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Plenty of starting dates for bear season

No doubt, there are more opportunities to hunt black bear this year than there have been in the past.

Of course, bears in Pennsylvania are afflicted with the scourge of Mange this year. Here are the seasons as the Game Commission has sent them out. Be careful to note that some rules do not apply to all management areas.

For instance, muzzleloader bear season runs Oct. 19-26. Archers who hunt black bear with bow and arrow have my deepest respect. That’s a tough assignment. Bears do not have good eyesight but they have scenting abilities far above those of humans or deer. Getting a shot at a bear with a bow takes extraordinary patience.

The statewide archery bear season runs from Oct. 28 to Nov. 9. Other seasons include:

n Archery (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D): Sept. 21 to Nov. 29

n Archery (WMU 5B): Oct. 5 to Nov. 16

n Special firearms (Statewide): Oct. 24-26. Junior and senior license holders, disabled person permit (to use a vehicle) holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only.

Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706.

Other dates include:

n Regular firearms (statewide): Nov. 23 and Nov. 25 to 27

n Extended season for specific WMUs include 1B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 5A): Nov. 30 to Dec. 7.

n WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D): Nov. 30 to Dec. 14.

Only one bear may be harvested during a license year. We can see that bear hunting will overlap with fall turkey season in some WMU’s so be watchful for that.

Even turkey season has different seasons and rules in different WMU’s. For us, here in WMU 4D fall turkey hunting opens Nov. 2 and runs until Nov. 16, then opens again Nov. 28 to 29. For those of us, including me, I’ll have to travel to deer camp on Nov. 29 to be there for opening day of rifle deer season.

Mingled among all seasons will be other seasons so we must all be particularly alert for hunters of other species to be sharing the woods and fields with us. I strongly recommend that you consult your hunting digest and be sure how much orange is required for whatever you are hunting for on any day.

Fall turkey hunters are not required to wear fluorescent orange anymore unless you are hunting from a blind.

That includes blinds made from artificial material that is not netted. Blinds must hide the movements of hunters sitting inside them. Constructing a blind of branches, logs or any other natural forest material is not allowed.

If you are using a portable blind and intend to leave it at a spot for a time, it must have an identification tag prominently displayed containing name and address or the CID number. I personally use a luggage tag fastened to my blind. Works great.

I strongly suggest that all fall turkey hunters use some fluorescent orange while turkey hunting, while walking through the woods. I fear the thought of someone out there seeing movement and not seeing orange and thinking they can shoot.

It happened to me and it is not pleasant. When I set up on the ground I put a square of orange against the back side of the tree I am using, It will alert anyone who comes in behind me that I may not see in time to alert to my presence. There are still a couple meetings locally about CWD. Here are three you can choose to attend.

n Monday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m. — Clearfield County: Join the Pennsylvania Game Commission for an informational presentation on Chronic Wasting Disease at the Clearfield Fairgrounds, Agriculture Building, 5615 Park St. Clearfield, 16830.

Learn about this deadly brain disease of deer and elk and what you can do to help prevent the spread of CWD in this short, 30-minute presentation, followed by a question and answer session. Contact the Northcentral Region Office at 570-398-4744 or pgc-ncregion@pa.gov with questions.

n Monday, Oct. 28, 7-8:30 p.m. — Indiana County: Join the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Southwest Region for an informational presentation on chronic-wasting disease at Hilltop Baptist Church, 4859 Rt. 286 Hwy. W. Indiana, 15701. For more information, please contact the Game Commission’s Southwest Region Office at 724-238-9523.

n Tuesday, Oct. 29, 6 p.m. — Blair County: Join the Pennsylvania Game Commission for an informational presentation on Chronic Wasting Disease at the Hollidaysburg Area High School, 1510 Montgomery Street, Hollidaysburg, Pa. 16648.

Learn about this deadly brain disease of deer and elk and what you can do to help prevent the spread of CWD in this short, 30-minute presentation, followed by a question and answer session. For more information, please contact the Southcentral Region Office at 814-643-1831.

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