Clarion County Man Beats the Clock to Bag Trophy Buck

CLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – Michael Buzard may not be a deer hunter who fanatically chases big bucks, but last fall he bagged one of the biggest ever taken in Pennsylvania.

Buzard, 51, a Fryburg resident, had the antlers officially scored by Pa. Game Commission on Thursday, January 18, and the rack turned out to rank No. 7 on the non-typical archery list in Pennsylvania.

Buzard’s buck scored 198 1/8.

“I am definitely not a trophy chaser, we love the meat, and we process our own deer,” Buzard said. “I like to get out into the woods for any reason.”

According to Pa. Game Commission, it bases its Big Game Scoring Program after and uses the measuring system of the well known Boone & Crockett Club. The Boone and Crockett Club was founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt and a group of his close friends. Due to the club’s efforts to promote fair chase hunting and implement game laws and regulations, many big game animals were brought back from the verge of extinction.

Scoring and keeping track of big game animals is important because harvesting a record book animal brings to attention the excellence of habitat and wildlife management practices that produce healthy wildlife populations.

The scoring program also stresses hunter and conservation ethics and is another tool that promotes recreational hunting and supports Pennsylvania’s strong hunting heritage.

While the monstrous buck may not have been a fascination for Buzard, it was for other area hunters.

Chris Kerle, who owns Chris’ Tire Service in Shippenville, is an avid bowhunter, and he had a trail camera photo of the big buck from 2013.

“We had never seen it on any of our trail cameras,” Buzard said. “People knew it was around, but it was rarely seen.”

When Buzard decided to take a few hours to hunt deer the afternoon of Wednesday, October 25, he knew it was going to be the last time he’d be in the woods for a while.

Buzard – who is a full-time Emergency Medical Technician with Clarion Hospital EMS and part-time with Shippenville-Elk Ambulance Service – was going to have surgery the next day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.

Buzard’s morning was not spent in a tree stand, either. Between his two jobs, he had worked 24 hours the day before, and he slept in. Then, he picked up his son and granddaughter and was off to Kmart at noon to pick up his wife before taking lunch to his 95-year-old grandmother.

“We enjoyed eating lunch together, then (I) got ready to go out hunting,” Buzard said. “My son Shane wanted me to hunt with him and his father-in-law in the Knox area, but the last time I had hunted there, I had pulled a bunch of ticks off me, so I wasn’t in a hurry to return there.”

Another important factor Buzard considered was with his ailing knee; he couldn’t use his climbing tree stand.

So, the choice to hunt on the family property, owned by his mom and stepdad, was an easy one. It has been in the family for a long time, and it was where he had bagged his first deer long ago.

“There is a stationary tree stand there that we use, and I could get into that one,” Buzard said.

It was raining lightly when Buzard got settled in his stand at about 3:30 p.m. for just the third time that season.

About 10 minutes later, the big buck and another one came into sight, chasing some does. With the mating season for white-tailed deer hitting its peak, big bucks sometimes let their guard down during daylight hours as they seek does to mate.

“He broke away from the other deer and came up a logging road, raking trees the whole way,” Buzard said. “He put on quite a show. I probably watched him for 30 or 40 minutes before I shot.”

Buzard had put out a scent stick with “doe-in-heat” lure on it near his tree stand that he hoped would attract a rutting buck.

While the buck didn’t get extremely close, it came within about 35 yards of Buzard, then stopped and turned broadside, affording a good shot.

Despite the size of the buck’s antlers, Buzard never got rattled, and when he fired his crossbow, he made a perfect, double-lung shot that also clipped the heart. The deer dropped didn’t travel far before dropping.

Buzard called his son before he got out of his stand to tell him about his success.

“I told him it was the biggest buck I’ve ever got, but he told me he had just got into his stand and didn’t want to come over just yet,” Buzard said. “But, when I got over to the deer, I took a photo and texted it to him. At that point, he just said ‘I’m coming,’” Buzard said.

When his son and his father-in-law reached him, the celebration started.

“We were all amazed once we realized just how big the rack was,” Buzard said. “I called my friend, who also happens to be a taxidermist, and we went over and showed him. We went around to family and friends, showing them the buck. It was quite the night.”

Buzard’s son put the photo of the giant buck on Facebook, and it didn’t take long for the word to get out.

“Ed Waite from Buckmasters in Ohio contacted me about the buck. He was in DuBois that weekend hunting with friends, and he came over Sunday and scored it for me. It was 220 7/8 at that point,” Buzard said.

“It’s something to get one like it, but it’s not why I hunt. I just love being out in the woods. We love hunting deer, but I’m still trying for my first bear.”

According to a story on wideopenspaces.com, the biggest white-tailed buck ever taken by a bow hunter occurred in 2000 in Greene County, Ohio. The antlers scored 294. The biggest, known, non-typical antlers belonged to a buck in St. Louis County, Missouri. They measured 333 7/8.

The odds are that Buzard may have used up his good luck on ever bagging a buck that big again, but hopefully, that elusive bruin is right around the corner.


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