From staff reports
A Titusville man has taken one of the largest bears harvested during the season’s opening day.
A male estimated at 700 pounds was taken in Oil Creek Township, Venango County, by Chad A. Wagner, of Titusville. He took it with a rifle at about 8 a.m. Saturday, the season’s opening day, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The first day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season resulted in a harvest of 659 black bears, according to preliminary totals released Monday by the Game Commission.
Bears have been harvested in 49 counties during the statewide season so far.
The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 535 pounds or more.
Another large bear taken in the season’s opening day included a 586-pound male taken in Oil Creek Township, Crawford County, by Brian K. Baker, of Titusville.
The 2017 first-day preliminary harvest is a decrease compared to 1,297 bears taken during the 2016 opener, the Game Commission said. Hunters in 2015 harvested 1,508 bears on the opening day.
The overall 2016 bear harvest was 3,529, the fifth largest is state history. In 2015, hunters took a total of 3,745 bears – the fifth-largest harvest all time. The largest harvest – 4,350 bears – happened in 2011, when preliminary first-day totals numbered 1,936.
The top bear-hunting county in the state on the first day of the season was Tioga County, with 58. It was followed by Pike County with 55.
Ninety bears were harvested on the first day in the Northwest Region. The breakdown by county in the region was Warren, 22; Clarion, 17; Venango, 16; Jefferson, 14; Forest, 12; Crawford, 7; and Butler, 2.