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Bush & Crick

Minersville Man Takes Down Massive Bear on Recent Hunt

It took 6 men to bring the bear out of the woods!

Minersville hunter Joey Brennan was on his stand during archery season when he spotted two bucks on a ridge behind him. He used his grunt tube, hoping to lure the bucks into range.

“But suddenly they both took off,” Brennan said. “I heard something come blowing down the hill, and it was a huge bear.

“The bucks must have smelled it, and they didn’t like it,” he said. “The bear stopped about 35 yards from me. I drew my bow and took the shot.”

The shot was perfect. The huge bear raced away about 50 yards and died in a creek.

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“I knew it was really, really big,” Brennan said. “And it was an all-day affair to get it out.”

Pennsylvania Game Commission officials at the bear check station weighed the bear at 547 pounds dressed weight. They estimated the bear’s live weight at about 645 pounds. The officials had to struggle to pull a tooth from the bear, which will be examined to determine the bear’s age.

Bears are scored according to their skull size, with 17-1/2 inches being the minimum score for the animal to qualify for the Pope & Young record book. The P & Y does not accept animals taken with a crossbow; Brennan shoots a compound bow.

The preliminary skull measurement, done by taxidermist Shannon DeWalt, Skook Skulls, put Brennan’s bear skull size at over 21 inches. The measurement won’t be official until the skull has dried for 60 days.

At that time, the bear’s rating in Pennsylvania state records, as well as the P & Y Club records for compound bow kills, will be official. Pennsylvania state records for bear
taken with archery equipment is a minimum score of 17 inches.

“I’d been archery hunting for years but in 2016 I went to Andrews Archery (a Mathews Archery dealer) in Frackville and Dave Andrews got me set up,” Brennan said. “I was shooting better than I ever had been and my confidence level was really good.”

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“I always seem to see bears when I’m archery hunting, so I always get a bear tag in case I have the opportunity,” Brennan said. “But this was my first bear.”

Brennan’s hunting buddy, Mark Antonelli, hopes it’s his last. Antonelli, who’s been seen doing one-man, two-arms carries of washing machines and dryers, said moving the bear was a major undertaking.

“After all we went through to get it out, I never want to shoot a bear or be involved in getting a bear out of the woods,” he said. “It was a real treat getting it out of the woods.”

In fact, it took six adult men to help with the bear recovery. The huge bruin had a tag in each ear, showing that it had been trapped as a problem bear two different times, from two different locations.

How Will Brennan’s Bear Stand in State Records?

Bob D’Angelo, Pennsylvania’s Big Game Scoring Coordinator, said that the Pennsylvania Game Commission keeps archery records, but does not separate crossbow and compound bow harvests.

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“The record bear in the archery category scores 22-9/16. There are three other bears in the archery category that go over 22 inches. There are 13 that go over 21 inches,” D’Angelo said. “In the state records we include any archery equipment in the archery categories. In other words, crossbow harvests are included in the archery categories for both deer and bears.”

D’Angelo said that to be entered in the Pennsylvania Big Game Records for bears, the skull size minimum is 17 inches. Brennan’s bear will easily qualify; just where it will rank will be determined after the drying period.

According to current records, including all archery equipment, the bear that ranks #25 scores 20-9/16 inches. Interestingly, two bears that rank in the top five were taken in Schuylkill County:

RankFirst NameLast NameHometownHunt LocationKill YearScore
4CraigMoyerNew RinggoldSchuylkill201922-02
5GarryMillerMc ConnellsbgFulton201521-15
7MarkPowersJersey ShoreClinton201721-14
8William LBishopWoodlandClearfield200821-11
10HeathBromleyOil CityVenango201521-09

Joey Brennan, who’s a drag line operator at Blaschak Coal, is proud to have taken such a large bear, one that will definitely qualify for a listing in the Pennsylvania Big Game Scoring Trophy Records. But that’s not all he likes about the experience.

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He had the bear processed at Mease Meats, Pine Grove.

“Everything I got, jerky, roasts, steaks, I absolutely love it,” he said. “I had a buy a big freezer, but that’s okay.”

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