Pennsylvania’s three-day bear harvest has surpassed last years total for three days. And if conditions remain good, it may be another record setter.
During the first three days of the season, hunters bagged 2,487 bears compared to last years 2,289 over three days. And this is minus the archery and early bear season harvest whose data is still being entered into the PGC’s database and not available at press time.
So far, the PGC says bears have been taken in 54 counties. And the top 10 bears checked at check stations saw estimated weights of 616 pounds and more. One bear taken on Tuesday of the season, joined the state’s top 10 weighing in at an estimated 629 pounds. That bruin was shot in Green Township, Pike County by John Gilpin, of Newfoundland, Pa.
But the heaviest were two bears tied at 713-pounds. A 713-pound male, says the PGC, was taken in Granville Township, Mifflin County on Monday by Gregory A. Wilson, of Lewistown, Pa. The other was a male estimated at 713 pounds shot on Nov. 21 in Blair County, by Richard A. Watt, of Gallitizen, Pa.
Other large bears include a 685-pound male shot in Letterkenny Township, Franklin County, by Dustin J. Foust of Orrstown, Pa; a 649-pound male by Matt B. Stanga of Tarentum, Pa, in Limestone Township, Warren County; a 648-pound male taken in Brush Creek Township, Fulton County by Andrew D. Fischer of Crystal Spring, Pa.; 640-pound male from Weatherly Township, Carbon County shot by Ken J. Mehlig of Weatherly, Pa.; a 618-pound male taken in Blooming Grove Township, Pike County, by Brad D. Losito of Hamburg, Pa.; 617-pound male in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County by Glenn P. Pyeritz of Marleysburg, Pa,; and a 616-pound male taken in Shrewsbury Township, Sullivan County by Wes W. Sznaider of Sugar Run, Pa.
In comparison, hunters took a total of 3,366 bears during the 2014 season, which was the seventh largest in state history. The state’s largest harvest of 4,350 bears took place in the 2011 season when preliminary three-day totals were 3,023 bears. Interestingly, all the large bears so far are males.
Here in the Southeast there have been 48 bears taken so far. That breaks down as follows with last years tally in parenthesis: Dauphin, 22 (16); Schuylkill, 20 (25); Lebanon, 3 (1); Lehigh, 2 (1); Berks, 1 (3); and Northampton, 0 (1). The latter is somewhat of a shocker since Northampton County is somewhat larger in size than Lehigh, and with more conducive bear habitat.
For the Northeast there were 472 bears taken to date. Per county it’s: Pike, 107 (77); Luzerne, 60 (43); Monroe, 57 (37); Bradford, 47 (53); Wayne, 44 (31); Sullivan, 37 (47), Carbon, 27 (25); Wyoming, 26 (25; Susquehanna, 23 (31); Lackawanna, 21 (12); Columbia, 19 (8); Northumberland, 3 (2); and Montour, 1 (0). And with the concurrent deer and bear seasons in certain areas of the state, these numbers may increase as there will be more hunters in the woods pushing bear out of the swamps and thick cover of the mountainous areas.