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SAD, they can blame it on whatever they like but decisions made by the powers that be, DO MATTER !! WAY WAY to much lead being thrown at them for to long of a time. The inline seasons 3 & 4 years ago really hurt the population, hunting around unharvested corn fields pushed the harvest numbers much higher than anyone predicted, then we have the senior and junior rifles seasons and in some areas the season during deer season, apparently after 4 years we can conclude "too much", change must come now, the evidence is overwhelming....haven't heard a shot in 2 years hunting in Clearfield Co, Indiana and Jefferson, never thought was even possible...thank God for those living on posted land at least they'll help the recovery as they move off....
 

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I haven't taken the time to look at the facts but how many more females are being taken now with these early seasons? I could be wrong but i believe most females den up before bear rifle comes in which saves a lot of them. With these early muzzy, senior and junior gun seasons and i wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more females being taken. I hope they makes some changes next year .
 

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Need to cut the muzzleloader season to between 0 and 3 days. Need to cut the archery season in half.
Last year if you combine early muzzleloader season and archery bear season, they are harvesting more than rifle.
As for females denning early, yes to some extent if they are pregnent, but the food source contributes more to the overall population denying. Once the bear is using more calories finding food than they consume, they den.
 

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I haven't taken the time to look at the facts but how many more females are being taken now with these early seasons? I could be wrong but i believe most females den up before bear rifle comes in which saves a lot of them. With these early muzzy, senior and junior gun seasons and i wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more females being taken. I hope they makes some changes next year .
This is exactly what the PGC rep says they will be taking a close look at.

Imo I believe the intent of all the extra seasons was to reduce the population statewide, but also procide additional opportunities early to hunt bear around crop fields and suburbia before those food sources were gone and the bear head for the mountains. The problem is people arent hunting bear in the big ag areas and suburbia, they are headed to the big woods in the core bear habitat in NCPA and putting drives on with muzzleloaders and crossbows. There has been immense pressure in Clinton, Potter, Tioga and Lycoming cos in the early season in my experience.
 

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I agree with the consensus here.
This new early muzzleloader season has entirely changed things.
 

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IMO, my observations over the years seems to be that the PGC is always late in the game when it comes to extra seasons hurting the resource, Could it be they see how many folks are buying muzzy and bear tags now and disregard the resource until they finally realize oh crap the resource is really taking a toll on these new seasons. I am referring to other game species as well. Running 14 day concurrent for a season or 2 you will see the same for the deer herd in most areas but not all. Its already having an affect in my part of 4b but we are in a DMA zone and thats the intent to reduce the herd due to CWD.
 

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In my area of Potter county our bear numbers still seem as high as ever. The shear amount of mast crop this year kept alot of the bear out of the ag fields and the amount of guys that do organized drives around me is half of what it was 5 years ago. I've had 5 bear in gun range this week, managed 1 missed shot. I know the bear license sales are up do to people buying them just because the opportunity a bear walked by them with the longer seasons but I'd be surprised if survey results wouldn't show that the number of guys actually bear hunting isn't way down from what it was just a couple years ago.
 

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SAD, they can blame it on whatever they like but decisions made by the powers that be, DO MATTER !! WAY WAY to much lead being thrown at them for to long of a time. The inline seasons 3 & 4 years ago really hurt the population, hunting around unharvested corn fields pushed the harvest numbers much higher than anyone predicted, then we have the senior and junior rifles seasons and in some areas the season during deer season, apparently after 4 years we can conclude "too much", change must come now, the evidence is overwhelming....haven't heard a shot in 2 years hunting in Clearfield Co, Indiana and Jefferson, never thought was even possible...thank God for those living on posted land at least they'll help the recovery as they move off....
That may be a little bit of a misguided statement. I'm not sure population density/size necessarily equates to harvest numbers as well as there are many more variables to this that have not been discussed. One of which is exactly the inverse of your last comment. In all reality a good reason you may not be hearing any shots is because the extreme amount of posted ground has in my opinion really limited the harvest potential.

Myself whom has actively hunted with organized groups (i.e. 20+members) for the last 15 years as well as I am sure with many others could spend hours elaborating the impact that the rapid increase in posted/inaccessible ground has affected bear hunting harvest. I would be willing to say that 95% of our core drives (i.e. ones that had high success rates) were lost due to this factor. To be honest the last (3) years we have really been limited to pretty much SGL. While we do continue to harvest bear every year it certainly isn't at the rates we could be. This is a compounding effect as I am sure many other groups are struggling as well and to be honest I am sure it has lead to many groups disbanning. To be honest I would not be surprised if in the next decade or two organized bear driving is almost non existent.

Another factor to consider is many of the guys who are harvesting with bow/muzzeloaders are ones that would have with a rifle as well (i.e. "hardcore" bear hunters). There are just certain people who spend significantly more time/effort hunting bear than others. So a portion of what you are seeing is just numbers being shifted from the "Firearms" seasons to the "Combined" seasons.
 

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That may be a little bit of a misguided statement. I'm not sure population density/size necessarily equates to harvest numbers as well as there are many more variables to this that have not been discussed. One of which is exactly the inverse of your last comment. In all reality a good reason you may not be hearing any shots is because the extreme amount of posted ground has in my opinion really limited the harvest potential.

Myself whom has actively hunted with organized groups (i.e. 20+members) for the last 15 years as well as I am sure with many others could spend hours elaborating the impact that the rapid increase in posted/inaccessible ground has affected bear hunting harvest. I would be willing to say that 95% of our core drives (i.e. ones that had high success rates) were lost due to this factor. To be honest the last (3) years we have really been limited to pretty much SGL. While we do continue to harvest bear every year it certainly isn't at the rates we could be. This is a compounding effect as I am sure many other groups are struggling as well and to be honest I am sure it has lead to many groups disbanning. To be honest I would not be surprised if in the next decade or two organized bear driving is almost non existent.

Another factor to consider is many of the guys who are harvesting with bow/muzzeloaders are ones that would have with a rifle as well (i.e. "hardcore" bear hunters). There are just certain people who spend significantly more time/effort hunting bear than others. So a portion of what you are seeing is just numbers being shifted from the "Firearms" seasons to the "Combined" seasons.
You're statement couldn't be more correct. On top of the loss of ground alot of properties, the ones I run included don't do drives anymore simply to reduce the pressure on the deer herd just before deer season.
 

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It's not a secret the intent of the muzzleloader and expanded archery seasons was to reduce the population from the unsustainable levels many areas were experiencing. I surely do not believe those seasons will remain in place in the long-term without some major adjustments. A concern of mine is the wounded and unrecovered rates from the muzzleloader and archery seasons. I know of more unrecovered bears since the muzzleloader season was created than in the previous decade with rifles. If there's a bunch of bears laying in the woods rotting they don't show up in the harvest statistics.
 

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A concern of mine is the wounded and unrecovered rates from the muzzleloader and archery seasons. I know of more unrecovered bears since the muzzleloader season was created than in the previous decade with rifles. If there's a bunch of bears laying in the woods rotting they don't show up in the harvest statistics.
I think you’re onto something here. I knew of several bears hit in archery season that weren’t recovered.
 

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It's not a secret the intent of the muzzleloader and expanded archery seasons was to reduce the population from the unsustainable levels many areas were experiencing. I surely do not believe those seasons will remain in place in the long-term without some major adjustments. A concern of mine is the wounded and unrecovered rates from the muzzleloader and archery seasons. I know of more unrecovered bears since the muzzleloader season was created than in the previous decade with rifles. If there's a bunch of bears laying in the woods rotting they don't show up in the harvest statistics.
I too am sure there are more bears wounded that escape the hunter's recovery efforts with the added hunting and weapon opportunities we have today. But, with that said I can also you that bears have the most amazing ability to recover from some pretty darn serious injuries. If a bear is injured and makes it through their first night without dying it is almost guaranteed that they will recover.

I dealt with a lot of injured bears over my career and some of them had what appeared to be really major injuries. In the early years of may career I dispatched a number of injured bears but then I discovered just how likely they were to recover from the injuries if I just left them alone or did some patching up on them. It got to the point I never dispatched an injured bear, unless it had an obvious broken back, and instead would move them to a safe spot and let them alone until the next day. If they had internal injuries they would be dead by the next day and I processed them as a non-season bear kill. But, if they weren't dead by the next day everyone of them eventually recovered and left on their own.

There are some pretty amazing stories about a few of them in one of the books I am working on getting published. I think they are all in the second book though so it might be a while before the stories get released for the public to read.

Dick Bodenhorn
 
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