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Controversy Around Record Buck In Pennsylvania

By Brad KaufmannMarch 30, 202318 Comments

News first broke from GoErie.com of a giant Pennsylvania buck shot by Anthony Faus, that missed the archery record by half an inch. Once the image of this deer hit social media, rumors began swirling quickly!

As with any giant deer, people are quick to jump to conclusions saying, “It was probably poached!” and “It’s a high-fence deer that escaped!” While most of us can tune those comments out, one thing really stood out to me when diving deeper into this story.

There are ZERO pictures of the hunter with this deer…

Record Buck Finally Recognized In Pennsylvania
Todd Holmes, Shooting Sports Outreach Division chief for PA Game Commission, posing with the rack after measuring it.

What We Know About The Anthony Faus Buck

According to the GoErie article, this buck was shot in Adams County, PA with a crossbow by Anthony Faus back on October 15th. It measures a whopping 228 3/8″, has an inside spread of 18 4/8″, and came up just 3/8″ short of the current record held by Eric Carns in 2016.

Coordinator of Pennsylvania’s Big Game Scoring Program, Bob D’Angelo, was there when the buck was measured, and he said “It’s one of the most impressive deer racks I’ve seen as part of scoring in my 15 years of being an official scorer.”

This buck was officially measured by Todd Holmes, an official scorer for Boone & Crockett Club and Pope & Young Club. But how the buck got into Holmes and D’Angelo’s hands is a little odd. Faus, who allegedly shot this buck in October, did not care for notoriety and wasn’t even going to get the deer measured.

Faus was convinced by a friend to allow him to take the rack to a public game commission scoring session held in nearby Harrisburg, PA. “I’m so grateful he did,” said D’Angelo.

“Some people will go to all extremes to get it scored and want their photos taken with it and the notoriety that goes with it. And then you get something like this where the guy wasn’t even going to get it scored,” he said.

What We've Heard About The Anthony Faus Buck

Not getting a monster buck like this officially measured, does seem a little strange, but it’s not unheard of. The fact that the hunter hasn’t been seen at all in photos of this deer is definitely a red flag, in my opinion.

Until you dive a little deeper into the story.

According to sources, Anthony Faus is a younger guy, who is either Amish or Mennonite, which explains the lack of photos and the disdain for notoriety around this buck. Pennsylvania is known to have plenty of Amish and Mennonites, so if true, that would explain why Faus has not been seen in pictures posing with the deer.

Controversy Around Record Buck In Pennsylvania
Photos of the caped out buck on a garage floor.

While scouring the social media comments sections, I was quick to find plenty of comments saying, “It was a high-fence buck that escaped it’s pen.” And while doing some research, I was able to find several people who claim to live within a few miles of where this buck was shot.

According to the locals, this was a well-known buck in the area which was presumed to be a high-fence escapee. “Well-known” might be an understatement for this buck as it seemed just about everyone in Adams County had seen or heard about him!

There are several photos of this buck in velvet, and lots of stories about how the deer was seen eating flowers and meandering through backyards. There’s even a viral video of this buck walking through a construction site in broad daylight!

But despite all this evidence of “pet-like” behavior, there are no pictures of the buck with ear tags, and no one has come forward yet saying that this is a deer that escaped their farm.

An argument can be made that the owners of this deer may never come forward due to the potential penalties that result with letting a captive deer escape. Deer farming in Pennsylvania is a lot more popular than most other states. However, according to pennlive.com the number of deer farms in PA has fallen from about 1,200 to 700 from the mid 2010’s to 2022.

Controversy Around Record Buck In Pennsylvania
Photos of the buck during the summer months in full velvet.

Conclusion

Even with all the rumors and all the hear-say, this buck is currently sitting as the #2 non-typical archery buck ever shot in the state of Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s big game records.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is aware of the allegations surrounding this buck, and are currently investigating. When asked about this situation, Bob D’Angelo said, “In investigating this so far, people who claim it’s a pen-raised deer, after contacting them, say they heard about it from social media platforms.”

D’Angelo also said, “No one has any proof. It’s all hear-say at this point. If it is determined that the deer was an escapee from a pen, it will be removed from the state records.”

This kind of situation really makes you wonder if this has happened in other states, and if there aren’t more record-breaking bucks that are heralded as free-range animals, but were once in captivity.

Brad Kaufmann
Brad is a die-hard bowhunter from Northern Illinois that loves chasing whitetails and turkeys.
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