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696-lb. bear taken in Penn Forest; 1,498 bears taken in 3 days

Through three days of Pennsylvania’s general bear season, hunters have harvested 1,498 bears, with bears taken in 52 counties. A 696-pound bear was shot in Penn Forest Township by Brian J. Borosh, of Jim Thorpe.

That total compares to a three-day 1,833 in the 2018 general season. However, the 2019 general season harvest is complemented by a large bear harvest during new and expanded early bear seasons for muzzleloader, firearms and archery hunters. Factoring in the early season harvest, 3,373 bears have been taken through Tuesday. That already tops the 2018 total bear harvest of 3,153, with plenty more bear hunting still to go.

After the season’s third day, two bears of more than 600 pounds have been added to the list.

A 743-pound bear taken Tuesday morning with a rifle in Greene Township, Pike County, by Matthew J. Erdie Jr., of Nazareth, ranks as the third-heaviest bear taken across all 2019 bear seasons.

Meanwhile, a 661-pounder taken Monday morning with a rifle in Lake Township, Wayne County, by Michael A. Biduck II, of West Abington, now ranks as the fifth-heaviest bear in 2019.

The largest bear through all 2019 seasons continues to be the 813-pound male taken with a rifle on the opening day of the general season in Smithfield Township, Monroe County, by Victor M. Vassalluzzo, of Kintnersville.

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

The top bear-hunting county in the state over the general season’s first three days was Lycoming County with 113 bears. It was followed by Tioga County with 107 bears.

Three-day preliminary harvests by county and region are:

The preliminary two-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit locally: WMU 3D, Carbon/Monroe, WMU 3D, 161 (141); WMU 4C, which includes Schuylkill, 4C, 50 (83). The top bear-hunting county in the state over the first two days of the season was Tioga County with 100 bears. It was followed by Lycoming County with 98 bears.

Bears harvested locally and totals from last year include: Monroe, 44 (46); Luzerne, 39 (50); Schuylkill, 13 (17); and Carbon, 16 (25).