WARSAW — Armed with measuring instruments, Rory Karczewski is the only person within Kosciusko County trained to measure big game animals for record books.
An avid hunter and fisherman, Karczewski’s wife, Sue, decided he should find a hobby to keep him busy in the off season. As fate would have it, his high school biology teacher who was in charge of the record book program in Indiana called soon afterward and asked Karczewski if he would be interested in becoming a measurer.
Since 2002 he has gone on to become a nationally certified measurer with the ability to measure 38 North American big game species for four record books. Karczewski can measure for the Hoosier Record Book, Muzzleloader-Longhunter as part of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, Pope and Young, which only includes archery hunting, and Boone and Crockett.
He has measured big game animals including elk, cougars, caribou, moose, black bears, musk ox and sheep, but the most common animal measured in Kosciusko County is deer. When he first began measuring, Karczewski searched aggressively for hunters who wanted their animals measured for the record books. At that time hunters had to check in their deer at specific locations so he would take his business cards to those locations. Now, hunters simply have to go online to check in their deer but he has become established enough people come to him.
Contacts at local taxidermy shops also keep him busy during the peak season between January and March. When at a shop he can measure between eight and 10 deer a day. Karczewski also travels to hunting shows with other measurers. Local hunters have even arranged to simply bring it to his home to be measured.
While there is a fee for hunters to be included in each record book, all of Karczewski’s work is volunteer. A hunter must wait at least 60 days before getting it measured. When measuring a deer, for example, points are added up for the length, width and thickness as well as the symmetry of the antlers. The number of points determines if it gets in the record books. For a deer, the Hoosier Record Book requires at least 140 inches total. Boone and Crockett, the book with the highest standards, requires at least 170 total inches for deer.
Normally Karczewski measures approximately 45 deer each year and has even been mentioned in national magazines for some of the larger animals he’s measured.
As measuring slows down, hunting season is getting ready to pick back up. “Since I was 21, my dad got me started with a bow and arrow,” Karczewski reflected. “I shot a real big deer my first time so I was spoiled.” While a black bear has been the largest animal he has ever hunted, he typically hunts turkey and deer and goes fishing on local lakes.
Karczewski’s day job includes working as a raw materials buyer in purchasing at Tecomet for the past 17 years. He lives in Warsaw with his wife. They have three children: Christopher, Patrick and Raeanne, and one grandson, Luke. Four or five nights a week he also enjoys playing euchre. “I have a nice balance between work, hobbies and family,” he commented.
To get a big game animal measured for a record book, text Karczewski at (574) 527-8649.