State bear harvest has impressive numbers

Despite one of the worst opening days in more than three decades of bear hunting, Pennsylvania charted yet another Top 10 harvest in 2017.

Hunters harvested 3,438 bears in the 2017 season, with the archery harvest of 493 bears and the extended season harvest of 1,083 bears setting records for those seasons.

Forty-eight bears weighing 500 pounds or more, including 14 weighing 600 pounds or more and two weighing 700 pounds or more, were part of the 2017 harvest.

Bears were taken in 57 counties and 22 of Pennsylvania’s 23 Wildlife Management Units.

Only 694 hunters were successful on opening day, compared to the usual 1,500 hunters that typically harvest a bear, said Game Commission bear biologist Mark Ternent.

“In fact, the last time opening-day harvest dipped below 700 bears was in 1982, when bear season was only two days and the statewide bear population numbered less than 5,000 animals,” Ternent said.

Participation returned to normal by the second day, and hunters proceeded to take 1,852 bears in the general season, which is just over 70 percent of the average, Ternent said.

n Without writing about all the legislative ins and outs, it seems that a bill to exempt senior hunters at least from having to pay the $35 price for a pheasant hunting license may soon be a reality.

Speaking out with your complaints is still effective if done in the proper way. Screaming and name-calling does not accomplish much.

n Even though falls from treestands account for a large share of “hunting accidents” the efforts to make safety restrictions mandatory with tree stand use seem not to be going anywhere. It’s the same old things — “freedom of choice.” If you wish to take chances and hunt dangerously well, that’s your choice.

n You may remember the days of the huge uproar about whether turkey hunters had to wear fluorescent orange in the spring season.

Despite all the evidence brought to the forefront, such a restriction was implemented. It was rescinded after much research proved that wearing orange in the spring season had little if any effect of accidental shootings.

There are some restrictions on wearing orage in the spring season. Look them up in the booklet you get with the license. It is recommended that hunters wear orange while moving through the woods and that a hunter post an orange band around a tree near his set up spot.

I try to abide by these suggestions because they are sensible. I’ve been mistaken once for a gobbler and shot and do not wish to have that happen again.

n The annual “Bank Yank” took place April 14. The prolonged winter may have some effect on the length of really good trout fishing this year.

Water is still high and cold in the streams and will take some time to moderate. June fishing may be better this year than it has been in some years. We shall see!

n If the weather does not moderate in the next couple weeks, it could have an effect on spring gobbler hunting.

Toms have been gobbling since February — nothing much deters their desire to get the breeding season underway. I do not know whether hens have been so diligent in searching out satisfactory nesting spots.

n Have you heard that Vermont has implemented new and stricter laws concerning firearms?

They hiked the age at which one can purchase a firearm, banned high capacity magazines and made it easier to take guns from people who pose a threat ( and what criteria will determine that?)

It’s a devious way to get around the 23,000 federal laws already in effect for controlling guns. Let states impose laws as they wish and pretty soon it will be illegal to even own a gun anywhere in America. What a slick way to get around established federal law.

I have used my guns at least four times in my life to protect myself. I have not had to shoot anyone — yet, but I was fully committed to doing so if my life was on the line. And it was.

Had the perpetrators not backed down at the sight of my gun, I am sure I would have been the victim of much mayhem, perhaps death. I got the drop on them in each case because they never imagined the woman they were about to attack was armed.

n This Saturday, April 21, is Youth Day season for Spring gobbler. It is so worth the sacrifice of one Saturday, especially when trout season is so new, to establish a youngster’s understanding of safe gobbler hunting.

A big, old gobbler goes a lot farther than an 8-inch trout when it comes to photographs and Sunday dinner.