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  • by Steve Sorensen | The Everyday Hunter®

"Houdini" — The Story of Pennsylvania's New Top Typical Archery Buck!

You may have heard stories about the Keystone State's new record buck. It was taken on public land in 2017, and now sits atop the record book in the typical archery category.

It's a beauty, but like many record book bucks, it's controversial. What's the real story? What objections have people raised? Why was the story controversial? And what did the hunter do RIGHT that confirms the hunt happened the way he said it happened? I address these questions and more in the December-January issue of North American Whitetail magazine.

No matter what you think, here are a few facts that need to be understood:

(1.) Record books aren't perfect in everyone's eyes, nor can they be. No record book is an expression of unanimity. For a variety of reasons, every record book includes animals that some people object to, or excludes animals that some people think deserve a place. Some include bucks that came to light decades after being shot. In some cases, a great buck surfaces with the story, "Grandpa shot this buck back in '33, but we're not sure where!" Or "Uncle Bill got this rack from his brother-in-law. We don't know his name, but he shot it around '42 up in the big woods."

(2.) The Ron Shaulis 2017 buck has far more documentation — and credibility — than that, and Shaulis doesn't deserve the grief he has received by the public sharing of his story. His hunt has no hint of being unethical, and he made every effort (a lot more than most hunters would make) to do right by this tremendous buck.

(3.) The critical details of the story of the Shaulis buck were confirmed with public officials. You may disagree, and that's your prerogative, but it's nothing more than that. It's time to admire a great public land buck taken by fair chase, and congratulate a hunter who refused to give up his search.

It was my privilege to write the complete story. I've tried to pin down all the details, answer all the questions that might arise, and give this buck his due. I hope the story will clear up confusion, and that readers will form opinions based on facts. Check it out in the December-January issue of North American Whitetail magazine, on the news stands now.

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