Last year Pennsylvania had a record bear take of 4,653, could this year's bear take also be another record bear take? To many people it seems an unlikely possibility because so many bears were taken …
Last year Pennsylvania had a record bear take of 4,653, could this year's bear take also be another record bear take? To many people it seems an unlikely possibility because so many bears were taken last fall. But even with last fall's record harvest, there are still about 20,000 bears in Pennsylvania according to the Pa Game Commission.
And with those new and extended bear seasons that helped hunters set the new record harvest last fall, they are back again this fall.
The statewide bear archery and muzzleloader seasons are already in progress and a special firearms bear season that started on October 22 for juniors and seniors, active-duty military and certain disabled persons, also along with the 4-day general bear season (Nov 21-24) and an extended bear season starting Nov 30th. This could be the reason to believe another bear record take could happen this fall.
PA Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said, “It's hard to comprehend what's happening in Pennsylvania's bear hunting, especially when you can recall when the Game Commission was trying to resurrect the bear population back in the 1980's and 90's.
But here we are on the cusp of another fall loaded with bear-hunting opportunities and a robust bear population. Pennsylvania bear hunting has never packed as much widespread opportunity and excitement as it does right now.
Today, bears inhabit most counties providing closer-to-home hunting. But their populations also remain strong on their primary range in the northern tier. So pick a place to hunt and go. It's a great time to be a bear hunter.”
Last year the Game Commission sold a record 202,043 bear hunting licenses. This year license sales are 18 percent ahead of last year's pace at this time.
Mark Terment, a Game Commission bear biologist who currently serves as a regional wildlife biologist for the Commission's Northcentral Region Office said, “Over the past three years, more than 10,000 black bears were taken by hunters. And although it sounds like a lot, it's the third time it's happened in Pennsylvania since 2003. Last year's record bear harvest removed 20 to 25 percent of the state's bear population, but it isn't expected to produce significant declines in bear numbers. We should have close to 20,000 bears statewide.”
Bear hunters are reminded: 1. Hunters are required to carry photo I.D. while hunting. 2. Plan your hunt and hunt your plan, it assures someone knows where you are. 3. Carry a cellphone in case of emergencies. 4. Make sure you have thought about how you would remove a bear from the woods if you take one. 5. It is illegal to use baits & lures in bear hunting and 6. Always carry a compass and a map while hunting in the big woods.
Jack Danchak is the President of the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County.
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