Bear harvest state’s best all-time - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 05:04 AM Thread Starter
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Bear harvest state’s best all-time

Release # 10-20

BEAR HARVEST STATE’S BEST ALL-TIME



Pennsylvania hunters took 4,653 black bears this past fall, setting a new state record bear harvest.

In 2018, the bear harvest was 3,153, 11th best all-time, but also the lowest bear harvest in the past 11 years. So, the overall bear harvest increased by a third from 2018 to 2019.

With a statewide bear population of about 20,000 bears over the past several years, it was a harvest increase sought by the Game Commission, which had employed the largest suite of bear-season changes ever approved in a single license year.

“There were 30 days of bear hunting across all bear seasons in 2019,” explained Mark Ternent, agency biologist. “The last time that happened was in 1931.”

Pennsylvania’s previous top bear seasons occurred in 2011, when 4,350 bears were harvested, and in 2005, when 4,164 were taken.

In recent years, bad breaks with weather, particularly on opening days, when hunter participation is typically at its highest, have kept the bear harvest down.

But in the four years prior to 2019, hunters still took more than 13,850 bears, which exemplifies the bear population’s resiliency to remain around 20,000.

Over the course of bear hunting’s three major season segments hunters took 1,629 bears in the general season; 1,340 in the muzzleloader and special firearms seasons; 1,117 in extended firearms seasons and 561 in the bear archery season. The muzzleloader, extended and archery harvests are all new record harvests, too.

“To have three independent bear seasons with harvests in excess of 1,000 is surely historic,” Ternent noted. “But when a record 202,043 hunters buy licenses and can participant in the opening days of four seasons that weren’t impacted by poor weather, there’s always a great chance for hunter success to increase.”

Opening-day harvests are typically responsible for 50 to 60 percent of a bear season harvest. When weather interferes, the season’s take suffers.

Bears were taken in 58 counties and 22 of Pennsylvania’s 23 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).

The largest bear through all 2019 seasons is the 813-pound male taken with a rifle on the opening day of the general season in Smithfield Township, Monroe County, by Victor M. Vassalluzzo, of Kintnersville.

The heaviest bear ever taken in Pennsylvania was an 875-pounder harvested in 2010 in Middle Smithfield Township, Pike County. Since 1992, seven black bears weighing at least 800 pounds have been lawfully harvested in Pennsylvania hunting seasons.

Other large bears taken in the 2019 bear general and extended bear seasons include: a 747-pound male taken with a rifle in Wright Township, Luzerne County, by J. Kripp Jr., of Mountaintop; a 743-pound male taken with a rifle in Greene Township, Pike County, by Matthew J. Erdie Jr., of Nazareth; a 696-pound male taken with a rifle in Penn Forest Township, Carbon County, by Brian J. Borosh, of Jim Thorpe; a 661-pound male taken with a rifle in Lake Township, Wayne County, by Michael A. Biduck II, of West Abington; a 657-pound male taken with a rifle in Franklin Township, Columbia County, by Nicholas A. Podgurski, of Elysburg; a 656-pound male taken in Hanover Township, Luzerne County, by Dale J. Kobal, of Hunlock Creek; a 631-pound male taken with a muzzleloader in Porter Township, Clarion County, by Mark V. Neiswonger, of New Bethlehem; a 630-pounf male taken with archery tackle in West Penn Township, Schuylkill County, by Craig L. Moyer, of New Ringgold; and a 623-pound male taken in Beech Creek Township, Clinton County, by Mikael J. Catanese, of Sewickley.

Lycoming County finished with 284 bears to take the top county bear harvest. It was followed by Clinton and Tioga counties, both with 267. Other top counties for bear harvests in 2019 were: Huntingdon, 180; Potter, 174; Luzerne, 163; Pike, 161; Bedford, 156; Centre, 146; and Warren, 146.

Final county harvests by region (with 2018 figures in parentheses) are:

Northwest – 557 (517): Warren, 146 (72); Venango, 80 (96); Forest, 69 (70); Crawford, 65 (79); Jefferson, 65 (79); Clarion, 65 (52); Butler, 44 (26); Erie, 16 (29); Mercer, 7 (13); and Lawrence, 0 (1).

Southwest – 347 (261): Somerset, 124 (85); Fayette, 62 (58); Armstrong, 58 (33); Indiana, 42 (34); Cambria, 29 (21); Westmoreland, 29 (26); Allegheny, 2 (2); Greene, 1 (1); and Beaver, 0 (1).

Northcentral – 1,605 (989): Lycoming, 284 (159); Clinton, 267 (158); Tioga, 267 (166); Potter, 174 (109); Centre, 146 (87); McKean, 129 (67); Clearfield, 103 (87); Elk, 101 (54);Cameron, 80 (67); and Union, 54 (35).

