Whitehall-Coplay Press

Monday, May 27, 2019
Press photo by Nick HromiakThe state’s final bear harvest tally is in and is down from the 2017 seasons. Press photo by Nick HromiakThe state’s final bear harvest tally is in and is down from the 2017 seasons.

Outdoors: 2018 bear harvest numbers are in

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 by nick hromiak Special to the Press in Sports

Pennsylvania’s final bear harvest figures are in and the take was down for the 2018 seasons. This pales in comparison to the state’s top harvest of 4,350 recorded for the 2011 season.

The 2018 season breakdown shows 2,017 were shot during the general firearms season; 699 in the extended season; and 424 during the archery season and 12 in the early season.

The 2018 harvest came in at 3,153, the 11th-best all-time but also the lowest bear harvest in the past 11 years from an estimated population of 20,000 bears, reports the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). The commission says the lower numbers were the result of bad weather over this and the 2017 seasons.

“With better weather conditions, hunters would have taken another 1,000 bears during the past two seasons,” says Mark Ternent, PGC’s bear biologist.

The biologist said he was looking for a harvest of 2,000 bears over the past two seasons and that opening day harvests are typically responsible for 50-to-60 percent of the harvest during that particular season opener. As such, the harvest figure didn’t meet the PGCs goals and that’s important because when a state has too many bears, there are more encounters with humans, pets and vehicle accidents.

Of this tally, bears were taken in 60 counties within Pennsylvania’s 23 Wildlife Management Units. The largest bear weighed an estimated 780 pounds and was taken with a rifle in Howe Township, Forest County, on the second day of the general bear season. A day later, a 708-pound male was taken with a rifle in Harvey’s Lake Borough in Luzerne County.

As for our local WMU, there were 10 bears taken whereas the 2017 season posted a take of 11.

Tioga County finished with 166 bears to take the top county bear harvest. It was followed by Lycoming County with 159. Other top counties for bear harvests in 2018 were: Clinton, 158; Huntingdon, 142; Potter, 109; Luzerne, 105; Pike, 104; and Monroe, 103.

PGC Executive Director Bryan Burhans reminds hunters that 40 years ago his agency had to close bear hunting season to safeguard the state’s black-bear resource.

“Now, Pennsylvania has become one of North America’s premier black-bear destinations,” he boasts.

The following are harvest numbers from the six regions of the commonwealth. The numbers in parenthesis are 2017 harvest figures:

Northwest - 517 (388): Venango, 96 (61); Crawford, 79 (40); Jefferson, 79 (55); Warren, 72 (109); Forest, 70 (35); Clarion, 52 (51); Erie, 29 (13); Butler, 26 (18); Mercer, 13 (6); and Lawrence, 1 (0).

Southwest - 261 (237): Somerset, 85 (75); Fayette, 58 (66); Indiana, 34 (11); Armstrong, 33 (36); Westmoreland, 26 (26); Cambria, 21 (21); Allegheny, 2 (1); Beaver, 1 (0); and Greene, 1 (1).

Northcentral - 989 (1,187): Tioga, 166 (214); Lycoming, 159 (252); Clinton, 158 (153); Potter 109 (161); Centre, 87 (93); Clearfield, 87 (66); Cameron, 67 (52); McKean, 67 (86); Elk, 54 (72); and Union, 35 (38).

Southcentral - 474 (383): Huntingdon, 142 (91); Bedford, 80 (57); Fulton, 58 (29); Blair, 44 (27); Juniata, 34 (41); Perry, 31 (44); Mifflin, 29 (43); Franklin, 26 (24); Cumberland, 12 (8); Adams, 7 (6); Snyder, 7 (13); and York, 4 (0).

Northeast - 775 (1,112): Pike, 104 (193); Luzerne, 105 (108); Monroe, 103 (82); Bradford, 96 (112); Wayne, 70 (156); Carbon, 60 (57); Sullivan, 53 (156); Susquehanna, 46 (66); Wyoming, 40 (70); Lackawanna, 34 (65); Columbia, 38 (29); Northumberland, 24 (16); and Montour, 2 (2).

Southeast - 137 (131): Schuylkill, 50 (47); Dauphin, 48 (49); Northampton, 17 (19); Lebanon, 10 (8); Berks, 8 (7); and Lehigh, 4 (1).

The final bear harvests by Wildlife Management Unit (with final 2016 figures in parentheses) were: WMU 1A, 23 (17); WMU 1B, 161 (103); WMU 2A, 7 (3) WMU 2B, 4 (4); WMU 2C, 193 (207); WMU 2D, 155 (131); WMU 2E, 75 (39); WMU 2F, 259 (232); WMU 2G, 422 (474); WMU 2H, 73 (87); WMU 3A, 222 (213); WMU 3B, 223 (457); WMU 3C, 134 (262); WMU 3D, 323 (417); WMU 4A, 218 (96); WMU 4B, 114 (130); WMU 4C, 168 (157); WMU 4D, 252 (296); WMU 4E, 105 (94); WMU 5A, 8 (7); WMU 5B, 4 (1); and WMU 5C, 10 (11).