Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bear Check Station 2009

Pennsylvania’s annual three day bear season opened yesterday. The weather in my area was cool and foggy with light rain developing during the morning and continuing through the day. Overnight some local heavy downpours occurred with cloudy conditions and light mist throughout today. Not being interested in pursuing bears I have been focusing on the closing days of the whitetail rut but took time out around midday today to visit the bear check station located on top of Sidling Hill Mountain between McConnellsburg and Breezewood.

This is the scene from outside the check station today. The foggy conditions present on the mountain were a major topic of discussion among unsuccessful hunters stopping by.

Successful bear hunters are required to tag their animals and report to one of the check stations where PGC personnel process their kill. A tooth is removed from each animal to be used to determine its age.

In this case the bear had a numbered ear tag in her ear. This tag would have been placed there by agency personnel during her first live capture. The PGC captures bears using baited live traps. The reason for live capture can range from relocating problem bears to trapping for biological information.

Bears are weighed as part of the processing. The bear’s carcass is secured to the scale by placing a chain with loops at each end around opposing front and rear paws. In this photo DCNR’s Ray Miller checks out the bear while John Dunn, PCG biologist, takes notes

This particular sow weighed in at 166lbs field dressed, an average size for a female black bear.

Using a large topographical map of the area hunters are asked to identify the place of kill by placing a pin in the map.

Forty one bears were checked here yesterday and by the time I left the station four had been checked today. The largest recorded here so far this year was a huge 644lb bruin killed in Fulton County on Monday.


Chris said...

Ho Coy,
Are they bear hunters?? So the hunting is allowed, woow, I did not know that... Is there a quota or something like that!!! Impressive post on something I did not know..
So are they many species or only few that are hunted! I'm eager to know more about this...

Coy Hill said...


Bear season is open to anyone who buys a liscense, limit one bear per person. The season runs for three days only. The hunt is timed so that in most years pregnant females are already denned thus are unavailable to the hunters. The annual PA bear harvest statewide averages 2500-3000 animals each year.

A number of small game species both mammal and bird are hunted as well as Wild Turkey, Bear, Deer, and Elk.

Les Barr said...

Informative Post, Coy. Most of us hunters here in PA are probably aware of the PGC, and what is required to take a bear during the season.

As for me? I was never much of a bear hunter at all. Never really understood the point in taking one. On top of all that, I'm scared to death of them. I've heard them in the woods while hunting deer with my Bow & Arrow, and was always fearful they would come around. Now, I would rather take a Image of them in the wild. Never really could see a reason for shooting one. I don't care for the meat, and I see no point in taking one just for a trophy.

I've been into Breezwood 2 times in the past and have always been amazed on just how busy that place really is. Would be a good Post for someone.


Ranger said...

600 + Pounds is a real good bear for Fulton County. Would have loved to see that one.