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Pennsylvania 2018 Black Bear Hunting Season Opens with Archery Nov 14
Submitted by: Backcountry Press Outdoor News
Posted on: 10/30/18
Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are that of the authors and not necessarily that of TBC Press
"You're seeing a lot of dispersal out of [WMU] 3D and 4C," he says. "That's were all the bear habitat is and that's where most of the bears are at. In 5C, you're just getting a continuing influx of bears from the north there."
In addition to offering excellent bruin-hunting opportunities, the Keystone State is also home to some of the largest black bears in North America. In fact, each year a few hunters take individuals topping the 700-pound mark. Last year 68 bears weighing 500 pounds or more were harvested, including 18 over 600 pounds. The two largest — one taken in Blair County on the opening day of the firearms season and another killed in Mifflin County on Nov. 23 —– both weighed in at whopping 713 pounds.
Whether you're talking about the size of the state's bears, or the fact that the population is so highlight adaptable, Ternent says there's very little that surprises him at this point when it comes to the state's bears. One thing that does amaze him, however, is the passion that the Commonwealth's sportsmen have for bruin hunting.
"With over 170,000 bear licenses sold, there's not another state in the East that even comes close to that," he says. "If you look at the popular bear hunting spots in the East, like Maine for example – Maine's got less than 15,000 bear hunters and we've got 170,000 bear hunters.
"When you talk about bear hunting in Pennsylvania it's a big deal. There's really no other state that comes close."
Stock Image courtesy of WV fish & game
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Pennsylvania's statewide bear seasons get underway with the five-day archery season Nov. 14-18, followed by the four-day firearms season Nov. 19 and 21-23, and Pennsylvania Game Commission Bear Biologist Mark Ternent says hunters will find approximately 20,000 bears roaming the state, the most in modern times.
For decades, the Northeastern and Northcentral parts of the state were the destinations of choice for most Lehigh Valley bear hunters; however, as bruin populations have grown over the past two decades, good bear hunting opportunities have evolved throughout much of the state.
Locally, this even includes Wildlife Management Unit 5C, which now offers a bear season that begins in archery season and runs through the end of the firearms deer season.
In recent years the WMU has given up anywhere from 10-15 bruins annually. Last year, 13 were taken in Northampton County overall, while three were harvested in Lehigh County. In addition, Bucks County gave up its first bruin ever, with at least three more taken in that county this fall.
Ternent says he's not surprised that sportsmen continue to harvest good numbers of bears in the region, since bruin populations to the north are doing well.