Bear Season Gets Underway
Inside the Outdoors, November
16, 2012

Saturday, Nov. 17, the 19th, 20th and 21st, firearms statewide black bear season gets underway. According to Mark Ternent, Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist, “Last year, hunters harvested a record 4,350 bears, exceeding the previous record of 4,162 bears set in 2005. The 2011 harvest included 304 bears taken during the archery season and 878 taken during the extended season – both record – and 3,168 bears taken during the statewide general season.

The record harvest was primarily the result of expanded hunting opportunity.

In 2010, the extended bear season was closed to safeguard against over harvest when opening-day of the general bear season was moved from Monday to Saturday. That year, the number of licenses bear hunters grew by more than 13,000. However, the overall impact on bear populations was minimal, and the extended season was reinstated and expanded into new areas last year,” he said.

We can only wait and see what figures are produced this year once the tally is in.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With statewide deer season approaching, I am finding wherever I go in the woods or as a passenger in a vehicle, I find myself sighting deer just as numerous as in the years past. Maybe it is where I am looking as one can also count on these animals showing up to graze just when it is getting dark at the outskirts of the woods.

Recently, a friend and I were returning from visiting Twin Lakes via Donahue Road when I looked over a hillside to see maybe eight doe foraging not far from the tree line, others half way between the woods and the road. This must be a community grazing area, for the passing vehicles didn’t seem to bother them. It was apparent to me that in that locale, there seemed to be a good number of them inhabiting that area.

Even on my walks near the trestle in Legion Keener Park I have observed in the past, large and smaller deer tracks by the water’s edge.

Then just recently, when I was surveying Loyalhanna Creek to see what the high waters of Sandy had done to the area, I was standing very still, overlooking the fast moving current when all of a sudden four more does slowly ran through the woods directly in front of me across the creek. I watched them for a minute or two until they could no longer be seen amidst some tall brush.

Seeing these numbers were similar to years past gave me great hope. I have been worried as the population of the coyotes in the area has increased. They will raise havoc wherever they show up. Needless to say, that raises concern.

I have been reading various publications lately primarily the articles on deer herds. It seems that hunters have complained that the numbers of deer are down in Pennsylvania and they have blamed everyone and everything there could possibly be except coyotes. I don’t know if this is an act of being short-sided or haven’t they sportsmen been told coyotes have moved into the neighborhood.

Only time will tell, I guess.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recently, I received word that Latrobe’s Lou Sartoris is stalking the woods recently with his trustworthy bow and arrows, looking through his sights to get three deer during archery season.

Anyone who has knowledge either through my newspaper columns and/or reputation will tell you both he and his wife, Trish, are champions at being archers. Lou, however, is the only hunter. And his record of achievements year after year has been nothing to sneeze at, as the saying goes.

When I received the last report, he had gotten two does and was out at his favorite hunting ground looking to see if he could bring home some more venison. Knowing the frame shop entrepreneur’s reputation, he’ll get his third, I’ll bet my bottom dollar on that.

A number of years ago, I sat down and interviewed the couple and Lou told me his secret – practice, lots of it, daily all through the year, and not just weeks before the season opener. He’s been doing that since his mid-teens. I only wish everyone worked at it as hard as he does.

Looking forward to hearing from you concerning your hunting tales in and around the area. Got to be lots to tell. We live in a very rich area when it comes to all kinds of God’s creations.


- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.