The New Pennsylvania Archery Record Buck

All through the summer of 2017 Ron’s eight trail cameras were busy recording the pictures and patterns of three good bucks in Forbes State Forest in Westmoreland County, east of Pittsburgh. The trouble was that once hunting season started neither of the two bigger bucks were showing themselves in the daytime in front of Ron’s trail cameras, and the only buck he was seeing while hunting was the smaller 10-point. The Hunt for a Monster Buck Of course, no one thinks a miss is lucky when it happens, but Ron’s luck became obvious later when the mature bucks started getting restless. At first the deer was leaving plenty of blood, but after following it for about 125 yards the blood was getting difficult to find, so he texted a buddy who was hunting about a mile away. Even after the archery season came to a close Ron never gave up. That’s when he started seeing deer hair. It was 41 days into the search when Ron Shaulis finally walked up on his buck, or what was left of it — the spine, the head and the massive antlers. It was just big. In Ron’s case, plenty of trail camera photos and the word of a couple of friends he let in on his quest to find the buck, plus a detailed account of the hunt and the recovery, was enough to confirm that he was indeed the hunter who arrowed the new state record for typical archery bucks. The gross score was 193-3/8 inches; after deductions the net score was 185-4/8 inches.
Ron Shaulis holds the antlers of his record-breaking typical whitetail deer, that he shot with a compound bow on Oct. 24, 2017. Left to right: Official Boone and Crockett Club scorer Ray Brugler, Ron Shaulis and Game Commission Big-Game Scoring Program Coordinator and official B&C Club scorer Bob D’Angelo. (Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Game Commisson.)

Ron Shaulis of West Newton, Penn., is not a lucky hunter. His success comes from hunting hard and putting in his time. But once in a while luck plays a role for any hunter—as it did when he missed a nice 10-point.

One of many trail-camera photos that Ron Shaulis has of the record buck. (Photo courtesy of Ron Shaulis.)

All through the summer of 2017 Ron’s eight trail cameras were busy recording the pictures and patterns of three good bucks in Forbes State Forest in Westmoreland County, east of Pittsburgh. Ron knew the three bucks well—a mature 10-point, a taller-tined 10-point and a huge monster. The trouble was that once hunting season started neither of the two bigger bucks were showing themselves in the daytime in front of Ron’s trail cameras, and the only buck he was seeing while hunting was the smaller 10-point.

The 10-point was a good buck by anyone’s standards, so when the buck tempted Ron with a 20-yard chip shot he decided to take it. Luckily the arrow sailed over the buck and into the dirt.

The Hunt for a Monster Buck

Of course, no one thinks a miss is lucky when it happens, but Ron’s luck became obvious later when the mature bucks started getting restless. On October 24, 2017, the huge buck finally showed himself during shooting hours – but this was only the beginning of the story.

Ron was on the phone with his wife, Elizabeth, when he spotted the big buck coming in from 50 yards away.

“He came quartering to me with his head down, and when he got behind a big beech tree I reached for my compound bow. At full draw I waited for him to step out,” Ron recalled. “At 32 yards the buck looked over his left shoulder, exposing his right shoulder and neck. That would be my only chance, so I let him have it where the shoulder meets the neck and I watched the green Lumenok disappear into him.”

Ron thought he had a good hit, but the hunt was far from over. He let some time pass before picking up the blood trail. At first the deer was leaving plenty of blood, but after following it for about 125 yards the blood was getting difficult to find, so he texted a buddy who was hunting about a mile away. After talking about the situation, Ron decided to go by the rule, “When in doubt, back out.”

The next morning Ron was in the woods bright and early. He found blood on both sides of the deer’s trail, but just a speck…

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