The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 16, 2012

Bear harvest numbers mixed

JOHNSTOWN — Bear season appears to have been a mixed bag in the region, with the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s preliminary harvest figures showing a big increase in the number of animals taken in Somerset County and a commensurate decline in the Cambria County kill.

Tentative totals for the four-day season in mid-November are 87 bears taken in Somerset County, 11 in Cambria, 19 in Indiana and 76 in Bedford.

Last year, Somerset County produced 85 bears, down from 83 a year before; Cambria’s kill was 35, up from 18 in 2010; Indians was 33 (43) and Bedford produced 55 (84).

Official numbers on this year’s kill won’t be available until early next year, but likely will be close to the preliminary figures.

Nevertheless, the numbers indicate the up-and-down nature of bear harvests. Tom Fazi at the Game Commision’s Southwest Region office in Bolivar, said the annual results are dependent on a wide variety of factors that are often not easy to pin down.

“I don’t know,” he said when asked about this year’s numbers.

“It was a bad weather year. I know the acorn crop was not what it should be, and the

bears weren’t in the traditional mountainous regions and on game lands. They were likely

in agricultural areas, where hunter access may not have been as good. And, with the Saturday opener, I’m just wondering if the casual bear hunter may not be going out again on Monday.

“I think if we had had better weather conditions and a better mast crop, we’d have had a great kill,” Fazi said.

“We certainly have the bears. They only killed 11 bears in all of Cambria County. That’s a drop in the bucket with how many bears that live in Cambria County. But, bear hunters are notorious for preseason scouting, and I think when they say the lack of mast, they went somewhere else to hunt.”

One Cambria County hunter who went elsewhere is Rob McCombie of Benshoff Hill, who has been a bear hunter for nearly 20 years.

“We hunt around Emporium, and the bear were there during the summer,” he said.

“There were sightings there all summer long, but the feed was just gone by the time bear season came. We were busting acorns open, and they were all rotted.

“We’ve been bear hunting long enough to know they will move 70 or 100 miles to find food. After not seeing anything on Saturday (the opener), we scouted on Sunday and found a place with good acorns. That’s where I missed a bear on Monday.”

McCombie agreed that there was no shortage of bears.

“This year, I think there’s just as many bear,” he said. “But, people see bear in the summer and go there and sit in bear season and don’t see anything. They don’t realize bear move with the food supply.

“I had a buddy who went up to a camp in Snowshoe and their group got six bear in two days. Somebody went up there and did their scouting and found there was a lot of food there, so thats where they hunted.”

Statewide, the four-day preliminary harvest was put at 2,639 bears.

Last year’s four-day total was 3,154, which sent the state’s hunters on their way to a eventual record kill of 4,350 once archery and extended-season kills were added.

Game Commission Press Secretary Jerry Feaser said

even if this year’s final figure is lower, it should not prove surprising.

“You don’t often follow a record harvest with another record harvest,” he said. “But right now, we only know the results of the four-day season. We added additional bear hunting in urbanized units. But, we can’t compare this year’s harvest with all of last year’s harvest because we don’t have all of this year’s harvest figures yet. We are still waiting for that.”

To read stories in their entirety, visit one of these links:

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Local sports in brief 2/11/2014

    February 10, 2014

  • Pa. game commission asked to expand deer hunting

    Members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission are being urged to expand deer hunting opportunities in the commonwealth.

    January 27, 2014

  • Hough, Matt Hough chosen to lead Pa. Game Commission

    The Pennsylvania Game Commission named former Johnstown resident Matt Hough as its new executive director on Wednesday.
    The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Hough, who had been the agency’s deputy executive director.

    January 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • CWD found in deer killed on Bedford County highway

    The Pennsylvania Game Commission has reported that a white-tailed deer that was killed by a vehicle in Bedford County last fall has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
    The 1½–year-old buck was hit on Interstate 99 in November and sent for testing as part of Pennsylvania’s ongoing effort to monitor the disease, which is fatal to members of the deer family, but is not known to be transmitted to humans.

    January 2, 2014

  • 18-year-old girl attacked by bear while deer hunting

    A black bear attacked a teenager in central Pennsylvania as she hunted deer on a family farm, state police said Tuesday.

    December 10, 2013

  • Allegheny forest snowmobile trails to open Dec. 21

    The first day of winter will also mark the first day for snowmobiles in northwestern Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest.

    December 5, 2013

  • 750,000 hunters open 2-week rifle deer season

    Warmer than average temperatures and mostly clear weather was expected as an estimated 750,000 hunters take to the woods as deer rifle hunting season opens in Pennsylvania.

    December 2, 2013

  • 2 deer rescued after falling down NE Pa. well

    Game commission officials say two 8-point bucks were rescued after falling down an abandoned well in northeastern Pennsylvania.

    November 14, 2013

  • Russia Eagle Attack1.jpg Stunning images of eagle killing deer in Russia

    Remote cameras intended to monitor Siberian tigers in Russia instead caught a golden eagle’s fatal attack on a deer, snapping three photos as the massive bird dug its talons into the distressed animal’s back.

    September 26, 2013 3 Photos

  • Agency offering tour of Game Lands 108

    As part of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s efforts to highlight its ongoing habitat improvement initiatives, the public has invited to take part in free tours of several state game lands.
    Among them is Game Lands 108 in northern Cambria County, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 6.

    September 18, 2013


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads