PA Game Commission Expands Bear Hunting

PA Game Commission, Bear Hunting Magazine

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved expanded bear hunting opportunities in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D as a means of reducing bear-human conflicts in these urbanized areas of southwestern and southeastern Pennsylvania.

However, before approving the extended seasons, the Board removed WMU 1A which was part of the original list of units in which hunters will be able to harvest bears during all deer seasons from September through early-December, as well as during statewide bear seasons.

As approved, bear hunters will be able to participate in an archery bear season in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D from Sept. 15-28; in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D from Sept. 29 until Nov. 10; a muzzleloader bear season in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D from Oct. 13-20; a firearms bear season in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, from Nov. 26-Dec. 8. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

"Pennsylvania's black bear population is larger and more widely distributed than ever, and bear-human incidents are becoming commonplace, especially in more developed areas," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "Continued expansion of residential development into areas occupied by black bears has resulted in more frequent sightings and encounters between people and bears.

"In WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, all with relatively high human population densities, there currently are low bear densities. As part of the Game Commission's bear management plan, the agency wants to continue to have a minimum number of bears in these areas, and the agency wants hunters to have an opportunity to play an important role in bear population management in these urban/suburban areas."

The Board also retained the statewide archery bear season, four-day general firearms bear season and extended seasons in all or portions of certain WMUs. Those dates are: a statewide five-day archery bear season (Nov. 12-16); a four-day statewide bear season that will open on Saturday, Nov. 17, and then continue on Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 19-21; and a concurrent bear/deer season in WMUs 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E on Nov. 28-Dec. 1.

Also, a concurrent bear/deer season has been proposed to be held Nov. 26-Dec. 1 in the following:

• in WMUs 3A and 3C;

• in portions of WMU 3B, that are East of Rt. 14 from Troy to Canton, East of Rt. 154 from Canton to Rt. 220 at Laporte and East of Rt. 42 from Laporte to Rt. 118 and that portion of 4E, East of Rt. 42; and

• in portions of WMUs 2G in Lycoming and Clinton counties and WMU 3B in Lycoming County that lie North of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River from the Rt. 405 Bridge, West to Rt. 15 at Williamsport, Rt. 15 to Rt. 220, and North of Rt. 220 to the Mill Hall exit, North of SR 2015 to Rt. 150; East of Rt. 150 to Lusk Run Rd. and South of Lusk Run Rd. to Rt. 120, Rt. 120 to Veterans Street Bridge to SR 1001; East of SR 1001 to Croak Hollow Rd., South of Croak Hollow Rd. to Rt. 664 (at Swissdale), South of Rt. 664 to Little Plum Rd. (the intersection of SR 1003), South of SR 1003 to SR 1006, South of SR 1006 to Sulphur Run Rd., South of Sulphur Run Rd. to Rt. 44, East of Rt. 44 to Rt. 973, South of Rt. 973 to Rt. 87, West of Rt. 87 to Rt. 864, South of Rt. 864 to Rt. 220 and West of Rt. 220 to Rt. 405 and West of Rt. 405 to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

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