The biggest news about the upcoming 2012 black bear season may have happened in September. A spate of bear seasons starts Monday with a four-day statewide archery bear season, followed by the statewide general bear season Nov. 17, Nov. 19-21, and extended seasons continuing in specific Wildlife Management Units.
But new liberal bear-hunting regulations set to control the state's growing bear population permitted the taking of bears during some other hunting seasons.
Days after the new regs went into effect, during a special early antlerless deer archery season in WMU 2B, Aaron Hwosdow, 17, of West Deer legally took a 350-pounder in Allegheny County, the first Allegheny black bear harvested with a bow.
That said, there could be big bear news this year. Field reports from state Game Commission bear specialists suggest that as the population grows bears are growing bigger, and somewhere in Pennsylvania record-size bruins could be nearing their first encounters with hunters.
Rules regarding bear check stations differ for archery, general and other seasons. For details, refer to the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest or www.pgc.state.pa.us.
At a meeting on Monday of Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited, Olga Herbert will explain the angling and promotional opportunities of the 70-square-mile region dubbed the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail. 7 p.m., VFW Post 1810, Route 51, Brentwood.