The Pennsylvania Game Commission has issued its preliminary bear harvest report, but not included, is the tally from the archery and early bear seasons.
According to the PGC, bears were taken in 51 counties statewide, so far. And the top 10 bears checked on Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 556 pounds or more. The largest, a male, weighed an estimated 772 pounds and was shot in Covington Twp., Lackawanna County by Dan Beavers of Covington Twp., Pa.
Other large bears reported were a 632-pound male taken by Mike Truax of Everett, Pa., in East Providence Twp., Bedford County; a 627 pound male, shot by Wayne Gehers of Mohnton, Pa; 616-pound male by Brad Rohrer of Lancaster, in Union Twp., Tioga County; 597-pound male by Jenna Schoenagel of Greentown, Pa., in Greene Twp., Pike County; 595-pound male by Maurice Younker of Mercerburg, Pa., in Thompson Twp., Fulton County; 586-pounder by Jalynn Macnelley of Laceyville, Pa., in Wilmot Twp., Bradford County; 560-pound male by Ernest Lucrezi of Beachlake, Pa., in Berlin Twp., Wayne County; 557-pounder by Ron Fitzgerald of Forksville, Pa., in Elkland Twp., Sullivan County; a 556-pounder by Randy Klem of Mountaintop, in Rice Twp., Luzerne County; and a 555 pound male by Mike Esposti of Mahaffey, Pa., in Chest Twp., Clearfield County.
The PGC said this two-day preliminary harvest compares with 2,086 bears in 2012 when hunters harvested 3,632 bears, which was the third-largest harvest in state history.
As for the preliminary breakdown of WMU’s where bears were taken, they are as follows: 1A, 13; 1B, 59; 2C, 198; 2D, 120; 2E, 68; 2F, 237; 2G, 459; 2H, 62; 3A, 138; 3B, 132; 3C, 49; 3D, 169; 4A, 64; 4B, 43; 4C, 47; 4D, 167 and 4E, 19.
And for the local regions it was the Northeast Region with Pike, 82; Wayne, 52; Luzerne, 46; Sullivan, 47; Carbon, 31; Monroe, 30; Wyoming, 28; Lackawanna, 26; Bradford, 21; Susquehanna, 13; and Columbia, 10.
Here in the Southeast it was Schuylkill, 18; Dauphin, 9; Lebanon, 5 and Northampton, 1. None have been reported so far for Lehigh County.
Although it’s not a behemoth bear, 81-year old Ruben Smoyer of New Tripoli, took his first bear in 50 years of trying.
In a phone interview with this veteran hunter, Smoyer recounted how he shot his 200-pound (estimated live weight) male that he took in Potter County with a .257 Roberts caliber rifle. And that brings up another story.
Said Smoyer, “When I got to Potter I discovered I forgot to bring ammo for my rifle. And since I don’t buy ammo but load my own, my son drove into Coudersport where he found a box of .257 Roberts, but they were 117-grain cartridges and I always use 100 grain. But I used it nonetheless.”
Perhaps that ammo changed his luck, as it allowed him to score on his first black bear.
When asked when he shot it, Smoyer said, “I shot it at 7:30 a.m. on opening day and I saw it sneaking through a cut-off where there was a lot of timbered trees. I shot it at approximately 50 yards and it went right down.”
For those not versed on rifle calibers, the .257 Roberts is predominately a classic, favorite deer caliber that has light recoil. So to drop a 200-pound black bear with a relatively small caliber, Ruben Smoyer deserves a high-five and a God bless ya.
Smoyer’s bear is at Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield, awaiting Smoyer’s decision to have either a rug or head mount made as a remembrance of his trophy after a half century of trying to score on one.
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