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Pennsylvania hunters took 4,653 black bears this past fall, setting a new state record bear harvest.

In 2018, the bear harvest was 3,153, 11th best all-time, but also the lowest bear harvest in the past 11 years.

“There were 30 days of bear hunting across all bear seasons in 2019,” explained Mark Ternent, agency biologist. “The last time that happened was in 1931.”

Over the course of bear hunting’s three major season segments hunters took 1,629 bears in the general season; 1,340 in the muzzleloader and special firearms seasons; 1,117 in extended firearms seasons and 561 in the bear archery season. The muzzleloader, extended and archery harvests are all new record harvests, too.

“To have three independent bear seasons with harvests in excess of 1,000 is surely historic,” Ternent noted.

Opening-day harvests are typically responsible for 50 to 60 percent of a bear season harvest.

Lycoming County finished with 284 bears to take the top county bear harvest. It was followed by Clinton and Tioga counties, both with 267.

Final county harvests in the Northeast region (with 2018 figures in parentheses) totalled 1,228 (775), including Luzerne, 163 (105); Bradford, 128 (96); Sullivan, 87 (53); Susquehanna, 82 (46); Wyoming, 82 (40); and Lackawanna, 79 (34).

Despite the size of Pennsylvania’s bear harvest, it’s still within a harvest range

in which the Game Commission is comfortable,

which compelled the Board of Game Commissioners to add

a week to the 2020 bear

archery season.