by Steve Sorensen (Originally published in the Warren Times Observer, July 6, 2013.)
1966, the Pennsylvania Game Commission created the “Triple Trophy Award” to
recognize hunters who harvest an antlered deer, a bear, and a wild turkey in
the same license year. The PGC presented a certificate and a patch to those who
accomplished the challenging feat.
The playing field is level. A hunter who can
afford the Grand Slam of
Wild Sheep would
have no advantage over an everyday hunter.
idea had its roots in the concept of “grand slams” in the hunting world and
borrowed its name from the rare baseball event where scoring comes in in fours.
In hunting, the grand slam is achieved using a firearm or bow instead of a
Louisville Slugger. And it can’t be done with one swing of the bat in a single
Grand Slam of Wild Sheep became the first grand slam of the hunting world in 1955, and is widely considered the most
prestigious. It includes all four wild sheep species found in North America –
the Dall’s, the Stone’s, the Rocky Mountain Bighorn, and the Desert Bighorn. Because
it takes lots of time and lots of money, it’s out of reach for all but a few
slams in the hunting world often have an elitist nature because you won’t find
many ordinary working class guys with enough spare cash and vacation time to
afford top-end guided hunts. So, to bring the “Grand Slam” concept to the level
of the common man, grand slams were created for lots of species. For example, a
Grand Slam of Wild Turkeys would include the Eastern, the Merriams, the Rio
Grande, and the Osceola subspecies. A turkey slam is not necessarily expensive,
but it does require lots of travel.
hunters came up with their own grand slam concepts. A “weapons slam” might mean
a hunter takes a buck with four different weapons – a rifle, bow, handgun and
wouldn’t say a “slam” can be bought, because even a guided hunt is not a slam
dunk. (Pardon the mixing of baseball and basketball metaphors.) None of them are
an easy achievement.
Pennsylvania Triple Trophy may not be the most difficult, but it certainly ranks
up there. To be recognized for taking a Pennsylvania Triple Trophy, a hunter
must harvest all three species in a single license year, July 1 to June 30.
Making it even more challenging, the hunting season for black bears, the most
difficult of the trio to get, is short.
– the playing field is level. A hunter who can afford the Grand Slam of Wild
Sheep would have no advantage over an everyday hunter. And since Pennsylvania
doesn’t license hunting guides, you gotta do it on your own – sort of on the
what made the Pennsylvania Triple Trophy such a respected award. But, the
program was dropped after only six years. Opinions differ about why the
Pennsylvania Game Commission ended its formal recognition for the
accomplishment in 1972. Some thought the award placed too much emphasis on a
few species. Others felt that it created a temptation to cheat. So, the Game
Commission ended the program.
hunters have never forgotten it, and accomplishing the trifecta is still a big
deal. A few individuals and clubs have offered a pin or a patch to the handful
of hunters who accomplish this feat each year but now, after 4 decades, the
Game Commission has designed new patch for those who pull it off. It’s cleverly
designed in three sections, each part featuring one of the three animals. (Each
part of the patch can also be purchased separately.)
hunters who harvest a
whitetail buck, a black bear, and a turkey,
all in the
same license year, can purchase
the new “Triple Trophy” patch from
Pennsylvania Game Commission.
if you’ve ever harvested the Pennsylvania big three, or you do in the future, it’s
still a significant hunting accomplishment and once again you can get patch to
commemorate your success.