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The 2018 Pennsylvania bear hunt is off to a promising start, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

After two days, 1,622 black bears have been harvested as part of the statewide bear season, according to the preliminary totals released Tuesday by the commission.

Bears have been harvested in 54 counties thus far. In many counties, the harvest is up substantially from 2017, when wind and rain impacted opening-day success.

By comparison, 1,310 bears were harvested in the state over the first two days of the 2017 season. That is a 24 percent year-over-year increase. The 2016 season, however, saw 1,893 bears harvested, which is 17 percent higher than the 2018 totals.

Big bears taken: Three bears exceeding 600 pounds were taken on the season’s second day, Monday, Nov. 19. The top 10 bears processed at check stations over the season’s first two days were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 600 pounds or more.

The largest of those bears — a male estimated at 704 pounds — was taken in Goshen Township, Clearfield County, by Mickey L. Moore, of Clearfield. He took it with a rifle on Saturday, Nov. 17, the season’s opening day.

The second-largest bear was a 697-pound male taken with a rifle by Scott Yorty, of Bloomsburg, on Nov. 19, the season’s second day, in Chapman Township, Clinton County.

One of the more intriguing bear harvests was a 679-pound male taken at 5 yards with a .357 handgun by Jordan M. Tutmaher, of Warren. Harvested Nov. 17 in Farmington Township, Warren County, the bear appeared in a drive of a Christmas tree patch.

Archery and other early bear season harvest data is not included in the preliminary statewide firearms bear harvest. Collection of that archery and early bear seasons data remains ongoing.

The top bear-hunting county in the state over the first two days of the season was Clinton County with 102 bears. It was followed by Lycoming County with 87 bears.

No bears were harvested in York County.

Region, county totals: Two-day preliminary harvests by county and region are listed below. The first number is the bear harvest this year. The second number is last year's harvest:

Northwest (331): Venango, 65 (37); Jefferson, 59 (41); Warren, 46 (61); Forest, 45 (23); Crawford, 43 (19); Clarion, 33 (25); Butler, 15 (6); Erie, 14 (5); and Mercer, 11 (6).

Southwest (152): Somerset, 51 (31); Fayette, 32 (18); Indiana, 28 (5); Armstrong, 21 (25); Cambria, 13 (5); and Westmoreland, 7 (6).

Northcentral (561): Clinton, 102 (83); Lycoming, 87 (74); Tioga, 71 (93); Clearfield, 69 (40); Cameron, 54 (34); Potter, 48 (84); Centre, 40 (17); Elk, 39 (53); McKean, 38 (44); and Union, 13 (10).

Southcentral (228): Huntingdon, 70 (33); Bedford, 50 (24); Fulton, 32 (11); Blair, 17 (4); Juniata, 15 (7); Franklin, 14 (7); Perry, 13 (7); Mifflin, 10 (7); Adams, 3 (2); Snyder, 3 (2); and Cumberland, 1 (2).

Northeast (300): Bradford, 43 (25); Luzerne, 40 (28); Pike, 38 (83); Monroe, 36 (31); Wayne, 26 (44); Sullivan, 24 (49); Wyoming, 24 (21); Carbon, 19 (15); Columbia, 16 (6); Northumberland, 15 (1); Lackawanna, 12 (19); Susquehanna, 7 (16); and Montour, 0 (1).

Southeast (50): Dauphin, 25 (9); Schuylkill, 13, (5); Lebanon, 5 (1); Lehigh, 3 (0); Northampton, 3 (1); and Berks, 1 (4).

 

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