kyriss buck pennsylvania state record
Pennsylvania Game Commission

The Record-Shattering, 200-Inch Buck Bought at a Yard Sale

Here's how a deer killed in 1968 broke a state record in 2022.

There are big bucks, and then there are really big bucks. And the Kyriss Buck is a really big buck. So big, in fact, that it may be Pennsylvania's biggest buck of all time. Killed back in the 1960s, the massive buck was only rediscovered recently, knocking out the previous Pennsylvania record holder in 2022.

Buckle up because the story is long, twisted, and full of holes.

It all started sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s, when Frederick Kyriss of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, killed an enormous, 15-point typical buck. There was no fanfare, no celebration, and no talk of possible broken records. Kyriss simply tucked the antlers away in his garage, where they gathered dust with the rest of his collection of locally harvested deer. The story of his hunt was never recorded, and Kyriss died in 1993. The antlers disappeared from history.

The Kyriss Buck Re-Emerges—Then Disappears

Until the year 2000. Luke Alderfer was driving through the backroads near Evansburg State Park in eastern Pennsylvania when he came upon a garage sale. With time on his hands, he pulled over to see if he could find any treasures.

Nothing at the sale caught his eye, but a glimpse of some antlers inside the barn did.

Inside the barn were 30 to 40 sets of antlers. And some of them were more than a little impressive. Alderfer told North American Whitetail that "Most of them were in the 130-to 140-inch range, but a couple may have pushed 180 inches non-typical. Those were big antlers to me. However, there was one set — a monstrous 7x6 typical — that really stood out. I'd never seen a set of whitetail antlers that big in my life."

Alderfer approached the woman running the sale, who happened to be Frederick Kyriss' wife. According to her, the antlers were taken from local deer, including 7x6 typical.

Mrs. Kyriss offered to sell the antlers to Alderfer, but only if he bought the whole collection. Alderfer agreed, heading to town to get more cash.

But when he returned, the entire collection was gone. Someone had beat him to it.

The antlers disappeared for nearly twenty years after that day, supposedly lying in the back room of a small antique store near Boytertown, Pennsylvania.

PA Game Commission Buck Rack

Frederick Kyriss' 15-point buck, shot in the 1960s shattered Pennsylvania State Records in 2022.

A Massive Buck Rises Again

They finally came back to light in 2018 when the Pennsylvania Trappers Association held its annual rendezvous at the Perry County Fairgrounds in Port Royal. On the morning of the rendezvous, a vendor had to go back to his car to grab something. As he was headed back, he noticed a man walking across the parking lot toward the building entrance. That in itself was nothing unusual. However, the massive antlers the man was carrying were very unusual.

Curious, the vendor approached the man and began asking questions. The man had apparently purchased the antlers, which were indeed the Kyriss antlers, from an antique shop that was going out of business in Boyertown. The price? An eye-popping low sum of $40.

Once the rest of the vendors caught wind of the antlers, a few more offers for purchase were put out. One vendor offered the man $100, which was accepted. And, hilariously enough, the antlers were sold again at that show, this time for $200.

The Kyriss Buck Finally Gets Scored

Finally, the rack caught the attention of Andre Beaudry, an official Boone and Crockett measurer from Quebec, who gave them an official score. The Kyriss buck earned a 219 2/8 gross typical score and a net score of 202 7/8, according to the Boone and Crockett scoring system. That placed it firmly in the top spot for the Pennsylvania state record and also among some of the best bucks of all time. The main beams were over 26 inches long, and the G2s and G3s over 13 inches; the left side alone scored 102 3/8. It is just a massive, incredible buck.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced the new state record in spring 2022. It obliterated the previous by nearly 14 inches, which was set by Fritz Janowsky in 1943. The buck finds itself in extremely rare company in the world of big whitetails: only a handful of wild whitetails have ever netted over 200 inches with Boone and Crockett.

What's more, there's a chance the buck lost some length in its antlers drying for that long. In fact, North American Whitetail speculates the deer could have beaten the John Breen buck back when that deer was the world record in 1918. We will never know for sure.

Regardless, the Kyriss buck has now rightfully taken its place in the top spot in the Pennsylvania Big Game Records book, which is published annually by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. It is now under the ownership of Bass Pro Shops and has been transferred to a head-and-shoulder mount.

If you're wondering how the buck could sit in obscurity for so long, it's actually not the first time that has happened. The John Breen buck from Minnesota sat for years before being officially scored, as did the famous "Hole-in-the-Horn" buck from Ohio. Sometimes, deer simply do not get the recognition they deserve until many years after the fact.

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