Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Forest Express 

Photo by Gerri Miller

Thursday’s high, 55; Overnight low, 26

FRI-MOSTLY SUNNY, HIGH 45

FRI NIGHT-SNOW MIXING WITH RAIN, LOW 33

SAT-RAIN, HIGH 56

SAT NIGHT-RAIN CHANGING TO SNOW, LOW 33

SUN-SNOW TAPERS OFF. HIGH 39

SUN NIGHT LOW 26

To hear the complete weekend forecast, click on start button below:

 Hunters took almost 1500 bears in 52 counties during first three days of season…Pennsylvania’s general deer hunting season begins tomorrow…two drivers arrested for Driving under the influence of drugs…Minor car/deer collision investigated in McKean County…

To hear  today’s podcast, click on start buttons below:

Part A:

Part B:

Through three days of Pennsylvania’s general bear season, hunters have harvested 1,498 bears, with bears taken in 52 counties.That compares to a three-day 1,833 in the 2018 general season. However, the 2019 general season harvest is complemented by a large bear harvest during new and expanded early bear seasons for muzzleloader, firearms and archery hunters. Factoring in the early season harvest, 3,373 bears have been taken through Tuesday. That already tops the 2018 total bear harvest of 3,153, with plenty more bear hunting still to go.After the season’s third day, two bears of more than 600 pounds have been added to the list.A 743-pound bear taken Tuesday morning with a rifle in Greene Township, Pike County, by Matthew J. Erdie Jr., of Nazareth, ranks as the third-heaviest bear taken across all 2019 bear seasons.Meanwhile, a 661-pounder taken Monday morning with a rifle in Lake Township, Wayne County, by Michael A. Biduck II, of West Abington, now ranks as the fifth-heaviest bear in 2019.The largest bear through all 2019 seasons continues to be the 813-pound male taken with a rifle on the opening day of the general season in Smithfield Township, Monroe County, by Victor M. Vassalluzzo, of Kintnersville.The heaviest bear ever taken in Pennsylvania was an 875-pounder harvested in 2010 in Middle Smithfield Township, Pike County. Since 1992, seven black bears weighing at least 800 pounds have been lawfully harvested in Pennsylvania hunting seasons.Other large bears taken in the 2019 general season’s first three days – all taken with a rifle – include: a 747-pound male taken in Wright Township, Luzerne County, by J. Kripp Jr., of Mountaintop; a 696-pound male taken in Penn Forest Township, Carbon County, by Brian J. Borosh, of Jim Thorpe; a 657-pound male taken in Franklin Township, Columbia County, by Nicholas A. Podgurski, of Elysburg; a 656-pound male taken in Hanover Township, Luzerne County, by Dale J. Kobal, of Hunlock Creek; a 623-pound male taken in Beech Creek Township, Clinton County, by Mikael J. Catanese, of Sewickley; a 620-pound male taken in Miles Township, Centre County, by Reuben Kennel, of Turbotville; and a 604-pound male taken in Gallagher Township, Clinton County, by Steven Z. Rohrbach, of Lock Haven.The top bear-hunting county in the state over the general season’s first three days was Lycoming County with 113 bears. It was followed by Tioga County with 107 bears.

Three-day preliminary harvests by county and region are:

The preliminary three-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit was as follows: WMU 1A, 11 (17 in 2018); WMU 1B, 44 (100); WMU 2A, 3 (5); WMU 2C, 69 (115); WMU 2D, 92 (114); WMU 2E, 38 (56); WMU 2F, 170 (198); WMU 2G, 309 (344); WMU 2H, 49 (59); WMU 3A, 85 (99); WMU 3B, 138 (117); WMU 3C, 56 (45); WMU 3D, 161 (141); WMU 4A, 76 (123); WMU 4B, 32 (53); WMU 4C, 50 (83); WMU 4D, 92 (112); WMU 4E, 21 (48); WMU 5A, 1 (4); WMU 5C, 1 (0).

Three-day harvests by county and region are:

Northwest (221): Warren, 61 (52); Clarion, 35 (37); Venango, 30 (68); Forest, 26 (52); Jefferson, 25 (64); Butler, 20 (17); Crawford, 19 (49); Mercer, 4 (12); and Erie, 1 (15).

 

Southwest (114): Somerset, 34 (57); Armstrong, 30 (25); Indiana, 24 (30); Fayette, 14 (32); Cambria, 7 (13); Westmoreland, 4 (11); and Greene, 1 (0).

Northcentral (626): Lycoming, 113 (103); Tioga, 107 (86); Clinton, 87 (119); Potter, 76 (54); McKean, 59 (43); Clearfield, 53 (72); Elk, 51 (46); Centre, 35 (46); Cameron, 30 (61); and Union, 15 (13).

Southcentral (154): Huntingdon, 49 (76); Bedford, 34 (51); Fulton, 17 (33); Perry, 16 (14); Blair, 15 (21); Juniata, 8 (15); Mifflin, 6 (10); Franklin, 5 (14); Cumberland, 3 (4); and Adams, 1 (4).

