Preliminary Black Bear Harvest Results

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced that hunters came up slightly short in their efforts to establish a new state record bear harvest in the recently concluded three-day bear season.

"Our preliminary bear harvest figures show hunters took 3,060 bears in the three-day season held last week," said Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross. "It marks only the second time bear hunters have harvested 3,000 or more bears in a three-day season, and both harvests occurred in the past two seasons."

The Pennsylvania bear harvest record was set in 2000 when hunters harvested 3,075 bears. It shattered a previous state high of 2,598 bears set by hunters in 1998.

"Bear hunting is better than it's ever been in Pennsylvania," Ross noted. "It's no longer an upstate hunting opportunity. Just ask the people in our southeastern counties, where hunters took nearly 100 bears there this past season."

The best preliminary regional harvest was reported in the Northcentral Region, where 1,416 bears were taken. That compares with 1,526 in 2000. Other region totals were as follows: Northeast, 703 (814); Northwest, 304 (231); Southwest, 275 (232); Southcentral, 268 (213); and Southeast, 94 (54).

"In our traditional bear range, the Northeast and Northcentral counties, the harvest was slightly down from 2000's, but it still was within the harvest range we were expecting," said Mark Ternent, Game Commission bear biologist. "However, there were sizeable increases in the other four regions where bear populations continue to grow and expand, and they were significant contributing factors toward this year's large harvest.

"In addition, we knew the bear population didn't drop from 2000 to 2001, despite the record harvest last year. The same may be true for this year. We'll know more when we have a chance to more thoroughly analyze harvest data," said Ternent, who noted that a final harvest report is due out by the end of the year after he has an opportunity to review all of the harvest reports.

"Also contributing to this year's large kill was the abundance of fall foods in many areas. Bears that normally den before the season remained active and available to hunters. This factor, combined with good hunting weather, typically improves hunter success, which was the case this fall in Pennsylvania."

Clinton County, for the third consecutive year, posted the state's largest county harvest with 267 bears. It was followed by Lycoming with 242; Pike, 177; Centre, 150; Tioga, 132; Clearfield, 130; Cameron, 126; Potter, 117; Elk, 109; and McKean, 107.

Preliminary county harvest results for the season, including 2000's actual harvest results in parentheses, are:

Northwest - Warren 92 (64); Forest, 81 (58); Jefferson, 58 (43); Venango, 42 (43); Clarion, 25, (15); and Butler, 6 (2).

Southwest - Somerset, 76 (56); Westmoreland, 61 (25); Fayette 43 (26); Indiana, 36 (45); Armstrong, 34 (38); and Cambria, 25; (43).

Northcentral - Clinton, 267 (248); Lycoming, 242 (223); Centre, 150 (151); Tioga, 132 (152); Clearfield, 130 (175); Cameron, 126 (94); Potter, 117 (203); Elk, 109 (108); McKean, 107 (154); and Union, 36 (20).

Southcentral - Huntington, 98 (64); Bedford, 52 (43); Blair, 52 (53); Mifflin, 37 (24); Snyder, 9 (12); Fulton, 7 (10); Juniata, 7 (5); Perry, 5 (2); and Franklin, 1 (0).

Northeast - Pike, 177 (170); Luzerne, 95 (72); Monroe, 65 (103); Carbon, 61 (72); Wayne, 56 (112); Sullivan, 55 (94); Bradford, 47 (48); Lackawanna, 47 (35); Columbia, 36 (33); Wyoming, 35 (50); Susquehanna, 21 (19); Northumberland, 6 (8); and Montour, 2 (0).

Southeast - Schuylkill, 47 (35); Dauphin, 18 (7); Lebanon, 14 (6); Berks, 6 (2); Northampton, 6 (2); and Lehigh, 3 (2).

Preliminary bear harvest statistics show female hunters harvested 35 bears in the season, and junior hunters took 91 bears. In addition, the most successful age group was hunters 37 to 41 years of age, followed by 32-to-36; and 42-to-46.

The largest bear taken in the 2001 season was a 666-pound male (live weight), taken on the opening day at 3 p.m. by Scott L. Cummings of Troy in Lycoming County's McIntyre Township. Rounding out the top bears taken in this year's harvest were:

  • 653-pound bear taken by John M. Whyne Jr. of Catawissa at 7 a.m. on the first day in Roaring Creek Township, Columbia County.
  • 638-pound bear harvested by James K. Wright of Knox Dale at 7:10 a.m. on the second day in Hickory Township, Forest County.
  • 635-pound bear taken by David E. Hottenstein of New Albany at 1:20 p.m. on the first day in Forks Township, Sullivan County.
  • 634-pound bear taken by Raymond K. Pruss of Julian at 8:45 a.m. on the second day in Barree Township, Huntingdon County.
  • 623-pound bear taken by David Maloney of Sassamanville at 7:20 a.m. on the first day in Blooming Grove Township, Pike County.
  • 617-pound bear harvested by Hartman R. Kevin of McClure at 11:14 a.m. on the third day in McClure Township, Snyder County.
  • 614-pound bear taken by Jerry L. Laughman of Hanover at 11:30 a.m. on the second day in Covington Township, Lackawanna County.
  • 611-pound bear taken by Gary A. Laird of Reading at 1 p.m. on the first day in Lehman Township, Pike County.
  • 590-pound bear taken by Scot H. Mosier of Palmerton at 10 a.m. on the first day in Smithfield Township, Monroe County.
  • 590-pound bear taken by Joshua F. Young of Pittsburgh at 8:30 a.m. on the first day in Triumph Township, Warren County.