HUNTERS HARVEST 3,170 BEARS IN 2022 SEASONS

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HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania hunters harvested some tremendous black bears in the 2022 seasons, including three of more than 700 pounds and 11 more that topped 600 pounds.

Those were among 3,170 taken overall. That was down from 3,621 in 2021, but still enough to rank the harvest as the 14th largest all time.

Pennsylvania’s all-time best bear season came in 2019, when hunters harvested 4,653.

Hunters in 2022 took bears in 58 of the state’s 67 counties and 22 of its 23 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).

Notably, the harvest was spread out – more evenly than ever before – over four seasons. Hunters took 737 bears in the archery season, 712 in the muzzleloader/special firearms season, 1,051 in the general season and 663 in the extended season. Another seven were taken in the early season.

That’s how things most likely will continue to look moving forward, said Emily Carrollo, the Game Commission’s black bear biologist.

“Our season structure allows hunters to pursue black bears across multiple months, using multiple tools, when opportunity best matches up with their availability,” Carrollo said. “They can hunt when they have the time off work or school or other responsibilities, which is good for them and helps us reach our management objectives.”

That’s attractive to lots of hunters, based on license sales.

In 2022, 213,639 individuals – 203,922 Pennsylvania residents, 9,717 nonresidents – bought a bear license. That was the third-most ever.

And hunters found some impressive bears.

The largest taken in 2022 was the 755-pounder harvested by Cory Bennett, of Toms River, N.J. He got it with a muzzleloader on Oct. 15 in Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County.

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The heaviest bear ever taken in Pennsylvania was an 875-pounder harvested in 2010 in Pike County. Since 1992, seven black bears weighing at least 800 pounds have been lawfully harvested in Pennsylvania hunting seasons.

Other large bears taken in the 2022 are: a 746-pounder taken with a rifle on Nov. 22 in Barrett Township, Monroe County, by James Laquino of Canadensis; a 705-pounder taken with a muzzleloader on Oct. 15 in Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County, by Timothy Moffet, of East Greenville; a 693-pounder taken with a rifle on Oct. 20 in Abbott Township, Potter County, by Elijah Smucker, of Paradise; a 681-pounder taken with a muzzleloader on Oct. 22 in Bradford Township, Clearfield County, by William Swoope, of Woodland; a 681-pounder taken bow on Oct. 21 in Cumberland Valley Township, Bedford County, by Cole Schnably, of Bedford; a 657-pounder taken with a rifle on Oct. 22 in Gallagher Township, Clinton County, by Lane Charles, of Millersville; a 650-pounder taken with a rifle on Nov. 21 in Hazle Township, Luzerne County, by Joshua Monahan, of Ashland; a 634-pounder taken with a rifle on Nov. 27 in Asylum Township, Bradford County, by Nicholas Menzen, of Cogan Station; and a 633-pounder taken with a muzzleloader on Oct. 22 in Cummings Township, Lycoming County, by Holden Long, of Lock Haven.

Among counties, Tioga County produced the most, giving up 187 bears last season. Lycoming County ranked second with 152, followed by Bradford and Luzerne counties with 126 each, Centre County with 122, Potter County with 119, Clearfield and Monroe counties with 114 each and Clinton County with 113.

Final county harvests by region (with 2021 figures in parentheses) are:

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Northwest – 502 (451): Warren, 88 (87); Jefferson, 81 (72); Clarion, 80 (60); Venango, 79 (81); Crawford, 52 (38); Forest, 51 (44); Butler, 40 (43); Erie, 20 (13); and Mercer, 11 (8).

Southwest -253 (247): Somerset, 64 (58); Armstrong, 50 (58); Cambria, 44 (19); Fayette, 34 (49); Indiana, 31 (12); Westmoreland, 25 (41); Greene, 3 (3); and Allegheny, 2 (7).

Northcentral – 1,028 (1,220): Tioga, 187 (166); Lycoming, 152 (212); Centre, 122 (118); Potter, 119 (180); Clearfield, 114 (94); Clinton, 113 (156); Elk, 85 (80); McKean, 52 (107); Cameron, 52 (68); and Union, 32 (39).

Southcentral – 355 (464): Huntingdon, 81 (115); Bedford, 71 (82); Mifflin, 34 (55); Blair, 33 (39); Fulton, 31 (47); Perry, 29 (42); Juniata, 26 (36); Franklin, 18 (17); Snyder, 15 (12); Cumberland 8 (8); Adams, 7 (10); and York, 2 (1).

Northeast – 901 (1,121): Bradford, 126 (136); Luzerne, 126 (111); Monroe, 114 (95); Pike, 84 (167); Sullivan, 84 (127); Wayne, 81 (120); Carbon, 78 (103); Lackawanna, 51 (62); Wyoming, 50 (66); Susquehanna, 47 (77); Columbia, 46 (36); Northumberland, 10 (16); and Montour, 4 (5).

Southeast – 131 (156): Schuylkill, 65 (61); Dauphin, 27 (54); Lebanon, 14 (8); Northampton, 12 (13); Berks, 11 (12); and Lehigh, 2 (6).

The final bear harvests by Wildlife Management Unit (with final 2021 figures in parentheses) were: WMU 1A, 26 (26); WMU 1B, 115 (96); WMU 2A, 13 (5); WMU 2B, 4 (10); WMU 2C, 159 (192); WMU 2D, 202 (206); WMU 2E, 85 (45); WMU 2F, 258 (245); WMU 2G, 425 (519); WMU 2H, 101 (90); WMU 3A, 174 (238); WMU 3B, 292 (403); WMU 3C, 165 (218); WMU 3D, 344 (426); WMU 4A, 114 (173); WMU 4B, 76 (121); WMU 4C, 190 (224); WMU 4D, 291 (300); WMU 4E, 109 (97); WMU 5A, 17 (14); WMU 5B, 2 (1); and WMU 5C, 8 (10).

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MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau – 717-705-6541

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>