Preliminary figures point to lower bear harvest this season

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Hunters killed 415 bears during the third day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season, raising the three-day total to more than 2,300.

That’s about an 8 percent decrease from the number of bears taken during the first three days of last year’s season.

The figures come from preliminary data released Wednesday by the state Game Commission. The season closed Wednesday night after the early numbers were released.

Officials had been expecting a big harvest because of the number of bear hunting licenses issued and a jump in the state’s black bear population – from 18,000 to about 20,000.

The heaviest bear taken so far weighed about 700 pounds. It was shot in Barrett Township, Monroe County.

The state’s largest bear harvest happened in 2011, when 4,350 bears were taken.

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