Opening day bear harvest drops drastically

Times Leader | November 21st, 2017 5:01 am

The first day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season resulted in a harvest of 659 black bears, according to preliminary totals released Monday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The figure is a decrease from the 1,297 bears harvested on the first day in 2016. Rain throughout the state was a big factor behind the reduced harvest this year.

Archery-bear and other early bear season harvest data are not included in this preliminary harvest for the statewide four-day bear season, which runs from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22.

Bears have been harvested in 49 counties during the statewide season so far.

The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 535 pounds or more.

The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 700 pounds – was taken in Oil Creek Township, Venango County, by Chad A. Wagner, of Titusville, Pa. He took it with a rifle at about 8 a.m. Nov. 18, the season’s opening day. Locally, Richard B. Kollar of Shickshinny bagged the heaviest bruin on Monday, a male weighing 561 pounds, in Ross Township.

Other large bears taken in the season’s opening day – all taken with a rifle – include: a 648-pound male taken in Dreher Township, Wayne County, by Joseph D. Simon, of Newfoundland, Pa.; a 609-pound male taken in Abbott Township, Potter County, by Michael R. Neimeyer, of Spring City, Pa.; a 595-pound male taken in St. Marys Township, Elk County, by Stephanie A. Siford, of North East, Pa.; a 595-pound male taken in Charleston Township, Tioga County, by Zachery L. Martin, of Wellsboro, Pa.; a 586-pound male taken in Oil Creek Township, Crawford County, by Brian K. Baker, Titusville, Pa.; a 576-pound male taken in Homer Township, Potter County, by Kirby R. Kornhaus, of Jonestown, Pa.; a 536-pound male taken in Dean Township, Cambria County, by Matthew J. Lidwell, of Dysart, Pa.; and a 535-pound male taken in Blooming Grove Township, Pike County, by Bradley S. Delikat, of Telford, Pa.

The overall 2016 bear harvest was 3,529, the fifth largest is state history. In 2015, hunters took a total of 3,745 bears – the fifth-largest harvest all time. The largest harvest – 4,350 bears – happened in 2011, when preliminary first-day totals numbered 1,936.

Other previous first-day statewide bear harvest totals were 1,623 in 2014; 1,320 in 2013; 1,751 in 2010; 1,897 in 2009; 1,725 in 2008; 1,005 in 2007; 1,461 in 2007; and 1,461 in 2006.

The preliminary first-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit was as follows: WMU 1A, 1 (9 in 2016); WMU 1B, 11 (24); WMU 2C, 18 (90); WMU 2D, 32 (37); WMU 2E, 5 (27); WMU 2F, 65 (145); WMU 2G, 129 (303); WMU 2H, 31 (45); WMU 3A, 43 (7); WMU 3B, 74 (95); WMU 3C, 44 (39); WMU 3D, 101 (105); WMU 4A, 29 (83); WMU 4B, 14 (51); WMU 4C, 20 (44); WMU 4D, 26 (102); WMU 4E, 14 (25); and WMU 5A, 2 (1).

The top bear-hunting county in the state on the first day of the season was Tioga County, with 58. It was followed by Pike County with 55.

Opening-day harvests by county and region are (last year’s harvest in parentheses):

Northwest (90): Warren, 22 (41); Clarion, 17 (19); Venango, 16 (35); Jefferson, 14 (29); Forest, 12 (38); Crawford, 7 (8); Butler, 2 (5);.

Southwest (23): Somerset, 8 (40); Fayette, 6 (21); Armstrong, 4 (6); Cambria, 4 (10); and Indiana, 1 (10).

Northcentral (263): Tioga, 58 (76); Lycoming, 47 (106); Clinton, 41 (97); Potter, 31 (65); Elk, 28 (43); Cameron, 20 (43); McKean, 16 (39); Clearfield, 12 (46); Centre, 5 (34); and Union, 5 (9).

Southcentral (57): Huntingdon, 16 (37); Bedford, 12 (42); Fulton, 9 (25); Mifflin, 5 (14); Franklin, 4 (10); Juniata, 3 (22); Perry, 3 (17); Adams, 2 (0); Cumberland, 2 (3); and Blair, 1 (15).

Northeast (211): Pike, 55 (34); Wayne, 32 (27); Sullivan, 24 (19); Monroe, 18 (27); Luzerne, 15 (37); Wyoming, 15 (8); Lackawanna, 14 (16); Susquehanna, 13 (20); Bradford, 10 (28); Carbon, 9 (12); Columbia, 4 (12); Montour, 1 (0); and Northumberland, 1 (1).

Southeast (15): Dauphin, 9 (16); Berks, 3 (1); Schuylkill, 2 (12); and Northampton, 1 (1).

Rich Kollar of Shickshinny harvested this 561-pound bear in Ross Township on the Saturday opener of the statewide bear season.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/web1_KollarBear.jpgRich Kollar of Shickshinny harvested this 561-pound bear in Ross Township on the Saturday opener of the statewide bear season.

Times Leader

Reach Tom Venesky at 570-991-6395 or on Twitter @TomVenesky


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