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Big Bears Brought Down, Game Commission Reports

November 22, 2018

Luzerne County hunters harvested 50 bears during the first three days of the season, including a massive 708-pound bear in Harveys Lake. That bear — harvested with a rifle by Timothy J. Weaver of Dallas — was the second-largest taken as of Tuesday, surpassed only by a 780-pound male shot in Forest County. The Pennsylvania Game Commission noted at least two other local harvests that broke 600 pounds: A 623-pound male taken Nov. 17 in Newport Twp. by Corrina M. Kishbaugh of Nanticoke and a 607-pound male taken in Hazle Twp. by Brian P. Bonner Jr. Hunters had more success through the first three days of the regular bear season than they did last year. Through Tuesday, they had taken 1,833 bears according to preliminary totals. That is a 12 percent increase over the first three days of last year’s season. The total includes 659 bears taken across the state Saturday, which is a record-low number for what is usually the best day of the annual four-day season. A winter storm may have affected travel to hunting camps or remote areas, the game commission said. But once in the field, that snow became a blessing for hunters by increasing visibility of bears and offering another clue as to the animals’ locations through fresh tracks. The amount of large bears taken is higher than usual, said Travis Lau, game commission spokesman. It’s not every year that the commission will record three 700-pound kills. “I’m not sure about all-time, but we’re off to a good start with big bears, especially when we’re talking about the 780-pounder from (Tuesday),” he said. Most hunters who bag a bear that large will use help to haul it from the woods, although there is no requirement to bring a bear in whole. A successful bear hunt is fairly rare. About 2 to 3 percent of bear hunters will bag their quarry in a given year. “When a hunt realizes that rare success, they want to know how big the bear is,” Lau said. The statewide black bear season ended Wednesday. Some extended seasons run from Nov. 26 or Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 or Dec. 8, determined by regulations for different wildlife management units across the state. Contact the writer: bwellock@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2051, @CVBillW

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