LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Just a week ago, the Pennsylvania Game Commission was touting the possibility of a record bear harvest in 2016.

That possibility now seems unlikely to become reality.

After two days, 1,893 black bears have been harvested as part of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season, according to preliminary totals released Monday by the Game Commission.

The 2016 two-day preliminary harvest is a decrease compared to 2,224 bears taken during the statewide season’s first two days in 2015. Hunters in 2014 harvested 2,040 bears on the season’s first two days.

The overall 2015 bear harvest was 3,748, the third-largest in state history. In 2014, hunters took a total of 3,366 bears — the seventh-largest harvest all time. The largest harvest — 4,350 bears — happened in 2011, when preliminary two-day totals numbered 2,709.

Archery and other early bear season harvest data is not available at this time.

Bears have been harvested in 53 counties during the statewide season so far.

Four bears exceeding 600 pounds were taken on the season’s second day, Nov. 21. The top 10 bears processed at check stations on the season’s first two days were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 610 pounds or more.

The largest of those bears — a male estimated at 700 pounds — was taken in ­­­Barrett Township, Monroe County, by Chad D. Nauman, of Cresco. He took it with a rifle at about 7 a.m. on Nov. 19, the season’s opening day.

Other large bears taken in the statewide season — all with a rifle — include: a 666-pound male taken Monday in Leidy Township, Clinton County, by Ryan Grieb, of Leesport; a 662-pound male, taken Monday in Homer Township, Potter County, by Grant Ruhl, of Lebanon; a 642-pound male taken Saturday in Sterling Township, Wayne County, by Randy D. Elders, of Greentown; a 635-pound male, taken Monday in Hebron Township, Potter County, by Andrew Tiffany, of Athens; a 622-pound male taken Saturday in Porter Township, Pike County, by Joseph M. Skutches Jr., of Nazareth; a 621-pound male taken Saturday in Tionesta Township, Forest County, by Ronald J. Reitlinger, of Cranberry Township; a 621-pound male taken Monday in Briar Creek Township, Columbia County, by Kerry Lauer, of Berwick; a 616-pound male taken Saturday in Tuscarora Township, Juniata County, by Arron J. Zimmerman, of Port Royal; and a 610-pound male taken Saturday in Scrubgrass Township, Venango County, by John J. Ippolito, Gibsonia.

The top bear-hunting county in the state over the first two days of the season was Clinton County, with 143.

Opening-day harvests by county and region are:

Southcentral (224): Bedford, 50 (51); Huntingdon, 42 (76); Fulton, 27 (27); Perry, 25 (16); Juniata, 24 (18); Mifflin, 19 (16); Blair, 16 (22); Franklin, 11 (15); Snyder, 7 (12); Cumberland, 3 (3).

Southeast (41): Dauphin, 18 (18); Schuylkill, 15 (20); Lebanon, 6 (3); Berks, 1 (1); Northampton, 1 (0); and Lehigh, 0 (2).

Northwest (312): Warren, 81 (103); Venango, 61 (55); Forest, 55 (67); Jefferson, 47 (49); Clarion, 38 (50); Crawford, 15 (10); Butler, 6 (13); Erie, 5 (2); and Mercer, 4 (6).

Southwest (171): Somerset, 63 (58); Fayette, 40 (43); Westmoreland, 25 (17); Indiana, 19 (17); Cambria, 13 (21); Armstrong, 11 (30); and Allegheny, 0 (1).

Northcentral (821): Clinton, 143 (190); Lycoming, 132 (208); Tioga, 125 (103); Potter, 100 (60); McKean, 75 (80); Clearfield, 66 (89); Elk, 59 (63); Centre, 57 (87); Cameron, 54 (69); and Union, 10 (24).

Northeast (324): Luzerne, 46 (56); Pike, 42 (90); Bradford, 36 (37); Monroe, 39 (48); Wayne, 31 (38); Susquehanna, 22 (20); Sullivan, 34 (37); Lackawanna, 20 (17); Carbon, 20 (25); Columbia, 16 (15); Wyoming, 16 (23); Northumberland, 1 (2); and Montour, 1 (1).

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE