Pennsylvania’s elk season has come and gone, and once again many area hunters did well at filling their freezers and collecting trophies.
One-hundred eight licenses were awarded. Twenty-seven hunters got bull tags, 81 cow tags. Final details on how many elk were killed and who got what aren’t yet available. Elk season ran through Saturday, but the latest tally available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission accounts only for elk harvested through the end of Thursday.
Not every hunter who took an elk gave the commission permission to announce that, either. Nineteen hunters chose to remain anonymous.
But some things are known.
Of the 73 elk taken as of Thursday, 37 were taken on private land, 36 on public land. At least three were taken without the aid of a guide.
The bull with the most antler points was a 10-by-7 taken by Robert Baker of Worthington in Armstrong County. It had an estimated live weight of 851.5 pounds.
Four hunters — including one woman, Deborah Hill of Bangor — took 8-by-7s. Raymond Lawrence of Seneca, Venango County, got an 8-by-7 with an estimated live weight of 747.5 pounds, and David Condie of Pittsburgh got another that weighed 737.1 pounds.
At least four bulls — not all were put on a scale — had estimated live weights topping 800 pounds. The heaviest fell to Mark Colt of Ligonier. He shot a 7-by-7 weighing 872.3 pounds.
Keith Akam of Waterford, Erie County, took a 5-by-7 that was 780 pounds, and Jonathan Palisin of Hermitage, Mercer County, took a 7-by-6 with an estimated weight of 668 pounds.
Many area hunters harvested cow elk. Francis Fisher of Kittanning took a 566-pounder, Dean Zisek of Yukon a 507-pounder, Jason Dooley of Monongahela a 446-pounder, Kerry McClanahan of Chicora a 429-pounder, John Gould of Aliquippa a 406-pounder, Dale Markle of Slippery Rock a 260-pounder and Harry Pizzingrilli of Allison Park a 204-pounder.
In the meantime, at least one of the three men accused of shooting three elk illegally in Clearfield County in September is going to jail.
Frank Gordo Buchanan Jr., 25, of Bellefonte was sentenced to spend up to 18 months in the Clearfield County Jail and pay more than $20,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to poaching the animals. The largest bull was a 10-by-9 whose rack scored 432 7⁄8. That would have ranked it as the third largest taken in Pennsylvania.
Court documents show Buchanan told Game Commission officers he hoped to sell the animals’ antlers on eBay.
The monetary portion of his penalty includes $9,550 in fines and $11,500 in replacement costs for the poached elk, two of which were classified as trophy-class animals.
The other two men facing charges in the case waived their rights to preliminary hearings. Cody Allen Lyons, 20, of Milesburg and Jeffrey Scott Bickle, 46, of Bellefonte will appear in Clearfield County court Nov. 19 for their formal arraignment on charges.