Pennsylvania Record Buck Hid in Garage for 60 Years

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

The top Keystone State typical whitetail was tagged by a rifle hunter in the 1960s, but few knew until now

The Frederick Kyriss buck was reportedly taken in the 1960s, and remained in a garage for more than a half century. Image by Pennsylvania Game Commission

The days of monster bucks going unnoticed are almost gone. With the advent of hunting magazines, digital outlets and social media, folks talk about big whitetails often — almost always. 

According to Bob D’Angelo, the Pennsylvania Big Game Scoring Program coordinator, and official Boone & Crockett Club scorer, few top-end deer fly under the radar. Many previously unnoticed big deer from decades past have been re-discovered and entered in the books during the past 20 to 30 years. One rack hid much longer than most, though. 

The Frederick Kyriss buck was shot in the 1960s but remained known only to locals. Fortunately, an antler collector noticed the 204-6/8-inch rack. It eventually found its forever home with a major retailer, which had the buck officially scored. The deer surpassed the previous state record typical — which had stood since 1943 — by 16-6/8 inches.

“The Frederick Kyriss buck’s antlers were obtained from Frederick’s deceased widow many years ago by an antler collector,” D’Angelo said. “[The retailer] has them displayed, and they made a replica of the antlers and donated them on a taxidermy mount to the Game Commission. We have the mount displayed at the Harrisburg headquarters. It did come as a surprise being it took this long for someone to bring it forth for official scoring.”

The Montgomery County buck is beyond impressive. It sports towering tines, long beams and good mass. It leads the Pennsylvania state-record typical category by a lot and ranks No. 5 in the world. To put that in perspective, you must scroll down to No. 33 to find the next buck from the Northeast, a 198-3/8-inch New York buck taken by Roosevelt Luckey in 1939. The next Northeastern deer is No. 73.

“The Frederick Kyriss buck is an incredible typical whitetail,” D’Angelo said. “There are only 10 bucks in the Pennsylvania records bigger, and those are all nontypical racks.”

The Kyriss buck is a truly exceptional typical whitetail. Image by Pennsylvania Game Commission

Although we’d love to know more about the deer, folks with the finer details have passed on. “No one from the Kyriss family survives today, but locals were familiar with Kyriss and knew about the trophy buck,” D’Angelo said. “They and Kyriss’ widow said he took quite a few big bucks from the property he had access to in Montgomery County, where he took the buck.”

D’Angelo said that although Kyriss reportedly killed many trophy bucks there, he was more interested in venison and cared little for racks.

“Most hunters nowadays are enthusiastic about having trophy deer scored because of social media, TV and the marketing of record programs,” D’Angelo said. “Back in Frederick Kyriss’ day, more hunters were just concerned with securing venison. I occasionally hear about someone taking a trophy deer who has no interest in getting it scored, but not often. There is much more exposure to trophy deer hunting, so it’s gotten to be a big thing with deer hunters nationwide these days. It’s possible there could be potential records out there still waiting to be scored, but not like it used to be.”

Regardless, one less monster buck lives in the shadows. It now shines for all to see, forever to live in record-book glory.

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