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The Triple Trophy Award is reserved for those who harvested an antlered deer, black bear and wild turkey in a single license year.

Photo by Charlie Burchfield

Fall is a season of change. This year things have been a bit different. The lack of rainfall across the northern tier has affected streams and leaf color. Not what most expect when compared with years’ past.

Yes, conditions, especially with respect to weather, have been “different” so far this fall. And for archers there is a welcome change that will take place this year.

Last season while perched in his tree stand a hunter thought a deer was closing in on his position. In a matter of seconds his anticipation of a whitetail quickly changed as a black bear came into view. Quickly the bow in hand was replaced with a cell phone in the video recording mode. Worth the price of admission we like to say, however a no go with the bow. That was last year.

With the exception of several Wildlife Management Units, archery season opened statewide on the 30th of September and will continue until the 11th of November, with a few exceptions. So what’s the big deal you ask? In a word, overlap.

This year archery season for black bear begins on the 30th of October. Again, there have been a few exceptions in several Wildlife Management Areas where the archery black bear season is already taking place. What this means is that during the overlap period an archer can take a buck and if properly licensed can also harvest a black bear or an antlerless deer. How about that! But there is more.

With the general hunting license hunters are provided with a fall turkey tag allowing the harvest of a hen or tom. This presents another “overlap” opportunity depending on the Wildlife Management area being hunted.

Talk about an opportunity. No doubt a number of hunters have recognized the hunting season structure. And no doubt those who did were quick to schedule vacation time to take advantage of the situation.

For archers the short timeframe and overlap season presents archers the opportunity to fulfill the requirements of the triple trophy award.

In 1966, the PA Game Commission created an award called the Triple Trophy Award for those who harvested an antlered deer, black bear, and wild turkey in a single license year.

A certificate was awarded to those who fulfilled the requirements.

The program continued for six years then was abandoned in 1972. However the PGC maintains its Big Game Record Book which is updated on an ongoing basis.

The Game Commission bases its current and ongoing Big Game Scoring Program on one that is used by the Boone & Crockett Club.

The 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.

To enter a big game animal or for more information about the Game Commission’s Big Game Records Program, contact a Boone & Crockett Club certified scorer or the coordinator of Pennsylvania’s program which is Bob D’Angelo. He can be reached at rdangelo@pa.gov or call the Game Commission Harrisburg Headquarters, 717-787-4250.

Big-game hunters who are listed in the Pennsylvania record book will want to bag a new patch recognizing their membership in this exclusive fraternity. The Game Commission patch is available only to those trophy owners who have a listing in the record book.

Funds derived from the sale of these patches will be used to support the Big Game Scoring Program, including enabling the holding of periodic scoring sessions.

With respect to the Triple Trophy Award program, the concept has informally been kept alive. After all, harvesting the trio of game species is not an easy task. In most cases it is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

To bridge the gap from the PGC’s program to the present, in 2014 PA Triple Trophy Unlimited was formed.

James Wolfgang, the organization’s founder noted that the organization’s goal is to revive the program and reestablish the true meaning and honor the Triple Trophy deserves for future and past sportsmen. In addition to the Triple Trophy program, also recognized are the Grand Slam and the Royal Slam.

Successful hunters can gain more information online by going to http://www.patripletrophy.com. PA Triple Trophy Unlimited also maintains a dedicated Facebook page.

Wilderness Editions have been publishing fine art prints and collectibles since 1991. From trout to big game, artist George Lavanish has a knack for placing oils on canvas in his own unique style. And that includes his eye catching rendition honoring PA’s Triple Trophy.

To set Lavanish’s Triple Trophy art print above the rest, he produces stamps and collectable patches honoring the Triple Trophy. All are offered individually, however when the trio are matted and framed together, they provide an outstanding tribute to PA’s Triple Trophy achievement.

Call for a brochure or more information at (814)686-1965 or check out Lavanish’s work on his web site at www.wildernesseditions.com.

As in the past, gun and archery hunters have been successful in a single season to have taken the state’s most prized big game species. However, to do so during the early part of the season and especially within the “overlap” timeframe, the task becomes even more of a challenge.

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Charlie Burchfield is an active member and past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, an active member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, Outdoor Writers Assoc. of America and the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers. Gateway Outdoors e-mail is GWOutdoors@comcast.net

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