Bear Check Station Helps Falls Creek Fire Company Improve Bottom Line

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FALLS CREEK, Pa. (EYT) – The consolidation of two area bear check stations have helped one area volunteer fire company with its fundraising.

When the Pa. Game Commission decided to close bear check stations where hunters report their harvests at Elliott State Park in Clearfield County and at State Game Lands 244 at Emerickville in Jefferson County, it presented an opportunity.

The Falls Creek Volunteer Fire Department became the new location for the check station, and by all accounts, it was a resounding success.

The department sold food and drinks, held a Chinese auction, had gun raffles, and a 50/50, not to mention a daily cash door prize.

According to Fire Chief Mark Miller, they were well on their way to making $5,000.00.

“That’s the equivalent of us holding eight chicken barbecues over the summer,” Miller said. “And, we are on standby at Hummingbird Speedway until late Saturday night, so turning around and doing those barbecues the next morning, starts adding up.”

Falls Creek Volunteer Fire Department

Falls Creek Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Mark Miller

Miller said they had several sponsors for the bear check station, including their main sponsor, the Falls Creek Eagles. All of the money raised benefits the fire department.

The hunters and people that came to the hall to see what was going on really enjoyed everything, according to Miller.

“Being indoors and having a seating area where everyone could see the bears and the hunters was pretty popular,” Miller said. “And, the hunters liked it because they could get hot food and something to drink. We enjoyed working with the Game Commission officers, they were very professional.”

“We are absolutely happy with it, and we look forward to continuing to do it,” Miller said.

PGC Land Management Group Supervisor for Clarion and Jefferson counties Jesse Bish ran the check station and was in charge of entering information about each successful hunter and the bear in the commission’s data base.

“It worked out extremely well for everyone,” Bish said. “Having the drive through setup and being indoors worked extremely well. Things went very smoothly.”

“When they looked into combining check stations, they analyzed the overall number of bears that each station checked on an annual basis and where they came from. Being right off Interstate 80 and centrally located was a factor, too.”

As of 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 101 bears were reported to the check station, including one over 500 pounds and three more over 400.

Final harvest numbers, including the archery season and extended season in certain parts of the state, won’t be available until early next year.


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