The leaves are gone and colder weather has set in. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And the talk is of Black Friday and special deals. But for the avid hunter this time of year means something completely different. It is the time of year that the big game seasons come in. While archery season has been in for deer and black bear for a while, the shotgun seasons are coming up quick.
Tomorrow, November 19, 2011 is the beginning of the statewide bear season in Pennsylvania. It continues on Monday and Tuesday and ends on Wednesday, November 23 throughout most of the state. This includes the 4 surrounding Wildlife Management Units (WMU’s) for the Johnstown area. In addition, WMU 4D which is extends from the Altoona area up to Williamsport has additional hunting from November 30 through December 3.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission hasn’t released a prediction for the season. However, each of the past three seasons has had a bear harvest of more than 3000 bear. 2010 saw the fifth largest harvest in recorded history in Pennsylvania. As for myself, I have seen more bear this year in Pennsylvania than any year since moving into the state. One of the keys to the bear is the acorn supply. By locating an area with a lot of acorns, you can increase your chances in bagging a bear.
Another big factor in a successful year for deer is the weather. Good weather means that more hunters will be able to get out, especially on Saturday. This year the weather forecast is looking good for at least Saturday. The forecast in the Johnstown area is for sunny skies on Saturday with highs in the mid-fifties. Monday is currently up in the air with the National Weather Service calling for a possibility of showers while the Weather Channel is calling for sunny skies. The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday is for a chance of rain. Highs on Monday and Tuesday are being forecast in the lower-fifties with highs on Wednesday in the mid-forties.
Make sure that you are aware of the rules and regulations for hunting black bear in Pennsylvania. Hunters must have a regular hunting license and a black bear license. Only one black bear may be taken with a license and the hunter must have the bear checked within 24 hours. During the firearms season, you must take the bear to a checking station. If you should take one during the archery season, you should contact any regional game commission office. The Johnstown area is included in the South-central region office out of Bolivar, PA. Please check on the other regulations by visiting the PA Game Commission website. This site also has some good information on bear and hunting black bear.
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