Southcentral – 731 (474): Huntingdon, 180 (142); Bedford, 156 (80); Fulton, 80 (58); Perry, 68 (31); Mifflin, 54 (29); Franklin, 47 (26); Juniata, 42 (34); Blair, 40 (44); Cumberland, 27 (12); Snyder, 25 (7); Adams, 11 (7); and York, 1 (4).

Northeast – 1,228 (775): Luzerne, 163 (105); Pike, 161 (104); Wayne, 131 (70); Monroe, 130 (103); Bradford, 128 (96); Carbon, 88 (60); Sullivan, 87 (53); Susquehanna, 82 (46); Wyoming, 82 (40); Lackawanna, 79 (34); Columbia, 64 (38); Northumberland, 26 (24); and Montour, 7 (2).

Southeast – 185 (137): Schuylkill, 79 (50); Dauphin, 67 (48); Berks, 17 (8); Northampton, 16 (17); Lehigh, 4 (4); and Lebanon, 2 (10).

The final bear harvests by Wildlife Management Unit (with final 2018 figures in parentheses) were: WMU 1A, 20 (23); WMU 1B, 167 (161); WMU 2A, 11 (7) WMU 2B, 3 (4); WMU 2C, 292 (193); WMU 2D, 189 (155); WMU 2E, 82 (75); WMU 2F, 351 (259); WMU 2G, 712 (422); WMU 2H, 111 (73); WMU 3A, 268 (222); WMU 3B, 427 (223); WMU 3C, 224 (134); WMU 3D, 493 (323); WMU 4A, 308 (218); WMU 4B, 192 (114); WMU 4C, 254 (168); WMU 4D, 370 (252); WMU 4E, 139 (105); WMU 5A, 25 (8); WMU 5B, 1 (4); and WMU 5C, 14 (10).

Despite the size of Pennsylvania’s bear harvest, it’s still within a harvest range in which the Game Commission is comfortable, which compelled the Board of Game Commissioners to add a week to the 2020 bear archery season.

“Pennsylvania has the best bear population monitoring program in America and is a leader in bear management among eastern states,” emphasized agency Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “If season adjusts are needed in future seasons, we’ll know quickly and adjust accordingly.”



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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 06:29 AM
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thanks for posting.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 07:50 AM
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Thanks for sharing
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 12:46 PM
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Should be no surprise with all the added days and seasons? I would expect a drop in the # this year.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2020, 08:22 PM
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Possible repeat next year with Sunday added. We always lose guys each year that go home Sunday and not hunt Monday. Guessing most, if not all of them will stay thus year.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xarcher View Post
Possible repeat next year with Sunday added. We always lose guys each year that go home Sunday and not hunt Monday. Guessing most, if not all of them will stay thus year.
Yep.....likely another record harvest is in store.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 11:06 AM
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Just hope we didn't over harvest
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 11:50 AM
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Just hope we didn't over harvest
Though some counties had a significantly higher harvest last season than the previous few seasons the goal was to significantly reduce the bear populations in many areas of the state.

But, with that said when you put the county and state harvests on graphs it appears that all last year's harvest did was reach the average harvest following a reduced harvest the previous few years.

After looking at the graphs I don't see anything that makes me think they have over harvested the bear population, or even set it up where we are likely to see a decline in bear sightings or bear harvests next year. Harvests are, and always have been, influenced by the year's mast crop and available food supplies but all things being equal next year I would expect another high bear harvest year.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 04:47 PM
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PGC biologist at the last meeting said a much higher than normal percentage of sows were killed this year. Yes, that will reduce the number of cubs born, and said they need to keep an eye on that percentage.
Some said they were worried about overharvest when we went to a Saturday opener years ago, now we have 30 days of hunting.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 05:12 PM
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PGC biologist at the last meeting said a much higher than normal percentage of sows were killed this year. Yes, that will reduce the number of cubs born, and said they need to keep an eye on that percentage.
Some said they were worried about overharvest when we went to a Saturday opener years ago, now we have 30 days of hunting.
The objective of the earlier seasons was to get more of the bred sows in the harvest to slow the trend of an increasing bear population. It probably worked to some extent too. But, I don't think we have anything to worry about so far even though I agree that they need to keep an eye on the number of bred sows showing up in the harvest.

For the entire history of the traditional Pennsylvania bear seasons they were set to occur after pretty much all the bred sows and a fair percentage of the sows with cubs in tow were already denned. That left only the males and a percentage of the sows with cubs out to be harvested. The number of sows and cubs out during the season was dependent on that year and areas food supply.

It has only been the early archery, and now the muzzleloader season, that put bred sows into the harvest equation and the potential to actually reduce the growth of our bear populations.

It will be interesting so see what the real effects are, but I am confident they will be able to make season adjustments if they start to see any adverse effects on the future of our bear populations.

Remember though that there are many areas of the state where it is so residential they don't really want many bears. Even though the hunters might disagree they have to be realistic in their expectations of how many bears we should have in some of those areas.

Dick Bodenhorn
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