The News Eagle’s Big Buck is returning to its roots and getting even bigger with a larger First Place package and a new prize for the woman who shoots the largest buck.

The News Eagle’s Big Buck is returning to its roots and getting even bigger with a larger First Place package and a new prize for the woman who shoots the largest buck.

The Big Buck contest will be returning to measuring contestants only at The News Eagle’s Hawley office in the Dime Bank Building on Main Ave. Last year, entries were taken in Honesdale as well as in Hawley at The News Eagle. The contest is still open to all hunters who legally harvest a buck in either Wayne or Pike counties during the regular PA Rifle Season.

The total purse increased and will be over $3,400 this year. New this year is Free Shoulder Mount for Largest Buck for Women Hunters from Rocky Ridge Taxidermy. The News Eagle Big Buck contest has always had a large number of women entering and this year those woman can compete for their shoulder mount or, if they are lucky enough, can still grab one of the top three prizes.

To keep the whole family involved, The News Eagle will also be awarding a Free Shoulder Mount for Largest Buck for Junior Hunters (Ages 12 to 16) from Wildlife Unlimited Taxidermy.

“Hunting is a sport for the whole family and we want to recognize that by providing chances for every member of the family to win a prize,” said Glenn Khoury, advertising director, publisher and coordinator of the 28th annual contest. “The prize package is bigger and we hope the bucks are as well.”

Also, a special drawing will be held among all non-winning entries, so regardless of the size of the rack, everyone has a chance to take home a prize.

First Prize

The First Prize winner will take home $1,763 in prizes this year, including a Full Shoulder Mount from Rod’s Taxidermy. Other prizes for First Place include: ATV Helmet from Rusty Palmer, Inc.; One Night Stay at Comfort Inn Pocono Lakes Region; Pair of Camo, Warm-Lined Boots from Plotkin’s Shoes; $100 Gift Certificate from Hemlock Gun Shop Inc.; Weber Go Anywhere Grill from Gumble Bros., Inc.; $75 Gift Certificate from Wallenpaupack Sport Shop; Corian Cutting Board from Northeast Custom Cabinets; and a Keystone Light 5’ x 5’ Pop Up Tailgater Tent from LT Verrastro Distributors

Other prizes include: $50 Gift Certificate from Bill Case Polaris; $50 Gift Certificate from Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Restaurant; $50 Gift Certificate from Hometown Eyecare; $50 Gift Certificate from Jack Williams Tire & Auto Service Centers; $50 Gift Certificate from Wayne County Ford; $50 Deer Hunting Accessory Package from Ron Tussel; $50 Classified Gift Certificate from The News Eagle and Pike Penny$aver; $30 Gift Certificate from Crazy Fingers.

There is also: a $30 Gift Certificate from Old Rangers Inn; $25 Processing Certificate for Your Butchered Meat from Sam’s Specialty Meats & Deli; $25 Gift Certificates from Catskill Pheasantry, Greentown Agway, Hunter’s Gallery, Lake Region IGA, Lakeville Market, Marshall Machinery, Inc., Marty’s Sneaker World, North American Warhorse, Northeast Firearms, Platform Industries Custom Screen Printing and Roadhouse Camper & RV; Book of Five Washes from Watson Bros. Car Wash; and Case of Soda & Bag of Ice from Shooky’s Distributors.

Second Place

The second place winner will receive a prize package worth $540, including a Full Shoulder Mount from Delaware & Hudson Taxidermy. Other prizes include: $50 Turkey Hunting Accessory Package from Ron Tussel; Two $25 Dinner Certificates from Participating Restaurants; $50 Classified Gift Certificate from The News Eagle and Pike Penny$aver; and Keystone Light Camo Hunting Cap.

Third Place

The third place package totals $260 and includes: $100 Gift Certificate from Matt’s All Game Taxidermy; Two $25 Dinner Certificates from Participating Restaurants; $50 Classified Gift Certificate from The News Eagle and Pike Penny$aver; and Keystone Light Camo Hunting Cap.

Special Drawing

The Special Drawing prize totals $110 and includes: Two $25 Dinner Certificates from Participating Restaurants; $50 Classified Gift Certificate from The News Eagle and Pike Penny$aver; and a Keystone Light Camo Hunting Cap

Participating Restaurants include: Alpine Wurst & Meathouse, The Cuckoo’s Nest, Gresham’s Chop House, John’s Italian Restaurant Greentown, Mike’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant and The Pines Tavern.

