Easy to get that trophy scored now

Mike Bleech Outdoors Columnist

For many decades Warren County may have been the poorest trophy big game county in Pennsylvania. No bucks, no bears near the top of the Pennsylvania Big Game Records. It got worse, of course, when comparing local big game animals to the Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young big game records. Warren County, Pennsylvania, just has not been there.

This has changed. We have more black bears now, which is good if you are a bear hunter, and we have fewer deer, which translates to healthier deer. Our habitat is good and improving. And hunters are bagging many more trophy bucks and bears now.

However, to get these trophy antlers and skulls into the record books they must be scored by qualified scorers. Here is where Philip Herrnberger steps into the scene.

Herrnberger retired from Erie Insurance and settled into a new log home on the bank of the Allegheny River, near Irvine. His interest in taxidermy prompted him to become a big game trophy scorer.

“Since I got into taxidermy, I’ve had inquiries. What would that score?” he said.

He also recalled an incident at an elk camp when someone asked what his elk scored. With no interest then in scoring trophy animals, he simply replied, “Phil 1 – elk 0.”

After doing some research into becoming an official B&C scorer, he learned that there was not an official scorer in the Warren area. That, he said, probably was one reason he was able to get into a B&C workshop. Getting into one of these workshops is not easy. Slots are very limited. The only way in is to be invited after submitting the application, and it is not first come first served.

Herrnberger was fortunate that he met the needs of B&C. He applied in January and recently became certified after completing the workshop.

He summed the workshop succinctly. “It’s extensive.”

It involved actually scoring all of the North American recognized big game animals. Several of these are quite complex. Then there are the many rules.

B&C adheres to a strict fair chase code. Before scoring, the scorer spends time interviewing whoever possesses the trophy.

Many trophies are never scored simply because the trophy owner does not know how to go about it. You can directly contact scorers, or go to the B&C web site at www.boone-crockett.org. Click on Big Game Records. Scroll to ‘find an official measurer’. Then select your state or province.

If you are curious about whether your trophy is big enough, go to the B&C web site and get the direction sheet for scoring your animal. Use a flat metal tape measure, preferably a narrow tape measure. You should be able to score the trophy well enough to know it is at least close enough to be officially scored.

The trophy has to be cleaned of all flesh and dried for a minimum of 60 days. Some shrinkage is normal.

B&C is a non-profit organization. There is a fee of $40 for entering a trophy.

“For me to do it, it’s free. I cannot accept anything from it,” Herrnberger said.

However, if he has to travel to score the trophy as in the case of a large, full-body mount, he can, and should, be compensated for his travel expenses.

While Herrnberger is filling an open area in the Warren County area, he can go anywhere to score.

“I’m available to anybody by virtue of B&C. Particularly any area that’s not represented by anyone else. I’m available to anybody who needs that service,” Herrnberger said.

Realistically, it should mean most scores measured in Warren and Neighboring counties.

Now local hunters have no reason for not having record class trophies scored. It should not be long before Warren County starts showing up in the various record books.