The final tally won't be in for a couple of months, but the Pennsylvania Game Commission's preliminary bear count lists 224 taken during the state's first five-day archery bear season; 2,815 were killed during the three-day November season.
The early count totals 3,039 bears taken in 53 counties. That's down from 2005's record harvest of 4,164.
Bear management includes getting detailed data from successful hunters. Cal DuBrock, the agency's wildlife management director, said new technologies introduced this year kept the lines down at bear check stations, but it's something they're still working on.
"In that regard, we are headed in the right direction, as the lines at bear check stations moved much quicker this year for the hunters," he said, in a written statement. "The current number and distribution of bear check stations put virtually every successful hunter within a one-hour drive of a check station. We're already looking at ways to improve the process and expedite the release of harvest data next year."
No official skull-size measurement yet of Bozo, the 875-pound donut-eating quasi-pet legally killed with archery gear Nov. 15 in Monroe County. But the 772-pound (estimated live weight) bear shot by Randy Chabol of Somerset was the biggest killed during the regular three-day season. It was a male taken in Larimer Township, Somerset County, Nov. 20.
Members of the R.C. Luce hunting camp are more than just successful bear hunters -- collectively they've become an apex predator in the McKean County ecosystem. With the recent harvest of four bears, camp members have taken a total of 102 bears in 30 years. Camp member Roy Henry said all were taken during drives on public land in or near Allegheny National Forest. This season's kills were scored by Travis Gordon, 14, of Greensburg; Daniel Pochciol, 14, Latrobe; Jacob Hunter, 16, Donegal; and Mike Langianese of Bradford.
It's an accomplishment for a Pennsylvania hunter to bag one of each of the state's big game animals (excluding elk) in a single season. Chester Malesky of Gibsonia recently scored his third Triple Crown (1989, 1990, 2010) with a gobbler (archery, West Deer), a black bear (rifle, Forest County) and an eight point (rifle, Clarion County).
Dave Sewak of Trout Unlimited's national office will explain the nonprofit cold-water advocacy group's position on gas drilling tomorrow at a meeting of the Penn's Woods West chapter, 7 p.m. at Brentwood VFW Post 810, 3801 Clairton Blvd. (Route 51). Details at www.pwwtu.org.
The Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited sponsors several Trout in the Classroom initiatives in regional schools. On Wednesday Natalie Reese, an AmeriCorps conservation education volunteer and manager of Greater Latrobe School District's Trout in the Classroom project, will highlight the program at the chapter's monthly meeting, 6:30 p.m. at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve in Latrobe. Non-members welcome; details at www.forbestrailtu.org.
John Hayes: email@example.com .