RIDGWAY - At the Summit Lodge and Grill on Monday, a packed house of about 200 hunters and enthusiasts gathered for the conclusion of the 7th annual Big Buck contest.
Food and drink were served and those in attendance took the opportunity to get reacquainted with old friends and perhaps make a few new ones. Many talked shop, recounted memorable hunts from this season and ones past and debated the finer points of rifle and bow hunting.
The Boone & Crockett scoring system was presented by Elk County Ammo & Arms in St. Marys, which was one of seven official weigh-in stations in Elk and McKean counties where hunters could take their bucks to be scored. In addition to Ammo & Arms, other official scoring stations were: St. Marys - The Daily Press and St. Marys Beverage; Ridgway - The Ridgway Record and Today's Carpet and Furniture; Wilcox - Wilcox Tannery House; Kane - The Kane Republican; and Lantz Corner - Allegheny Crossroads.
Coder said the theme of this year's contest was, "Large or small, we want them all," and area residents were encouraged to enter the contest and be eligible to win great prizes regardless of their deer score. The winner of the Mentored Division went to 7-year-old Luke Ely. Ely won with a Boone & Crockett Club score of 106.75. Ely received a prize package that includes a head mount by Whitetail Country Taxidermy in St. Marys.
In the Youth Division,15-year-old Theo Carlson won with an 8.5-point rack. Carlson received a prize package that includes a head mount by Conner's Taxidermy of Penfield.
Finally in the Adult Division, which saw 96 entries this year, Steve Piurkoski of Ridgway took second place. Jacob Washburn of Ridgway took first place, which included not only bragging rights but a prize package worth over $8,000, including a head mount compliments of Cessna's Taxidermy of Penfield.