It’s official! There is a new world record for the biggest bow-harvested black bear taken in North America!
A special panel of judges for the Pope & Young Club (P&Y) confirmed the record during the Great American Outdoors Show in Harrisburg, PA earlier this month.
Weighing in at over 700 pounds and with a final score of 23” 5/16 (size of skull) bowhunter Jeff Melillo’s bear deposed the previous record holder, with a score of 23 3/16, taken by Robert J. Shuttleworth Jr. in Mendocino County, California on September 4th, 1993.
Melillo bagged his bear in Morris County, New Jersey on October 14th, 2019. The New Jersey resident spoke to P&Y about the life-changing hunt.
“It has been an inspiring journey, to say the least,” said 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,” he continued, while also giving praise to organizations (NJDFW, UBNJ) that help preserve and protect hunter’s rights in the Garden State.
Pope & Young Club Records Director Ed Randall was duly impressed with the bear.
“I knew I was going to be looking at an impressive Black Bear skull, as it was officially measured at over 23 inches and weighed in at 700 pounds,” explained Randall.
“I was not prepared for the amount of mass the skull possessed, not only was the skull huge, but the bone structure was the heaviest I had ever seen,” he added.
“Congratulations to Jeff Melillo on harvesting this outstanding black bear. This is a true testament to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and a shining beacon of what can be accomplished with efforts and funds being dedicated to wildlife,” Randall concluded.
The life-size mount of this incredible animal will be on display as a part of the Bass Pro/Cabela’s Trophy Tower at the Pope & Young Annual Convention in Chantilly, VA, March 26th- 28th.
Along with Melillo’s bear, visitors can see over 20 other big game, bow-harvested world-record setters, including Bighorn, Typical & Non-Typical Whitetail, Brown Bear, Mountain Goat, Rocky Mountain Goat.
For tickets and information visit: Pope-Young.org.
Editor’s note: This article was written by Michael Johnson Jr.