Game Commission: Prelim bear totals down from last season

From staff reports

Hunters during the final day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season harvested 168 bears, raising the 2017 statewide season harvest to 1,796 an about 30 percent decrease compared to the 2,579 bears taken during the 2016 season, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said in a press release issued Monday.

Extensive rain on the season’s opening day, Nov. 18, led to the harvest decline, according to the Game Commission.

Archery and other early-bear season harvest data is not included in this report. Comprehensive bear harvest totals that include bears taken during the early and extended seasons will be released in the coming months. During the statewide season, bears were harvested in 54 counties.

The top 10 bears processed at check stations were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 576 pounds or more.

The state’s heaviest bear in the statewide season – a male estimated at 700 pounds – was taken in Oil Creek Township, Venango County, by Chad A. Wagner, of Titusville. He took it with a rifle at about 8 a.m. Nov. 18, the season’s opening day.

Other large bears taken over the four-day season – all taken with a rifle – include: a 691-pound male taken Nov. 21 in Cherry Grove Township, Warren County, by James M. Langdon, of Wattsburg; a 648-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Dreher Township, Wayne County, by Joseph D. Simon, of Newfoundland; a 609-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Abbott Township, Potter County, by Michael R. Neimeyer, of Spring City; a 601-pound male taken Nov. 20 in Valley Township, Armstrong County, by Bo J. Bowser, of Kittanning; a 595-pound male taken Nov. 18 in St. Marys Township, Elk County, by Stephanie A. Siford, of North East; a 595-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Charleston Township, Tioga County, by Zachery L. Martin, of Wellsboro; and a 586-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Oil Creek Township, Crawford County, by Brian K. Baker, Titusville.

The top bear hunting county in the statewide season was Lycoming County with 130 bears, according to the Game Commission. It held off Tioga County, where hunters took 127 bears during the statewide season. Tioga County had led the state through the first two days of season. In the final day of the season, hunters took 14 bears in Tioga County and 10 in Lycoming County, the Game Commission said.

Statewide season harvests by county and region are:

Northwest (286): Warren, 84 (106); Jefferson, 48 (60); Venango, 43 (75); Clarion, 34 (42); Forest, 31 (64); Crawford, 22 (34); Butler, 12 (8); Erie, 6 (11); and Mercer, 6 (7).