Bear Facts
Inside the Outdoors, December
7, 2012

While reviewing a release I received from the Pennsylvania Game Commission on the bear harvest this year, I was awestruck on the harvest taken in Pennsylvania. An unofficial count made reported a preliminary count of 2,442 animals taken in three days of the four-day season.

According to the PGC, the top 10 bears processed at check stations, so far, all had estimated live weights that exceeded the live weights of 548 pounds. The largest one was taken in Pike County going at 706 pounds. That was followed by a 699-pounder in McKean County and one weighing 652 pounds in Monroe County. “The top five counties were Lycoming with 239; Clinton, 217; Tioga, 136; Potter, 103; and Centre 94,” it said. Just for the record, Somerset County hunters harvested 75 bears, Westmoreland County, 25, and Indiana’s tally totaled 15 bears.

The consumption of meat from this animal is a subject about which I’ve never talked. So, turning to the Cajun Cooking website, the following information was shared.

“Bear meat can be excellent when properly prepared, and when cooked, it is very much like pork. A young animal does not need to have its meat marinated, although this helps to tenderize the meat and to remove the gamey taste. Older meat should always be marinated. Be sure to remove the fat before preparation. Also cut out all sinews and other undesirable parts.”

The reason I am bringing this subject to light now is that many people will freeze the meat and then consume it at a later date. Like fishing, it gets to be a tradition.

To continue. “Care should be taken with bear meat to prevent the danger of trichinosis. Either be sure the meat is well cooked to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. or that the meat has been stored at 10 degrees F. below 0 for at least 30 days.”

In conclusion, “Tenderness depends on the age of the bear. Young animals may be roasted; but don’t overcook them. Older meat should be cooked with moist heat as in casseroles or stews. Marinating the meat may also help. Try using bear meat in your favorite recipe,” it was revealed.

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It was brought up recently at the recent Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited how everyone should do his or her part to contact one’s House of Representatives or senators concerning the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission may lose nearly 1 million dollars if sportsmen don’t rise to the occasion and speak their mind concerning this matter.

According to PFBC news release, “Nearly a million dollars of contributions made by Pennsylvania anglers and boaters specifically to conserve aquatic resources, offer public access to waterways, and provide boating safety education will be withheld from the PFBC by the federal government in 2013 if Congress fails to pass a budget before the end of the year. The federal government could breach trust with America’s anglers and boaters by sequestering their contributions from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds.”

It went on to state, “In 1985, Congress passed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which provided that the excise tax revenues going into the Trust Funds were exempt from budget sequestrations. However, it did not specify that the money distributed from the Trust Funds to state fish and wildlife agencies was exempt from sequestration withholding.”

Finally, “members of Congress can close this gap by amending the ‘exemption’ provision found in the 1985 Act to include appropriations from such trust funds. This act of Congress would be the most long-lasting solution.”

Ask members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Patrick Toomey to exempt the Sport Fish Restoration Program and Boating Safety Trust Fund and keep the trust with America’s sportsmen and women by contacting the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or visiting the House of Representatives or Senate online.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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