White-tailed Deer Buck
Getty Images, David McGowen

Teen's Buck Breaks Women's Crossbow Record in Pennsylvania

The 16-year-old watched the deer for years before taking him down with her crossbow.

Pennsylvania native Autumn Pierwsza brought down a monster of a buck this month with her crossbow, breaking the women's crossbow state record. And she did it at only 16 years of age.

The high school junior first spotted the massive whitetail buck on a farm while climbing a treestand in 2021. She immediately froze, but it was too late: The buck had seen her, and he high-tailed it back into the forest. Neither Autumn nor her dad, Erik Pierwsza, spotted him again in 2022.

But trail cameras set up at the farm (where Erik works) showed that the animal was still in the area. They tracked the buck this year, patterning him using trail camera photos and preparing for their opportunity. Erik checked the weather constantly, looking for their window. And on Oct. 9, with the wind conditions just right, Autumn and Erik headed out to see if they could bring down the buck.

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This time, when the buck stepped out into an open field, Autumn was more than ready for him.

Autumn had already taken eight bucks with a crossbow, and this 12-pointer was to be her ninth. Her arrow struck the buck, and he turned and ran into the woods. She called her dad, certain that she'd gotten a good hit. Erik, Autumn, and Autumn's younger sister Allysa decided to give the buck some time and headed home as night fell. They waited two hours before returning to the farm to recover the buck. They found Autumn's arrow, but there was minimal blood and no trail to follow. There was some question as to whether Autumn had hit the buck as well as she did.

Nonetheless, Autumn led her doubting family into the woods, where they soon found her buck lying just inside the tree line, a mere 100 yards from where he had been shot.

While Autumn and Erik knew she'd scored a big buck, it wasn't until friends encouraged them that they decided to have him scored. Will Leonard, an official scorer with Buckmaster's (using a different scoring system than Boone & Crockett), scored the buck at 184 7/8 inches.

The score puts Autumn in the No. 1 spot for a buck taken by a woman with a crossbow, and No. 3 for overall crossbow in the state.

READ MORE: Big Pennsylvania Buck Poached, Authorities Seeking Leads