Killing Of 700-Pound Black Bear Sets North American Hunting Record
A bow hunting organisation in New Jersey claims a 700-pound black bear killed last autumn has set a new world record as the largest black bear to be killed with a bow and arrow in North America.
The Pope and Young Club said the bear’s skull, shot in Morris County on October 14, measured 23 5/16 inches; surpassing the record set by Californian hunter Robert J. Shuttleworth Jr, of 23 3/16 inches, in 1993.
This new record was announced after a special judging panel was assembled in Harrisburg on February 8, during the Great American Outdoors Show, a nine-day event which celebrates hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.
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NEW POPE AND YOUNG WORLD RECORD On Saturday, February 8th, the Pope and Young Club convened a Special Panel of Judges in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the Great American Outdoors Show, for a potential P&Y World Record Black Bear. Jeff Melillos’ massive bear scored 23 5/16 and is now the largest bow-harvested black bear in North America. The bear was shot in Morris County, New Jersey, on October 14th, 2019. Measurers present at the Special Panel were (pictured L to R) Dan Lynch, of Pennsylvania, P&Y Director of Records, Eli Randall, Terry Mollett of Pennsylvania, and Timothy Walsh of New Jersey. With a final score of 23 5/16, Jeff’s bear was confirmed as the new P&Y World Record Black Bear. This bear surpasses the previous World Record shot by Robert J. Shuttleworth Jr., taken in Mendocino County, California, on September 4th, 1993, with a score of 23 3/16. "It has been an inspiring journey, to say the least,” said Jeff Melillo. “New Jersey, my home state, has its First-Ever World Record Animal! Many years ago, I read an article in Outdoor Life Magazine stating that the New World Record Black Bear will most likely come from New Jersey. They were spot on, and I never doubted it for one second. I'm very grateful that I get to be a part of all this. Pursuing bears with bow and arrow is a passion of mine. I’d also like to recognize the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife for the outstanding effort they put into the management of New Jersey Black Bears. The dedication from our biologists, technicians, and Conservation Officers, make this all possible. I'd also like to give a big thanks to United Bow Hunters of New Jersey. Their organization had a lot to do with getting a bowhunting season for New Jersey black bears. Without their efforts, I would not be writing this." You can see the life-size mount of this incredible animal at the P&Y Annual Convention in Virginia, March 26th- 28th, as part of the Bass Pro/Cabela’s Trophy Tower. The largest display of World Record, North American, bow-harvested, big-game animals ever assembled. For Convention Information, go to https://www.pope-young.org/convention/default.asp
Hunter Jeff Melillo said:
It has been an inspiring journey, to say the least. New Jersey, my home state, has its First-Ever World Record Animal!
Many years ago, I read an article in Outdoor Life Magazine stating that the New World Record Black Bear will most likely come from New Jersey.
They were spot on, and I never doubted it for one second. I’m very grateful that I get to be a part of all this. Pursuing bears with bow and arrow is a passion of mine.
The bear’s body has been preserved through taxidermy and is set to be put on display at Virginia’s Pope and Young Annual Convention in March.
Records Director for the Pope and Young Club, Eli Randall, has described the bear’s skull as being ‘the heaviest I had ever seen’:
I knew I was going to be looking at an impressive Black Bear skull, as it was officially measured at over 23 inches and weighed in at 700 pounds.
I was not prepared for the amount of mass the skull possessed, not only was the skull huge, but the bone structure was the heaviest I had ever seen.
New Jersey’s black bear hunt has proven divisive in recent years. During his campaign, Governor Phil Murphy promised to put an end to the black bear hunt and implemented a bear hunting ban on state lands in 2018. A complete ban is still being sought by The New Jersey Sierra Club, according to CBS Philadelphia.
New Jersey’s black bear hunt was reintroduced in 2003 to a bid to control the growing bear population after an almost 30-year-long hiatus. A total of 315 bears were shot and killed during 2019’s hunting periods.
Bear hunters in New Jersey argue that hunting is part of a conservation effort, which helps reduce dangerous interactions between humans and bears.
However, many conservation experts perceive this narrative to be false, pointing out that there are many non-lethal ways to prevent such interactions, including using bear-resistant garbage cans, and making sure not to leave food out for bears.
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