December 27, 2022
By Blake Garlock
Prior to Pennsylvania’s 2020 hunting season, Frank Zebich scouted and found a spot on Pennsylvania State Game Lands that he felt would be a good place to hunt. Frank returned to the spot on opening day, and he was disappointed to find another hunter sitting where he intended to hunt.
“I was pretty frustrated and didn’t think I was going to see anything,” Frank recalls. “So, I decided to just walk up the hill and sit on a logging road.”
After only an hour of sitting on the logging road, Frank heard rustling in the leaves. A good buck was standing just 20 yards from him. Unfortunately, the vegetation was thick where the buck was, and it spooked before Frank could get a shot.
“I knew I had to hang a stand in there for the next season so I wouldn’t get busted,” says Frank.
One week before Pennsylvania’s 2021 firearms season, Frank bought a tree stand and hung it in his new spot five days before the season began. The stand was near the logging road looking at a hillside. On Nov. 27, 2021, which was opening day, Frank decided to hunt the tree stand.
“At 8:30 that first morning, I heard movement behind me,” Frank remembers. “I couldn’t see anything, so I turned back around and to my left I saw two big bucks coming through the thicket.”
Frank knew the buck in the front was the bigger of the two, but since he knew it was a shooter, he didn’t bother to keep looking at its rack. As the buck picked his way through the thick vegetation, Frank found an opening in the brush and focused his aim there.
“When he entered the opening, I stopped him and then shot him,” says Frank. “He ran uphill and started running along the ridgeline. And then I saw him crash.”
Frank got out of his stand, and even though he was confident he saw the buck fall, his emotions were all over the place and he didn’t see any blood. So, he called his friend James Yonlisky for help. Frank walked toward where he thought the buck went, looked down the ridgeline and saw a white belly in the thicket.
“When I pulled him out of the thick stuff, I started going crazy,” says Frank. “I just didn’t know how big he was in the moment. I just knew it was the biggest buck I’d ever seen.”
Once Frank started showing the buck to others, he began to realize how impressive of a Pennsylvania whitetail he had killed. A Boone and Crockett scorer scored Frank’s deer at 194 5/8 net and 201 4/8 gross. A phenomenal buck for any state, especially in Pennsylvania on public hunting land!