Pennsylvania 2020 Massive Bear Harvest Numbers Revealed

by Chris Haney

On Tuesday, officials in Pennsylvania announced that bear hunters had the sixth-best harvest in state history last season.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced that they had another great bear hunting season in 2020. In fact, as great as last season was for hunters, it still couldn’t top 2019, according to FOX News‘ Ann W. Schmidt.

Hunters in Pennsylvania harvested 3,608 black bears throughout the 2020 hunting season. That’s the second-largest bear harvest in the last five years, but still 20% below the 4,653 bears taken in 2019.

In particular, Pennsylvania’s bear archery season became the state’s best ever by the numbers. Hunters harvested a record-breaking 948 black bears using archery equipment in 2020.

The season shattered the previous record of 561 bears from just the year before in 2019. Although the 2020 archery season crushed all previous seasons, last archery season did include an additional week compared to past years, the commission pointed out.

In addition, all other 2020 bear hunting season numbers decreased. The muzzleloader/special firearms seasons, which is relatively new to the state since it’s only two years old, harvested 1,038 bears. In contrast, that’s more than 300 less than 2019’s harvest of 1,340 black bears.

Furthermore, the general firearms seasons fell far short of the previous year’s harvest as well, according to the PGC. During the 2020 firearms seasons, hunters harvested 1,170 bears compared to 2019’s harvest of 1,629.

Pennsylvania Sees Inconsistencies That the PGC Call ‘Normal’

Although all firearms seasons saw drastic declines from 2019 to 2020 in Pennsylvania, the state’s extended season harvest took the largest dive.

Pennsylvania’s extended season saw only 432 bears harvested in 2020. That’s a difference of almost 700 bears compared to 2019’s numbers of 1,117 bears harvested. However, the PGC stated that the sudden changes in harvest numbers are completely normal. The year to year numbers fluctuates due to “fall food availability, weather and hunter actions,” according to PGC bear biologist Emily Carrollo.

“This ebb-and-flow has appeared in Pennsylvania bear harvests for the past century. It’s the nature and reality of bear hunting,” Carrollo explained in a statement.

The PGC also reported the state’s largest bear harvested in 2020. In November, a hunter-harvested a 719-pound male black bear with a crossbow in Fulton County. The largest black bear ever taken in Pennsylvania’s hunting history was an 875-pound bear that was harvested in Pike County during the 2010 hunting season.

[H/T FOX News]