Pa. bear hunters off to good start
Pennsylvania hunters aren’t taking bears at a record pace just yet.
But they’re not too far off the mark.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters killed 1,623 bears across 52 counties Saturday, the opening day of the statewide season that continues through Wednesday.
By comparison, they took 1,320 on opening day last year, when the overall harvest ended up being 3,510 bears. That was the fifth-largest kill in state history.
The record harvest — 4,350 bears — occurred in 2011. The first-day kill that year was 1,936.
Lycoming County is leading the way. Hunters took 143 bears there on opening day, more than in any other county. Tioga ranked second, giving up 130 on Saturday, followed by Clinton with 91, Warren with 69 and Potter with 64.
Locally, Fayette County produced 62 bears on opening day, followed by Somerset with 61, Venango with 42, Clarion with 35, Forest with 32, Jefferson with 30, Armstrong with 21, Westmoreland and Crawford with 15 each, Butler with 11, Cambria with seven, and Indiana with five.
Harvest totals from the weeklong archery bear season are not yet available, the commission said.
As usual, some of the bears to come through check stations were giants.
Commission staff handled 10 bears with estimated live weights exceeding 540 pounds. All were males.
The largest was a 677-pound animal taken in Pittsfield Township, Warren County, by James M. Hultberg of Pittsfield.
Four of the next heaviest nine came from the southwestern corner of the state.
Jeffrey McClymonds of Slippery Rock took a 598-pounder in Muddy Creek Township, Butler County. It ranked as the third largest of the season as of Monday morning.
Derek Wheeler of Uniontown took a 560-pounder in Black Township, Somerset County. That ranked it fifth after one day. Brett Robine of Irwin killed a 557-pound bear in Portage Township, Cambria County, and Travis Crawford of Kittanning took a 552-pounder in Bradys Bend Township, Armstrong County.