New Jersey Bowhunter Harvests 700-Pound Pope & Young World Record Black Bear
OutdoorHub Reporters 02.19.20
The Pope and Young Club, a bowhunting and conservation organization, officially announced a black bear shot on October 14 in Morris County, New Jersey has toppled a record set in 1993 by a hunter in California.
The new record was announced after the Pope & Young Club convened a “special panel of judges” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the Great American Outdoors Show.
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NEW POPE AND YOUNG WORLD RECORD On Saturday, February 8th, the Pope and Young Club convened a Special Panel of Judges in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the Great American Outdoors Show, for a potential P&Y World Record Black Bear. Jeff Melillos’ massive bear scored 23 5/16 and is now the largest bow-harvested black bear in North America. The bear was shot in Morris County, New Jersey, on October 14th, 2019. Measurers present at the Special Panel were (pictured L to R) Dan Lynch, of Pennsylvania, P&Y Director of Records, Eli Randall, Terry Mollett of Pennsylvania, and Timothy Walsh of New Jersey. With a final score of 23 5/16, Jeff’s bear was confirmed as the new P&Y World Record Black Bear. This bear surpasses the previous World Record shot by Robert J. Shuttleworth Jr., taken in Mendocino County, California, on September 4th, 1993, with a score of 23 3/16. “It has been an inspiring journey, to say the least,” said Jeff Melillo. “New Jersey, my home state, has its First-Ever World Record Animal! Many years ago, I read an article in Outdoor Life Magazine stating that the New World Record Black Bear will most likely come from New Jersey. They were spot on, and I never doubted it for one second. I’m very grateful that I get to be a part of all this. Pursuing bears with bow and arrow is a passion of mine. I’d also like to recognize the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife for the outstanding effort they put into the management of New Jersey Black Bears. The dedication from our biologists, technicians, and Conservation Officers, make this all possible. I’d also like to give a big thanks to United Bow Hunters of New Jersey. Their organization had a lot to do with getting a bowhunting season for New Jersey black bears. Without their efforts, I would not be writing this.” You can see the life-size mount of this incredible animal at the P&Y Annual Convention in Virginia, March 26th- 28th, as part of the Bass Pro/Cabela’s Trophy Tower. The largest display of World Record, North American, bow-harvested, big-game animals ever assembled. For Convention Information, go to https://www.pope-young.org/convention/default.asp
“It has been an inspiring journey, to say the least,” hunter Jeff Melillo stated in a P&Y news release. “New Jersey, my home state, has its first-ever world record animal!”
The club’s records director, Eli Randall, said the bear’s skull measured over 23-inches and had a bone structure he called “the heaviest I had ever seen.”
Melillo recalled a previous Outdoor Life article pointing to evidence which suggested a world record black bear would likely come from New Jersey one day – and if you saw this video, that probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
“They were spot on, and I never doubted it for one second. I’m very grateful that I get to be a part of all this. Pursuing bears with bow and arrow is a passion of mine,” he said in the organization’s release.
The new world record black bear will be taxidermized and set up on display at the Pope and Young Annual Convention in Virginia in March.