A bowhunting club says a 700-pound bear shot in Morris County last year has set a world record as the largest black bear killed with a bow and arrow in North America.
The Pope and Young Club, a non-profit North American conservation and bowhunting organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of bowhunting, announced that Jeff Melillo set the record with a bear killed on Oct. 14.
The Club on Feb. 8 convened a special panel of judges in Harrisburg, PA during the Great American Outdoors Show, for the potential Pope and Young Club world record black bear.
Melillo’s bear measured 23 5/16 inches and is now the largest bow-harvested black bear in North America. The bear surpasses the previous world record shot by Robert J. Shuttleworth Jr., in Mendocino County, California on Sept. 4, 1993 that measured 23 3/16 inches.
“It has been an inspiring journey, to say the least. 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,” Melillo said.
“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,” Melillo said.
“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. 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. 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,” Records Director for the Pope and Young Club Eli Randall said.
The life-size mount will be on display at the Pope and Young’s Annual Convention in Virginia, March 26-28.