and, if necessary, June 29; McConnellsburg American Legion building, McConnellsburg, Fulton County. Calls for reservations will be accepted through the Region Office (814-643-1831), Monday-Friday.
Northwest Region: June 14 and, if necessary, June 15, Rocky Grove Fire Hall, 29 Wood St., Franklin, Venango County. Take Route 417 North from Franklin, and make right at blinking light. The fire hall is on the left. Calls for reservations will be accepted through the Region Office (814-432-3187).
Northcentral Region: June 21 at the Northcentral Region Office, 1566 South Route 44 Highway, Jersey Shore, Lycoming County; and June 22, at the Red Fern Inn, along Route 255, across from the Country Fair Convenience Store and next to Wal-Mart, St. Marys, Elk County. Calls for reservations will be accepted through the Region Office (570-398-4744) from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Northeast Region: June 21 and 22, at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds, Route 118, Dallas. Calls for reservations will be accepted through the Region Office (570-675-1143) from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday-Saturday.
Roe noted that any hunter who has had his or her trophy measured by a certified Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young measurer can simply mail a copy of the official score sheet (both sides) to: Pennsylvania Game Commission, Attn: Big Game Records, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797. These trophies will then be added to the Pennsylvania Big Game Records.
Started in 1965, the Pennsylvania Big Game Scoring Program is sponsored jointly by the Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association. It was developed to showcase the truly outstanding trophies that have been taken in the Commonwealth.
“As the results of the past 13 measuring sessions have shown, Pennsylvania is home to outstanding white-tailed deer and black bear,” Roe said. “There is no doubt that this will continue to be the case after the upcoming measuring sessions are held and, this time around, we’ll add elk to the list of big game records.
“Even if you don’t have a qualifying trophy to bring in, a big game scoring session is still a great event to attend.”