Statewide bear harvest good, full of big animals

Posted on: November 29, 2018 | Bob Frye | Comments

The statewide bear harvest is annually large.

Pennsylvania’s statewide bear harvest is another good one.
Photo: Pixabay

Christmas morning should deliver this well.

Before the 2018 statewide firearms bear season began, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials predicted hunters could kill a lot of bears, and perhaps even conceivably set a new harvest record. They also said there were lots of big bears available for the taking.

Check and check.

Final bear harvest numbers won’t be announced for another month or two, as hunting is still going on. Deer hunters with a bear licenses can take bears in some parts of the state through Saturday.

Totals from the archery and other early haven‘t been factored in yet either.

But the statewide bear harvest from this year’s four-day regular season was 1,991 animals. That’s 10 percent more than hunters killed last season, when they got 1,796.

And last year’s overall harvest – of 3,438 — ended up ranking the ninth best all-time.

So another top 10 finish, if not quite a record, looks likely.

A strong end to the season really helped. Traditionally, the kill is the highest on opening day, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It decreases each day thereafter, on the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

This year, though, the harvest on the fourth and final day, of 365, was better than that on day three. It was 211.

Hunters killed 381 bears on the second day.

Plenty of big bears showed up in the take, too.

Hunters harvested bears in 55 of the state’s 67 counties, with the 10 heaviest all exceeding 600 pounds. Those are estimated “live” weights, before animals are field dressed.

The largest bear harvested was a 780-pound male killed with a rifle on Nov. 19 by Michael J. Rubeo of Mercer in Howe Township, Forest County. A day later, J. Weaver of Dallas, Pa., used a rifle to harvest a 708-pound male in Harvey’s Lake Borough, Luzerne County.

Here’s the rest of the top 10 biggest bears: All were taken with a rifle but one.

  • Mickey L. Moore, of Clearfield shot a 704-pound male on Nov. 17 in Goshen Township, Clearfield County.
  • Scott Yorty, of Bloomsburg took a 697-pound male on Nov. 19 in Chapman Township, Clinton County.
  • Robert L. Britton III, of Coal Township; took a 681-pounder on Nov. 17 in Coal Township, Northumberland County.
  • Douglas D. Routch, of Curwensville killed a 680-pounder on Nov. 19 in Chest Township, Clearfield County.
  • Jordan Tutmaher of Warren shot a 679-pound male with a handgun on Nov. 17 in Farmington Township, Warren County.
  • Earl F. Timothy of Brockway shot a 666-pound male on Nov. 20 in Snyder Township, Jefferson County.
  • Wayne C. Kline of Reynoldsville killed a 627-pound male on Nov. 19 in Snyder Township, Jefferson County.
  • Corrina M. Kishbaugh, of Nanticoke took a 623-pound male on Nov. 17 in Newport Township, Luzerne County

Pennsylvania’s record bear harvest occurred in 2011. That season, hunters killed 4,350 bears.

It’s unlikely this year will challenge that. In that season, the kill from the statewide regular season was 3,154, far above this year’s.

But it’s been another good year for hunters overall.

Clinton County produced the most bears, with 128 bears. Lycoming County — which almost annually challenges Clinton for the highest harvest – was second with 107.

Here’s a look at the regular season harvest, broken down by county. This year’s harvest is followed in parentheses by last year’s take.

Northwest region (411 bears total): Venango, 78 (43); Jefferson, 69 (48); Crawford, 59 (22); Warren, 59 (84); Forest, 55 (31); Clarion, 41 (34); Butler, 19 (12); Erie, 18 (6); and Mercer, 13 (6).

Southwest region (183): Somerset, 57 (42); Fayette, 39 (27); Indiana, 31 (8); Armstrong, 26 (31); Cambria, 16 (8); and Westmoreland, 14 (10).

Northcentral region (689): Clinton, 128 (115); Lycoming, 107 (130); Tioga, 90 (127); Clearfield, 80 (51); Potter, 62 (118); Cameron, 61 (42); Centre, 52 (34); Elk, 47 (64); McKean, 47 (62); and Union, 15 (11).

Southcentral region (255): Huntingdon, 78 (46); Bedford, 54 (33); Fulton, 35 (21); Blair, 22 (8); Juniata, 16 (11); Franklin, 14 (9); Perry, 14 (12); Mifflin, 10 (13); Adams, 5 (3); Cumberland, 4 (4); and Snyder, 3 (2).

Northeast region (395): Luzerne, 53 (36); Pike, 51 (94); Bradford, 50 (28); Monroe, 50 (36); Sullivan, 32 (63); Carbon, 31 (25); Wayne, 30 (60); Wyoming, 27 (30); Columbia, 20 (10); Lackawanna, 20 (27); Northumberland, 17 (3); Susquehanna, 13 (20); and Montour, 1 (1).

Southeast region (60): Dauphin, 26 (15); Schuylkill, 20 (7); Lebanon, 7 (2); Lehigh, 3 (0); Northampton, 3 (2); and Berks, 1 (4).

 

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Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or bfrye@535mediallc.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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Bob Frye is a storyteller with a passion for all things outdoors. He hunts, he fishes, he hikes, he camps, he paddles, backpacks and snowshoes depending on the season. If he’s not an expert at anything, it’s because he’s passionate to try a little bit of everything.