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IMO, taking a PA black bear is no easy feat. A lot of guys hunt them their whole life and never get one. I think hunter success rate is usually around 3%. But like everything in life, the work you put in the more you get out. I know two guys that have killed 6 pa bears each, that’s pretty impressive in my book. Anyone know of someone that’s killed more?
 

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From what I understand, black bears change territories in early fall and travel far. That leaves little time to scout and locate their new territory before hunting season begins for them.

I think most people that hunt them are just guessing where they are (myself included)- and have slim chance. The only bear I ever shot was few years back when a buddy invited me to where he knew bear were during the season. It was a thrill knowing I was hunting them where they actually were. 6 sure is impressive tho.
 

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There are bear hunters, and then there are people who hunt bears, generally speaking, those who are bear hunters and have taken the time to learn how and where are pretty successful.
 
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A lot of those who are frequently successful at harvesting bears are part of highly organized drives. Many of those hunters harvest a large number of bears over the years.

People who are unscrupulous enough to kill them because of baiting are also often pretty successful.

There are a few though that are successful over multiple years just because they know where to find bears working natural food supplies then manage to put themselves in the right places to capitalize on that knowledge.

My step son is one of those who hunts organized drives. He has killed four bears so far. He is just a tad over 30 years old, so unless he losses interest I would expect him to be close to a dozen bears before he gets to old to do it.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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IMO, taking a PA black bear is no easy feat. A lot of guys hunt them their whole life and never get one. I think hunter success rate is usually around 3%. But like everything in life, the work you put in the more you get out. I know two guys that have killed 6 pa bears each, that’s pretty impressive in my book. Anyone know of someone that’s killed more?
I know a father and son that have taken 21 between the 2 of them. All PA bears. They hunt the PA/NY border. If they get a bear then the hunt deer in NY.
 

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I've killed 5, 2 during drives, 1 I scouted, 1 I tracked in the snow, and 1 spot and stalk with a bow. I've missed and or made bad shot at 4 more. All this over 15 years.
 

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I’ve killed 5 and shot at or participated in killing 3 other. 2 on drives, one tracking, one rifle sitting, one archery sitting. Really don’t need any more bears but there are so many any more I’ll shoot one every year if I can.
 

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When I lived/worked in the Lehigh Valley, one of my drivers was a die hard bear hunter. He was near retirement age and told me he had shot a bear every year since he was 14...I didn't know him personally, only through work, so he may have been pulling my leg, but maybe not..
 

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The bear gangs around here kill them fairly easily especially if they get a snow. They drive from road to road until they cut a track then surround the woodlots with 10 to 15 guys and drive it out. I know some members of these gangs that have shot multiple bears over the years. They're very effective if you prefer that luck of the draw method.

Personally, I always hunt alone and only with an arrow, but I've found PA black bears to be the most difficult animal (that I've hunted) to consistently arrow.
 

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There is probably no better time to kill a bear in Pa. then the present. With a high bear population and being able to hunt them during archery your chances are good, especially if you find acorns loaded with bear sign. My buddy killed a nice bear with his bow last year feeding on a bench loaded with acorns.
 

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Prior to Pa having an archery bear season,I would average having at least one bear every other year within easy bow range.Haven't seen one in archery season since they instituted a season and probably never will.
 

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As regulations currently read, PA bear hunting is a monumental waste of time. The only way to have any success in PA is to put on large organized drives like already mentioned.

I think it’s frustrating that some people do not see a problem with having 15-20 guys thrash through brush with 5-10 more hunters posted on escape routes sling lead as fast as they can at running bears wounding and loosing far more than recovering, and in the same breath say It’s wrong to allow hunting them over bait where a hunter can take a smooth, relaxed shot at a calm bear to properly place an arrow into its vitals.

I’ve harvested bears, but none in PA! In all the deer archery hunting and scouting I’ve done I’ve never seen one bear, and with the tens of thousands of trail cam pics I’ve gotten I only have 10 or so of bears.

Something else I find comical is an article I recently read in a bowhunting magazine. In the article it said that PA cannot meet its mangament goals for bear harvests despite increasing hunting seasons. However, any suggestion to legalize bear baiting is met with strong opposition.
 

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I have to strongly disagree with you on that archer. Maybe it depends on where you hunt, but drives are not the only way to kill. I said in my OP that I know two guys who have each killed six. One of those two guys is my dad, who has killed 6 bears since 1988 and not one of them was on a drive. I have personally killed 3 Pa bears, only one was on a drive. The key is knowing where the food is. I hunt bears in a fairly remote part of pa where there is little to no agriculture. If you can find a stand of productive beech trees, the bears will be close by that time of year.
 

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Maybe I’m just in the wrong part of the state, but hunt a lot of food sources in early archery and see a good amount of deer, but like I said no bear.

Only in the past 5-8 years have I even been getting a trail cam pic here and there of a bear.

I still stand by what I said PA bear hunting is a waste of time. Even with your father whose secured solid bragging rights for his bear hunting abilities only enjoys a 20% success rate for hunting bear in PA since 1988 with a total of 6 successes. Compared to a guy I know that’s killed a bear every year he’s gone, but hunts in a state that allows baiting. For my time and energy I’ll stick to baiting in legal states.
 

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i have 2 buddies that are up to 9 i think ....ive shot 2 myself and never go to our good spots anymore thats for the new guys to hopefully get one....dont get me wrong i see one im going to try and take it but im not looking real hard
 

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Maybe I’m just in the wrong part of the state, but hunt a lot of food sources in early archery and see a good amount of deer, but like I said no bear.

Only in the past 5-8 years have I even been getting a trail cam pic here and there of a bear.

I still stand by what I said PA bear hunting is a waste of time. Even with your father whose secured solid bragging rights for his bear hunting abilities only enjoys a 20% success rate for hunting bear in PA since 1988 with a total of 6 successes. Compared to a guy I know that’s killed a bear every year he’s gone, but hunts in a state that allows baiting. For my time and energy I’ll stick to baiting in legal states.
Baiting in Penna. would allow for uncontrolled and extreme over harvests in many areas of this state. There are steps being taken, such as these earlier seasons, that should result in better bear population management.

As for you not seeing many bears I would suggest that you find more suitable places to look for bears. I see dozens of bears every year, but then I look for bears where one should normally expect to find a good supply of bears. It is kind of like if I wanted to go fishing I wouldn't head out to the desert looking for and expecting to have the best of fishing.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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With the early bear season there is a heck of an opportunity to have a crack at a bear. I'm looking forward to it. I posted earlier I love to just get out, I've taken two, and if I see a really big one I may take a shot.
 
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