Bbzbig It’s official! The Keystone State’s new No. 1 non-typical bow-hunting record belongs to Gerald Simkonis whose 36-pointer received an official score of 208 1/8 inches. It easily surpasses the former bow record set 20 years ago by Allentown hunter Craig Krisher.

Simkonis, of South Strabane in Allegheny County, was hunting private land in Wildlife Management Unit 2B when he arrowed the buck. Is this guy hard-core or what? The 53-year-old Simkonis began his bowhunting career when he was just 12 and lived in Luzerne County. He moved to Allegheny County six years ago to accept a job as a contractor at the U.S. Department of Energy’s tech lab in Pittsburgh. Dscf1505_3

“One of the reasons I took the job is that Allegheny County has so many entrants in the record book,” Simkonis says. “There’s still a lot of farms out here and if you pitch in and help them bale hay, they’ll let you hunt.”

Simkonis had been hunting the giant buck for three years—without ever having laid eyes on himNew Pennsylvania Record Buck

Dscf1512_3“The landowner told me that there was a nice deer on the property and it looked like it had 18 points,” Simkonis says. “I got interested in that, but he’d only see him like one night each year, right around the breeding period.”

Last fall, was time to push the issue. When the rut kicked in, the hunter hung a stand—right in the middle of a poison oak thicket! He paid for it with a rash on his arms and legs, but on the morning of November 2 his hunch paid off. The giant weighed 181 pounds. Great hunt, Gerald!

—Gerry Bethge