Clinton County leads harvest with 179 bears

HARRISBURG — Clinton County is the top bear hunting county in the state after three days of the 2016 bear season with 179.

It held off Lycoming County, where hunters took 156 bears the first three days of the season. In a typical Pennsylvania bear season, these counties often are the top two.

With one day remaining, 2016 bear harvest totals continue to trail previous season’s.

Hunters during the third day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season harvested 415 bears, raising the three-day total to 2,308 – an about 8 percent decrease compared to the 2,487 bears taken during the first three days of the 2015 season.

Archery and other early bear season harvest data still is being entered into the Game Commission’s database, and is not available at this time.

Bears have been harvested in 53 counties during the statewide season so far.

The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Wednesday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 616 pounds or more.

One bear taken on Tuesday joined the state’s top 10.

Gregory S. Fuller, of Williamsport, Pa., harvested a male estimated at 649 pounds Tuesday in Armstrong Township, Lycoming County.

The largest of the state’s heaviest bears – a male estimated at 700 pounds – was taken in Barrett Township, Monroe County, by Chad D. Nauman, of Cresco. He took it with a rifle at about 7 a.m. on Nov. 19, the season’s opening day.

Other large bears taken in the statewide season – all with a rifle – include: a  666-pound male taken Monday in Leidy Township, Clinton County, by Ryan Grieb, of Leesport; a 662-pound male, taken Monday in Homer Township, Potter County, by Grant Ruhl, of Lebanon; a 642-pound male taken Saturday in Sterling Township, Wayne County, by Randy D. Elders, of Greentown; a 635-pound male, taken Monday in Hebron Township, Potter County, by Andrew Tiffany, of Athens; a 622-pound male taken Saturday in Porter Township, Pike County, by Joseph M. Skutches Jr., of Nazareth; a 621-pound male taken Saturday in Tionesta Township, Forest County, by Ronald J. Reitlinger, of Cranberry Township; a 621-pound male taken Monday in Briar Creek Township, Columbia County, by Kerry Lauer, of Berwick; and a 616-pound male taken Saturday in Tuscarora Township, Juniata County, by Arron J. Zimmerman, of Port Royal.     The overall 2015 bear harvest was 3,748, the third-largest in state history. In 2014, hunters took a total of 3,366 bears – the seventh-largest harvest all time. The largest harvest – 4,350 bears – happened in 2011, when preliminary two-day totals numbered 2,709.