The Special drawing is open to all entries in the contest, except those winning the top prizes. In the women’s and youth categories, the free shoulder mount will be awarded to the female or youth hunters who bags the biggest buck that is not eligible for the top prizes and drawing.


The largest buck will be determined by the size of its rack. Four measurements are used to figure the winner. First (and second, also) the overall curve of each side of the rack is measured from the base of the antler at the skull along the main beam to the tip.

The lengths are added to the number of inches at the widest part of the rack (inside span), and the number of points on the rack to reach the final total. The highest total is declared the winner. The distance between the tips of the brow tines will be used as a tie breaker.

The News Eagle Big Buck Contest was designed to not only recognize successful hunters in Pike and Wayne counties, but to share that moment with the community. However, over the many years of the contest, dozens of hunters have been disappointed their trophy had to be disqualified for one reason or another.

In recent years, young hunters suffered the pains of the 24-hour rule that required entries to be brought for measurement to The News Eagle office in Hawley within 24 hours of the kill with the exception being Saturday harvests to be recorded Monday before 12 noon.

This rule proved troublesome for teen hunters who often had to be in school the day after harvesting a buck and were unable to get to the office with the prize during office hours so the time was extended to 48 hours.

Measuring will take place at The News Eagle offices in Hawley from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

Youth hunters having trouble meeting the 48-hour requirement because of school obligations should contact Publisher and Advertising Director Glenn Khoury at 226-4547 ext. 112 to set up an appointment. Appointments, he notes, are only for youth entrants with scheduling conflicts.

Fair for everyone

But not all the trouble with the contest has occurred on the other side of the gun. The News Eagle has had to refine its rules and measurements over the years as well.

“One year we had a tie for second place,” Khoury explained. “That never happened before, so we had no standard for determining the winner of the prize. We finally settled on the widest inside span and then instituted the tie breaker measurement between the brow tines to make sure it would never happened again,” he added.

In fact, the tie-breaker measurement decided the third place winner of a full shoulder mount and other prizes in the 2005 contest.

Another change in the rules was predicated on changes in the Pennsylvania game laws a few years ago. When the new antler restrictions were put into place, a legal point on a rack had to be at least one-inch long. Previously, The News Eagle would count all points on which a key ring could be securely hung.

“The rules have been designed to keep things fair for everyone who enters the contest, and that’s why we can’t bend them for individual cases,” Khoury explained. And that has also led to some disappointments, especially for Allan Delicati of Jessup who said he only learned of the 2005 Big Buck Contest after he had dropped off his impressive trophy at a taxidermist’s facility. He attempted to retrieve his trophy-sized prize for entry in the contest, but the taxidermist had already removed the hide leaving only the antlers and skull plate.

Unfortunately, the rack must be entered with the head intact to insure uniformity in measurement, which begins at the very base of the antler beam where it meets the flesh — not from the skull bone or from the ridge. The variation created by the depth of flesh to bone could mean the difference between a top-place finish and a “better luck next year.”

As it was, Delicati’s buck had a total score of 80 points, a half point higher than the ultimate winner of that year’s contest

taken in wayne, pike

Legally harvested white tail bucks, bearing the hunter’s PA Game Commission license tag, must be brought to The News Eagle office for measurement by our staff. The News Eagle is located in The Dime Bank building, Main Avenue, Hawley, and hunters can use the parking area between the building and Trish’s Bagels for their convenience.

The rack in first place after the end of the Pennsylvania antlered deer season, which concludes Dec. 13, wins the big prize. Only deer legally harvested and tagged in Wayne or Pike county are eligible for entry.

In order to be eligible to win the full shoulder mount of the trophy, bucks must be entered as soon as possible so that arrangements may be made with Rod’s Taxidermy at 845-887-4615, Delaware & Hudson Taxidermy at 491-5083; Conner Taxidermy at 785-RACK; Rocky Ridge Taxidermy at 224-6550, Wildlife Unlimited Taxidermy 685-7766 and All Game Taxidermy at 296-5887.

Freshness of the deer hide and head is of the utmost importance in obtaining a lifelike mount (see related article on page 16 and 17 of The News Eagle “Hunting Guide”). Contact any of the participating taxidermists for recommendations on preserving your deer for mounting. 

All licensed Pennsylvania hunters — that includes those holding non-resident licenses — are eligible to enter. All entrants will have their picture published in The News Eagle during the course of the two weeks of the contest as well as on-line at

Winners will be announced in the Saturday, Dec. 19, issue of The News Eagle and notified by phone.