Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PA Board Expands Bear Seasons

WMUs 2C, 4B to offer bear hunting opportunity during deer season.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners Tuesday proposed opening up extended bear hunting opportunities to two additional WMUs in 2014.

WMUs 2C and 4B each would be open to bear hunting for four days in deer season, beginning the first Wednesday of the 2014 statewide general deer season Dec. 3.

Game Commission staff had recommended the additions based on increases in the bear populations within those WMUs.

WMU 2C has had a slightly increasing bear population trend. Highway mortalities of bears have been slowly increasing in the area, and there's been a noticeable increase in human-bear conflicts there.

WMU 4B also has had an increasing trend of human-bear conflicts, and several incidents in recent years involving home entry or injury to pets and people. Highway mortality of bears also has increased there, as has the bear harvest, which has increased by about 20 percent annually since 2003.

The board retained expanded bear seasons in the state's most urban Wildlife Management Units - WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D - and will continue to allow the harvest of black bears with a bear license during all deer seasons from September through early December in these WMUs.

The extended bear season dates for 2014 are:

- Sept. 20-Nov. 15 in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, for archery only;

- Oct. 4-Nov. 15 in WMU 5B, for archery only;

- Oct. 18-25 in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, for muzzleloaders only;

- Oct. 23-25 and Dec. 1-13 in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, using any legal sporting arm for juniors and seniors, disabled person permit holders to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active duty in armed services.

The statewide five-day archery bear season opens Nov. 17 and runs through Nov. 21. The four-day statewide bear season is slated to open on Saturday, Nov. 22, and then continues on Monday and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 24-26.

Extended bear seasons have been proposed as follows:

- Dec. 3-6 in WMUs 2C, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E; and

- Dec. 1-6 in WMUs 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D.

- Dec. 1-13 in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D.