Thursday November 8, 2018

                                                                     Wednesday’s high, 55; Overnight low, 28


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Game Commission is optimistic about this fall’s bear harvest….Milton man accused of assault with a weapon and related crimes….More than $500 worth of items stolen during a brief period of time from a Sharon Township home last Friday night…Thieves take trail cameras from a Smethport home….

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The Game Commission says the potential for Pennsylvania black-bear hunters to set a new state record remains for a third consecutive year as hunters head afield Nov. 17 for the opening day of Pennsylvania’s four-day statewide firearms bear season.

Penn’s Woods has maintained a bear population of around 20,000 the past three years, but inclement opening-day hunting weather and other autumn oddities have helped bears elude the record numbers of hunters pursuing them the past two years. Fantastic mast crops have spread bears out, making them harder to find. Late leaf-drop – occurring this year, too – also has provided bears plenty of cover to sneak about the Commonwealth.

Still, with cooperative weather, particularly on the opening day, Pennsylvania has a chance to overtake the state’s record 4,350 bear harvest set in 2011.

Even with one of the worst starts in history, bear hunters in 2017-18 managed a bear harvest of 3,438, which ranks ninth all-time. There were also some big bears in the harvest: 48 weighed more than 500 pounds.
The bear population has reached unprecedented size and bears are now found in most counties.
The number of hunters buying bear licenses this year is on pace to reach 170,000 to 175,000, which is where license sales have topped out the past few years. The record for bear license sales occurred in 2015, when 175,314 were sold.

Two bears harvested in 2017 exceeded 700 pounds. Since 1986, there have been 32 bears recorded in the 700-pound weight class at Game Commission check stations.

But Mark Ternent, Game Commission bear biologist, believes Penn’s Woods hold bigger bears, at least 800-pounders.
But make no mistake, bears are a hard species to hunt. Their densities rarely exceed one bear per-square-mile, and bear-hunter success rates typically fall between 2 and 3 percent, Ternent noted.

Bears were taken in 57 of the state’s 67 counties in 2017. The counties with the largest bear harvests were: Lycoming, 252 bears; Tioga, 214; Pike, 193; Potter, 161; Sullivan, 156; Wayne, 156; Clinton, 153; Bradford, 112; Warren, 109; and Luzerne, 108.
Hunters who harvest a bear during the four-day general season must take it to one of the Game Commission’s check stations within 24 hours.

A complete list of requirements, check stations and their dates and hours of operation can be found on in the 2018-19 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which can be viewed online at or purchased with a hunting license.
To bear hunt in Pennsylvania, a hunter needs a general hunting license, as well as a bear license.

Hunting licenses can be purchased online from The Outdoor Shop at the Game Commission’s website, but buyers should be advised that because bear licenses contain harvest ear tags, they are sent by mail rather than printed at home.
Buyers waiting until the last minute to purchase a bear license likely are better off making a trip to an authorized licensing agent and picking up a license there.

Licensing agents can be searched by county at the Game Commission’s website,, under the Hunt/Trap tab.
Bear hunters must wear a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined at all times during the four-day season. The orange must be visible from 360 degrees.
Hunters are required to carry photo identification while hunting.

Plan your hunt and hunt your plan; it ensures someone knows where you are.
Carry a cellphone in case of emergencies.
Make sure you’ve thought about how you’d remove a bear from the woods if
you take one.
Use of baits and lures is illegal. If you find bait while scouting or hunting, report
it to the Game Commission.
Always carry a compass and map in the big woods.

State police at Mansfield arrested a 23 year old Milton man for assault with a weapon in connection to an incident allegedly taking place early Tuesday morning on Erway Road in Covington Township. Troopers report the incident began when a 27 year old Mansfield resident returned home from work early at around 1:15 and heard a male voice inside his residence with his ex-girlfriend. The victim knocked on the door and when it became unlocked, he kicked it in and was greeted allegedly with pistol in his face. A struggle followed and the victim was able to grab the gun and throw it into the front yard. The defendant, whose name was not released, left the property and went to a nearby home where he was taken into custody. Charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure and simple assault charges are pending in district court.

A burglary at a Sharon Township home is being investigated by state police at Coudersport. Criminals entered the home of Michael and Robin Furman on Canada Hollow Road between 8:00 pm last Friday and 1:10 am Saturday and made off with several items totaling more than $500 in value. The stolen property included a black electric heater, Sony 32” flat screen TV, Xbox 360 with wireless controllers and various games, LG Smartphone, miscellaneous pieces of clothing and Gabapentin pills.
Troopers at Coudersport are also probing a theft by deception victimizing 66 year old Elry Dunshie of Shinglehouse. Authorities did not release any more details but have confirmed the crime.

Three trail cameras valued at a total of $450 were taken from a home on South Marvin Street in Smethport between 1:00 am and 11:59 pm October 25. State police at Kane are looking for the thief.

Ridgway based state police investigated a criminal mischief taking place last Friday afternoon on Block Commons Lane in Ridgway. Vandals slashed a tire on a 2004 Toyocar van container trailer owned by a 41 year old Ridgway woman.