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Beaver County man takes giant elk

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Dan Barto of Beaver County poses with the big bull elk he shot in Pennsylvania this fall.

The top 5

Here how the top five typical bulls ever taken with a firearm in Pennsylvania score, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission records.

Score Hunter, hometown Hunting local Year

1. 387 7⁄8 Domenic Aversa Sr., Woolwich, N.J. Elk County, 2010

2. 376 5⁄8 Paul Hoffnagle, Hanover Clearfield County, 2011

3. 370 John Polenski, Meyersdale Elk County, 2009

4. 369 1⁄2 Dale McElheny, Lusby, Md., Cameron County, 2003

5. 368 7⁄8 Tyler Rieder, St. Marys Clearfield County, 2008

Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, 10:54 p.m.

Taking a trophy big game animal anywhere is exciting. Taking it somewhere rich in memories is really special.

That's what Dan Barto experienced this year.

Hunting in the area known as elk zone 3, near the Red Tin Shanty camp his family has owned in Driftwood since 1933, he bagged an 8x7 bull during Pennsylvania's recent elk season. Working with a guide, he got it just before 1 p.m. on opening day.

“We patterned him for a few days before the opener. He was coming out of the rut, so he wasn't moving out of the area,” said Barto, who lives in Baden, Beaver County.

“I shot him at 80 yards in a field of goldenrod.”

His 79-year-old father, two best friends and son-in-law were with him and got to be a part of the hunt, “so it couldn't have worked out better,” he said.

The bull may rank among the best the state's ever produced. Its antlers — which measure 12.5 inches around at the base — scored 406 points gross, 383 net, according to a preliminary scoring, Barto said. If that holds up after the required drying period, the bull would be the second-biggest typical ever taken in Pennsylvania.

The state record – killed in 2010 by New Jersey hunter Domenic Aversa Sr. – scored 387 78.

Overall, the Game Commission awarded 65 licenses via lottery for this year's elk season. Nineteen of those were for bulls, 46 for cows.

Hunters filled 52 of those. All 19 bull hunters connected, as did 33 cow hunters.

The heaviest bull was an 840-pound 8x8 taken by Richard Tratthen Jr. of Lackawanna County.

Robin Carleton of Tioga County took a 775-pound 7x7, Roger Rummel of Cambria County took a 758-pound 7x7, Charles Ulrich of Union County took a 729-pound 7x7, and Charles Cahill Jr. of Delaware County took a 720-pound 6x6.

The heaviest cow was a 616-pounder taken by Sylvester Kronenwetter of Elk County.

Terry McLaughlin of Greensburg took a 549-pound cow, Frank Webster of Greencastle, and Franklin County, took a 520-pounder.

As for Barto's bull, he was glad to get it. He said the Driftwood area “locals” — who have known six generations of his family via their camp, which he's been going to since he was born in 1958 — were happy for him when he drew a bull tag.

“Even if he stays No. 2, that's a really good bull. I'm tickled to death,” Barto said. “It was a real good hunt.”

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-838-5148.

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