Bear Season Tips
Inside the Outdoors, November 11,
2016

Last week, I accompanied a friend who drove me to Donegal Lake to observe the fish salvage and we and another friend were glad we made the trip. When we got there, we observed twenty-five volunteers who constructed a conveyor line to basket the fish from the waters to a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission tank truck. It was quite revealing and exciting to see just how many different species was confined after ninety-eight per cent of the compound was drawn down.

Some of the fish I observed were a twenty-inch crappie, a beautiful golden trout comparable in size and other Panfish in all sizes. Onlookers answered the question when a twenty-six-inch muskellunge was scooped out of the shocked waters and lifted to the truck. It would be among approximately 500 pounds of fish taken to Mammoth Lake, Acme Dam, and Bridgeport Reservoir in Westmoreland County and Green Lick Reservoir in Fayette County.

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One week from tomorrow, Saturday, November 19, statewide regular firearms season for black bear gets underway followed by Monday, Nov. 21 through to Wednesday Nov. 23. I’ve read that there are many bear in the hills of Pennsylvania. The trick is to find them.

Muzzleloader hunters had their chances first already to take aim at these large furry animals in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5B, 5C, and 5D, Oct. 15 to Oct 22.

Junior and senior license holders, mentored youth, active duty military and certain disabled persons’ permit holders had their chances to take sight of these large animals Oct. 20-22.

“The black bear,” according to the website, biggamehunter.net, “is the smallest bear family in North America and the most populated.” They usually live near sandy or swampy areas, forage off acorns, apples, beechnuts or corn, or as most people know, roam where they are can locate garbage or the rear of peoples’ residents.

These so-called “nuisance bears,” “have relatively poor eyesight,” states the website, “but an outstanding sense of smell and uncanny hearing ability.” These are the primary facts one should be acquainted with one begins hunting this game.

Its best to scout prior to going out on the hunt to see if one can locate claw marks on deciduous trees. Poplar and beech are two examples.

Look for tracks along shorelines, for instance. A pad that measures five inches indicates a hefty bear is in the vicinity.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) also recommends scouting for droppings, bedding areas, which are scratched out depressions, usually at the base or a log.

“If feed conditions are right,” PGC Game Commission Biologist Mark Ternent pointed out, “they will likely still be there come hunting season.” The trick is to go out immediately before next Saturday comes along.

He also added, “Look for bears in thick cover, such as bogs, mountain laurel/rhododendron thickets, north facing slopes, regenerating timber harvest areas, windblown areas with lots of downed trees, and remote sections of river bottoms.”

The use of a tree stand is recommended early and late in the day. One can then observe bears going to and from feeding areas easier.

“Hunt areas that provide cover,” says the PGC, “ to traveling bears and ensure there is either a good supply of mast or cornfields or cover near where one plans to hunt.”

Use wind to one’s advantage. Once a bear smells your scent, it’s gone. Finally stay focused and assume nothing. “Black bears blend in well, in the forest settings at dawn and as dusk approaches,” the PGC said..


- Paul J. Volkmann
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