From the Pennsylvania Game Commission
-- With 224 bears taken during the first-ever statewide, five-day archery bear season, and 2,815 bears taken during the restructured three-day bear season, which included a Saturday opener, preliminary harvest reports show Pennsylvania bear hunters harvested a preliminary total of 3,039 bears in 53 counties.
Official total bear harvest figures won't be available until early 2011 after a detailed review of each harvest report is completed.
In the 2005 bear season, hunters harvested a record 4,164 bears. Other recent bear harvests include 3,512 in 2009; 3,460 in 2008; 2,362 in 2007; 3,124 in 2006; 2,977 in 2004; 3,000 in 2003; 2,686 in 2002; 3,063 in 2001; 3,075 in 2000; 1,740 in 1999; and 2,598 in 1998.
Game Commission employees gathering data at the bear check stations used new technology to record harvest information. The approach was designed to improve processing of bears so hunters could get in and out of check stations quickly and improve accuracy in data collection. Despite improvements, the new system led to a delay in the release of harvest results.
"While we recognize there is enormous public interest in bear harvest information, our primary responsibility is to accommodate hunters and record harvest information accurately and efficiently," according to Calvin W. DuBrock, Bureau of Wildlife Management director. "The current number and distribution of bear check stations put virtually every successful hunter within a one-hour drive of a check station.
"We also are striving to embrace technological efficiencies for data capture, and we're headed in the right direction, but we're looking to improve the process and release of harvest data sooner next year."
According to the harvest data, the day-by-day archery bear harvest results show 90 bears harvested on Nov. 15; 32 on Nov. 16; 26 on Nov. 17; 23 on Nov. 18; and 53 on Nov. 19.
According to preliminary reports, the top 10 legal bears processed at check stations for the two bear seasons all had actual or estimated live weights that exceeded 615 pounds, and 37 bears weighing 500 pounds or more were legally harvested.
David Price, of Cresco, Monroe County, harvested the largest bear taken during all bear seasons, which he took using a bow and arrow. The male bear weighing an estimated 875 pounds was taken in WMU 3D, Monroe County, Middle Smithfield Township, at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 15.
While many have reported this as a "record bear," for Pennsylvania's official Big Game Records, the Game Commission only recognizes skull measurements based on Boone & Crockett scoring methods. Although weights are not included in the Game Commission's Big Game Records tabulations, this was the heaviest bear ever harvested in Pennsylvania.
Randy Chabol, of Somerset, Somerset County, harvested the largest bear during the regular three-day season, which was a male that had an estimated live weight of 772 pounds. The bear was taken in WMU 2C, Somerset County, Larimer Township, at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 20.