Northeast (349): Pike, 66 (46); Monroe, 44 (46); Luzerne, 39 (50); Bradford, 36 (46); Wayne, 35 (29); Sullivan, 30 (30); Susquehanna, 29 (10); Wyoming, 19 (24); Lackawanna, 18 (15); Carbon, 16 (25); Columbia, 12 (17); and Northumberland, 5 (17).

Southeast (34): Dauphin, 14 (25); Schuylkill, 13 (17); Berks 6 (1); and Lebanon, 1 (7).

Saturday’s opener for the firearms deer season and the possibility of more older bucks throughout the Commonwealth could mean a record harvest. Last year’s firearms deer season saw rainy weather nearly statewide throughout much of the opening day. But even then, 30 percent of the antlered deer harvested in the 2018-19 firearms season were taken on opening day. It was the best day of the season for buck harvest.

It’s likely that opening day will continue to be the best for buck harvest this year, when the season will open on a Saturday

And there now is a third Saturday in the season, as well, since the season was expanded from 12 days to 13 to accommodate a Saturday opener in which more hunters likely will be able to participate.

Pennsylvania’s firearms season historically has drawn the biggest crowds of all hunting seasons and consequently has been the state’s principal deer-management tool for more than a century. Its coming preoccupies many Pennsylvanians through their Thanksgiving meals and sends many more to a variety of outlets to fill their last-minute needs.

Deer hunters had seen the statewide buck harvest increase for three consecutive years until last season’s opening day soaker ruined the streak. But given the carryover of older bucks from last season, there’s no reason a new streak can’t start now Larger-racked – and older – bucks are making up more of the deer harvest with each passing year. Two seasons ago, 163,750 bucks were taken by hunters, making it the second-largest buck harvest in Pennsylvania since antler restrictions were started in 2002. It was the 10th best all-time.

In the 2018-19 hunting seasons the overall deer harvest was 374,690 – 226,940 antlerless deer and 147,750 bucks. But despite the decreased buck harvest in 2018-19 seasons, there were more 2½-year-old and older bucks – 64 percent. Over the previous four years, the percentage of 2½-year-old and older bucks in the annual deer harvest was: 2017, 57 percent; 2016, 56; 2015, 59; and 2014, 57.

The statewide general firearms season runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. In most areas, hunters may take only antlered deer during the season’s first six days, with the antlerless and antlered seasons then running concurrently from the first Saturday, Dec. 7, to the season’s close. In WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, however, properly licensed hunters may take either antlered or antlerless deer at any time during the season.

Rules regarding the number of points a legal buck must have on one antler also vary in different parts of the state, and young hunters statewide follow separate guidelines.

For a complete breakdown of antler restrictions, WMU boundaries and other regulations, consult the 2019-20 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is available online at the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.pa.gov.

Hunters statewide must wear at all times a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their head, chest and back combined. An orange hat and vest will satisfy the requirement. Nonhunters who might be afield during the deer season and other hunting seasons are asked to consider wearing orange, as well.

The statewide general firearms season runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. In most areas, hunters may take only antlered deer during the season’s first six days, with the antlerless and antlered seasons then running concurrently from the first Saturday, Dec. 7, to the season’s close. In WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, however, properly licensed hunters may take either antlered or antlerless deer at any time during the season.

Rules regarding the number of points a legal buck must have on one antler also vary in different parts of the state, and young hunters statewide follow separate guidelines.

For a complete breakdown of antler restrictions, WMU boundaries and other regulations, consult the 2019-20 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is available online at the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.pa.gov.

Hunters statewide must wear at all times a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their head, chest and back combined. An orange hat and vest will satisfy the requirement. Nonhunters who might be afield during the deer season and other hunting seasons are asked to consider wearing orange, as well.

A valid tag must be affixed to the ear of each deer harvested before that deer is moved. The tag must be filled out with a ball-point pen by the hunter.

Within 10 days of a harvest, a successful hunter is required to make a report to the Game Commission. Harvests can be reported online at the Game Commission’s website – www.pgc.pa.gov – by clicking on the “Report a Harvest” button on the home page. Reporting online not only is the quickest way to report a harvest, it’s the most cost-effective for the Game Commission.Harvests also can be reported by mailing in the postage-paid cards that are provided when licenses are purchased, or successful hunters can call 1-855-PAHUNT1 (1-855-724-8681) to report by phone. Those reporting by phone are asked to have their license number and other information about the harvest ready at the time they call.

Mentored youth hunters are required to report deer harvests within five days. And hunters with DMAP permits must report on their hunting success, regardless of whether they harvest deer.

State police at Lewis Run have arrested two motorists for driving under the influence of drugs. A 36 year old Duke Center man was arrested after police responded to a disturbance involving a boyfriend and girlfriend on Main Street in Otto Township late Wednesday night. Police claim when they searched the male suspect, they found two smoking pipes containing burnt pot in his pocket. A 42 year old Great Valley, NY man was arrested a few hours later, early Thursday morning after being stopped for a traffic violation on the West Eldred Road in Eldred Township. Police did not release the names of the suspects.

The name of a driver whose car hit a deer Wednesday afternoon on South Avenue in Bradford Township.has also not been releasled.  State police at Lewis Run say a 2013 Ford Fusion was going north when it encountered a whitetail. The driver could not avoid the collision but since there were no human injuries and the car could be driven from the scene, the accident is considered a “non-reportable.”