2011-11-05 / Outdoors

Longer season; lots of bears out there

Bear hunters will be able to enjoy a new four-day statewide bear season, in addition to a full-week of archery bear season.

Bowhunters get their shot Nov. 14-18. The statewide firearms bear season opens on Saturday, Nov. 19, and then runs from Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 21- 23. An extended bear season also will be held in the region Nov. 28-Dec. 3.

Once the state’s deer capital, the northcentral counties now have a reputation as a bear-hunting mecca. They offer hunters the highest bear population densities found in Pennsylvania.

Bear numbers are as high as they have ever been in this part of the state. Sightings have been numerous throughout the summer and into fall.

To increase their odds for success, bear hunters will want to focus on areas of heavy cover and abundant mast.

Pennsylvania has been maintaining a bear population around 15,000. About 100,000 hunting licenses are sold annually.

In 2010, hunters killed 3,090 bears. Even higher numbers are possible this year.

“Conditions this year are favorable,” said Game Commission biologist Mark Ternent. “Bear populations are up and hunter participation is expected to be good. The only real unknown is the weather.”

To participate in the archery and statewide bear seasons, hunters will need to have a general hunting license and a bear license. All hunters who kill a bear must immediately tag it and transport the carcass to a Game Commission bear check station within 24 hours.

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