The 2021 preliminary total of the Pennsylvania bear harvest stands at 3,612 with only a few late-harvested bears yet to be recorded. The final bear count will rank the 2021 bear season as one of the …
The 2021 preliminary total of the Pennsylvania bear harvest stands at 3,612 with only a few late-harvested bears yet to be recorded. The final bear count will rank the 2021 bear season as one of the ten best ever. Hunters harvested 3,438 bears in 2017, 3,153 in 2018, 3,608 in 2020 and set the all-time record bear take in 2019 with 4,653 bears taken in a single year.
PA’s Game Commission black bear program specialist Emily Carrollo said, “So far our bear harvest has been on track for an average harvest that is comparable to recent past bear seasons. The most notable differences were a much lower statewide muzzleloader season in comparison to other years and a large extended season harvest so far in comparison to the 2020 season.”
Hunters took 422 bears during the 2021 muzzleloader season and archery hunters added 675 bears to the total. Rifle hunters took 1,314 bears during the four-day season that ran November 20-23. The extended season total was 1,094, compared to only 432 bears taken last year. It was one of the highest extended bear takes ever reported.
Carrollo added, “The early bear seasons did experience some bad weather on both the first and second weekends and that could explain some of the muzzleloader harvest decrease.
Pennsylvania continues to be a top draw for bear hunters, both for the number harvested and their size. At least ten bears were harvested with estimated live weights of over 598 pounds. The heaviest bear, a 722-pound male was taken in the extended season. The second heaviest bear, a 681-pound male was taken during the archery season. The 3rd largest bear weighed-in at 676-pounds and two 640-pound bears tied for fourth place.
The top bear counties in 2021:
Based on the percentage of tagged bears harvested, as compared to the total harvest, Bear Specialist Carrollo will present statewide bear population estimates and final harvest reports to the PA Game Commissioners at their January meeting. Her recommendations for next year’s bear seasons will be based on the final numbers she presents.
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