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Bear Harvest Nears Record in Pa.


November 27, 2019

Bear hunters started Pennsylvania’s statewide four-day black bear season last Saturday with good weather and a preliminary harvest of 1,015 black bears.

Over the past two years, bear hunters have had some bad luck with weather, which has held down the harvest in Pennsylvania and helped maintain a bear population of around 20,000.

But this year, bear hunters are off to a fine start in Penn’s Woods.

Although the 2019 opening-day harvest is lower than last year’s – 1,241 bears, it raises the total Pennsylvania bear harvest to 2,886 when combined with a slate of earlier bear seasons including muzzleloader, special-firearms and archery. The 2017 general bear season opener produced a preliminary harvest of 659; which became one of the lowest on record for a four-day season.

Pennsylvania’s best opening day preliminary harvest occurred in 2011 when 1,936 bears were taken. The state record bear harvest also occurred in 2011 when 4,350 bears were taken. Currently, Pennsylvania is on a pace that could exceed that record.

For perspective, the 2018 bear harvest came in at 3,153 bears, 11th-best all-time.

Other previous first-day statewide bear harvest totals were 1,297 in 2016; 1,508 in 2015; 1,623 in 2014; 1,320 in 2013; 1,320 in 2012; 1,936 in 2011; and 1,751 in 2010.

Bears have been harvested in 50 counties on the statewide general season opener.

The following is the number of bears killed in the local region:

Southcentral (112): Huntingdon, 35 (64 in 2018); Bedford, 22 (39); Fulton, 12 (28); Perry, 12 (11); Blair, 11 (11); Juniata, 8 (14); Mifflin, 5 (6); Franklin, 4 (12); Cumberland, 2 (1); Adams, 1 (3); and Snyder, 0 (3).


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