Hunters killed 909 bears during Pennsylvania’s first weekend-long opener to the firearms hunting season for bear – 748 on Saturday and 161 on Sunday – bringing the total 2020 black bear harvest to 2,887 as of the end of hunting at sunset on Sunday.
For the first time since bear hunting seasons were instituted in Pennsylvania in 1905, hunters had a full weekend to pursue bruins in the firearms season that opened Saturday, November 21.
Sunday, November 22, was one of three Sundays open to big-game hunting for the first time this year.
Rather than opening on Saturday, closing on Sunday and reopening for Monday through Wednesday as it did last year, the 2020 firearms bear hunting season will run straight through Tuesday, November 24.
It will continue to be a 4-day season but will now include a Sunday rather than a Wednesday. Many more hunters were expected to take advantage of the additional weekend day to get into the woods.
The first Sunday, November 15, was open for archery deer hunting, and the third will be Sunday, November 29, during the firearms deer season.
Last year’s record harvest broke the previous record harvest set in 2011, when 4,350 bears were taken. In 2018, hunters took a total of 3,153 bears, which was Pennsylvania’s 11th best bear harvest. The only other year hunters took more than 4,000 bears was in 2005 when 4,164 were taken.
The top counties for bear harvests this year to date are Potter, 162; Tioga, 158; Lycoming, 152; Clinton, 137; Clearfield, 135; Monroe, 132; Elk, 126; Luzerne, 108; Centre, 97; and Carbon, 88.
The largest bears killed so far this year weighed 719 pounds (Fulton County), 657 pounds (Pike County). 633 pounds (Clearfield County), 610 pounds (Monroe County), 607 pounds (Potter County), 604 pounds (Luzerne County), 600 pounds (Tioga County), 590 pounds (Tioga County), 576 pounds (Snyder County), 570 pounds (Potter County), 568 pounds (Luzerne County) and 544 pounds (Carbon County).
This article was first published by Pennlive on 23 November 2020. Lead Image: Keith Davis shot a 610-pound male black bear in Monroe County during Pennsylvania’s 2020 muzzleloader hunting season.
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