Statewide Bear Harvest Close to Last Year’s Pace

In the wintry weather that enveloped much of Pennsylvania on Nov. 26, the final day of the statewide firearms bear season, hunters harvested 100 bears, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

That final-day total pushed the harvest during the four-day 2014 season to 2,444, down slightly compared to the 2,473 bears taken during the statewide season in 2013.

Meanwhile, bear hunting during the extended season has resumed in some areas of the state, and is about to kick off in others.

Extended season harvest totals, as well as harvest totals from the bear archery season and otherearly bear seasons will be released following the close of all bear hunting in late January.

Bears were harvested in 54 counties during the statewide season.

And two of the larger bears in the harvest were taken beyond the season’s midway point.

John L. Thrush, of Boiling Springs, on Nov. 26 harvested a bear estimated at 597 pounds while hunting in Delmar Township, Tioga County; while Gabriel J. Heckman, of Shelocta, took a 579-pounder in Armstrong Township, Indiana County of Nov. 25.

Those bears, by weight, rank as the fourth- and fifth-largest taken during the statewide season.

And with the addition of those bears, the top 10 bears processed at check stations during the statewide season were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 557 pounds or more, based on the preliminary totals.

The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 677 pounds – was taken in Pittsfield Township, Warren County by James M. Hultberg, of Pittsfield, Pa, during the Nov. 22 opener.

Other large bears include: a 623-pound male taken in West Buffalo Township, Union County by Fred F. Stoltzfus, of Lewisburg, Pa.; a 598-pound male taken in Muddy Creek Township, Butler County by Jeffrey L. McClymonds of Slippery Rock, Pa.; a 574-pound male taken in Tyrone Township, Blair County, by Ray E. Golden, of Tyrone, Pa.; a 560-pound male taken in Black Township, Somerset County, by Derek J. Wheeler, of Uniontown; a 559-pound male taken in Delmar Township, Tioga County by K.L. Sarangoulis, of Reading, Pa.; a 558-pound male taken in West Branch Township, Potter County, by Colton P. Group, of Landisburg, Pa.; and a 557-pound male taken in Portage Township, Cambria County, by Brett A. Robine, of Irwin, Pa.

With the preliminary totals from the statewide season comparable to last year, hunters are in good position to match the overall 2013 harvest of 3,510 bears, which is the fifth-largest harvest in state history.

The largest harvest – 4,350 bears – happened in 2011, when the preliminary statewide firearms season total numbered 3,154.

The preliminary harvest by Wildlife Management Unit during the statewide firearms bear season wasas follows: WMU 1A, 10; WMU 1B, 81; WMU 2A, 1; WMU 2C, 233 ; WMU 2D, 137; WMU 2E, 47;WMU 2F, 249 ; WMU 2G, 571; WMU 2H, 65; WMU 3A, 153; WMU 3B, 199; WMU 3C, 65; WMU 3D, 169; WMU 4A, 97; WMU 4B, 89; WMU 4C, 66; WMU 4D, 176; WMU 4E, 31; WMU 5A, 4; andWMU 5C, 1.

The top bear harvest county in the state during the statewide season was Lycoming County, with 208.

Statewide season harvests by county and region are:

Northwest (364): Warren, 93; Venango, 65; Jefferson, 53; Clarion, 50; Forest, 39; Crawford, 24; Butler, 23; Erie, 13; and Mercer, 4.

Southwest (257): Fayette, 85; Somerset, 83; Armstrong, 35; Westmoreland, 24; Indiana, 18; andCambria, 12.

Northcentral (1,077): Lycoming, 208; Tioga, 193; Clinton, 149; Potter, 107; Centre, 88; McKean, 85; Cameron, 76; Elk, 73; Clearfield, 69; and Union, 29.

Southcentral (285): Huntingdon, 65; Bedford, 60; Perry, 35; Blair, 34; Mifflin, 29; Fulton, 22; Juniata, 16; Franklin, 11; Snyder, 9; Cumberland, 3; and Adams, 1.

Northeast (411): Pike, 79; Bradford, 57; Sullivan, 47; Luzerne, 45; Monroe, 38; Susquehanna, 32; Wayne, 32; Carbon, 29; Wyoming, 26; Lackawanna, 14; Columbia, 10; and Northumberland, 2.

Southeast (50): Schuylkill, 25; Dauphin, 17; Berks, 3; Lebanon, 2; Lehigh, 2; and Northampton, 1.

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