Pennsylvania Black Bear Population Declines for Second Year in a Row

by Amanda Glover
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Well, Outsiders, it looks like fewer black bears exist in Pennsylvania this year compared to last.

The black bear population in Pennsylvania appears to have decreased for the second year in a row. Before then, Pennsylvania housed over 20,000 bears for quite some time. However, the population declined from an estimated 16,268 in 2020 to 15,666 in 2021.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission black bear specialist Emily Carollo, the declining numbers are nothing to be concerned about. Currently, the state’s population is close to 16,000.

It’s been suggested that the harvests of the last two years are to blame for the lower populations. “There is potentially an effect of having that really high harvest and noticing those decreases in the following two years. This follows the life history [and] reproductive strategy of black bears,” Carrollo explained.

Because black bears give birth every other year and don’t reach sexual maturity until three years old, the two-year decline isn’t too surprising. Similar declines also happened after high harvests from 2005 to 2007 and 2010 to 2012.

Also, hunters appear to be taking the lives of more female bears. From 2010 to 2018 females made up 13 percent of the harvest. Currently, females make up 22% of the harvest.

Thankfully, Carollo assures everyone that there is no need to worry. “If we need to make changes, we will be able to make them accordingly and in an appropriate amount of time,” she says. It’s a relief to know the black bear population continues to be monitored.

“In the simplest terms, we know the recipe to make more bears here in Pennsylvania. If it ever got to that point, which I am not concerned about whatsoever, we know how to change things around and adjust for the appropriate bear seasons.”

Florida Man Battles Black Bear to Defend His Dogs

The black bear population in Pennsylvania might be looking at a few changes, but a Florida bear shows no signs of going down without a fight.

In late January 2022, a ten-second TikTok of a man fighting with a black bear went viral. Lucky for Walter Hickox, he only suffered a few minor wounds.

Hickox captures the video of the incident on his Ring doorbell camera. Viewers can see him rush to push the black bear back as it attempts to climb in through the door. There’s no doubt that the animal would’ve attacked it got to its targets. He later shoves a nearby bench in front of the doorway before the video ends. We also hear Hickox’s dogs barking in the background.

Hickox explains that it wasn’t his safety he worried about, but his family’s. “Not a lot went through my head at the moment, other than what’s going to happen if he gets past me and into the house where the rest of my dogs and my wife was at,” he said.

Thankfully, Hickox, his wife, dogs, and the black bear made it out of the event in one piece.

Outsider.com