Record-Breaking Buck

Article excerpt

Jerry Simkonis has had a lot of success hunting whitetails over the years, as the multiple eight-points hanging on his walls attest. But he'd never before killed a deer like this one.

Hunting in wildlife management unit 2B -- that's as specific as he'll get -- this past season, Simkonis killed a monster buck that is all but certain to be recognized as a new state record. The 36- point non-typical rack had 21 points on the left side, 15 more on the right. It scored 2082/8.

The existing record, which has stood since 1988, scores 2033/8.

"It's certainly the biggest deer I've ever gotten, especially with a bow," said Simkonis, who lives in Washington. "And it looks like I've got the record, so I'm pretty happy about that."

George Block of Eighty Four, an official Boone & Crockett Club scorer, measured the rack. He said he's scored 70 or or more deer every year for the last 20 years, handling bucks from all over the country. But he's never seen one like this.

"A fantastic buck. It's probably the highest total score I've ever scored," Block said.

Simkonis got the buck through what he calls a combination of luck and skill. The landowner on whose ground Simkonis was hunting had seen the big deer just twice in two years, both times after dark. When he mentioned having seen a deer with at least 18 points, though, Simkonis set his sights on getting it, despite never having seen it himself. On the morning of Nov. 2, he got it after letting both an eight-point and a six-point wander by. He wasn't aware of just how big the buck was until it was on the ground.

"That was the first time I saw the whole rack. Then I really started shaking," Simkonis said.

The deer -- whose antlers are palmated in spots and spread out and then down, almost like a ram's horns in reverse -- was probably 3 1/2 or 4 1/2 years old, said Beth Fife, the Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer who aged the deer.

"It had some wear on its teeth, but nothing to get too excited about. It wasn't young and it wasn't old," Fife said.

The process of recognizing Simkonis' buck as a new state record should be fairly simple, said Mel Schake, information and education supervisor in the Game Commission's regional office in Bolivar. …