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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have some monsters bulls here in PA and looks like another one just made it to the “big time”! Shared from the ECO FB page...


Where do we even begin with this hunt recap?
The unwritten rule of social media is often "keep it short", but we’ve never been good at that and sometimes we just can't. This maybe a little long by Facebook standards but it was 2020 after all and there was no more “normal”. The only thing that was predictable was that most things were unpredictable. There’s been a lot of buzz in the elk range about this tag winner, surrounded by all kinds of rumors, falsities and slander. If you care to know the truth, than by all means read on...

On August 16th we watched, live on Facebook, the KECA raffle tag drawing. When the name "Duane Kramer from Bellingham Washington" was called the majority watching most likely scoffed and muttered something derogatory under their breath about an “out of stater" getting what many feel is the best elk tag in the country. The ECO guys though, we had a collective, “Hmmm...could it be?”.

See, ECO has had two past clients from the state of Washington and also know a third hunter from the state who has been interested in our auction tag for many years...What were the chances there was a natural ECO connection back to Duane? As it turned out the chances were pretty darn good!

It was 1:14 PM, just fourteen minutes after the drawing, and our phone rang. It was our good friend, Jim from Washington, who has been trying for our auction tag for years. He was so excited, that at first, we almost couldn’t make out what he was trying to say. As it turns out, Jim is one of Duane's best friends and you could even say he's like a father figure to him. He had been watching the drawing live on Facebook, as was Duane, and was awestruck to hear Duane’s name. One of the the craziest and most remarkable things about all of this though is that he shouldn’t have been surprised at all to hear Duane’s name called. A case could be made for Duane being one of the luckiest guys on the planet when it comes to tag draws and tag lotteries.

Over the years, Duane has drawn, and also won, some astonishingly great tags all over the country in what could only be described as the best luck in the hunting realm. He’s drawn tags with what should have been “not enough points” and has won multiple tags through raffle style draws in other states as well. Duane won a tag with similar odds to ours, but for deer, in Colorado...TWICE! And not only twice but BACK TO BACK years to boot! The proverbial saying “He must have a horseshoe up his &$+” couldn’t apply to anyone better.

As it turns out, Duane not only was good friends with Jim but he also knew both our past Washington clients as well. Despite these connections there was not an immediate commitment from Duane. You see, what Duane had won was more than just a tag...it was a package deal. Along with the tag came donated guide services from another outfitter, free meat processing from a local butcher, a free mount from a local taxidermist, and also a film crew to record his hunt for TV and, more importantly, for posterity. But of course, those things were all, and have always been, at the winner's discretion.

Since the KECA Tags inception in 2014 ECO has donated meals, lodging, and guiding for the KECA tag winner, but for the 2020 season KECA had partnered with another outfitter for the guiding services portion of their overall package. As has always been in the past, there was never an actual requirement though for anyone to use any of the donated services but Duane felt a small sense of obligation. He wasn’t sure if he’d feel right to pick and choose which parts of "the package" he wanted to take or leave. Our first conversations with him were long and detailed. Looking back now, it was a “feeling out process” on his end. He knew the tag he now held and what the possibilities were. He had seen plenty of monster bulls from PA through his buddies and he also knew of ECO’s track record with these tags but yet there was no immediate commitment.

Duane asked us to send him some pics and video clips and we stayed in touch over the next several weeks. We talked with him on multiple occasions, sometimes for hours at a time about specific bulls and how we thought we could pursue them, but again without a commitment. During these conversations it became evident that he also had a bit of an issue with his hunt availability. Duane is a small business owner with five employees that depend on him. He works twelve plus hours a day between being in the field with the tools strapped on and in the office working on paperwork. He has an unwavering commitment to his workers to keep them employed and that meant that his time spent away hunting had to be managed and highly planned out. On top of the work issues he also had drawn tags for hunts in five other states.

We were very surprised when the phone rang on September 2nd. Duane was in Colorado on a mule deer hunt and had gotten lucky and scored early into the hunt. He decided the remainder of the time he had allotted for Colorado would now be best spent in Pennsylvania for a meet and greet and a few exploratory hunts with ECO. Duane came to the conclusion that the tag, and the opportunity that came with it, deserved every advantage he could get. While we are constantly in elk mode, and a bunch of guides were out scouting for the last several weeks, we weren’t immediately prepared for a client. There's more than just the hunting to line up. That changed within a few hours of the call though and things were set up with Duane.

It would take all the way until October 21st though for Duane to fill his tag on what is the new PA state record nontypical firearms bull! His bull smashes the previous state record, which was held by another ECO client, by more than twelve inches. This bull will also rank as the new number six bull in the B&C record books but in actuality it is the fourth largest hunter killed bull of all time...there are two bulls ahead of it on the B&C list that are deadhead pickups.

The bull was scored by two official B&C scorers on 12/22/20 at 468 6/8” gross non typical and 455” net non typical. A single ear tag on the bull revealed that he was 11 1/2 years old. So he was at, or near, the end of his peak breeding and antler growth age. An absolutely incredible specimen anywhere in the country and a true testament to our great herd management and genetics here in Pennsylvania!

The full hunt recap, including more details and more pictures, will be featured later. We’ll be sure to let you know when and where it’ll be coming out! Congrats again Duane and thanks for choosing ECO to help you out with this great tag!
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165467
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Pa will get the world record some day. I have been around some very impressive bulls, and not at the Benezzette or Oak Hill petting zoo.
If archery equipment was used here it would’ve been a world record...

Theres another bull I can’t wait to get a look at this summer/fall. While I don’t think he was as big as this one he’s near the same class. Last year he had double drop tines on the same side and crazy mass all around. Pretty sure I have his summer and rut movements pegged so hopes are high for sightings soon enough. 🤞🏻
 

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I believe we will continue to see a PA bull taken each year that will be close to taking the record or take the record every few years. There are some real hammers up there and they continue to get bigger each year.
 
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