Urban unit archers can take bears starting now

Harrisburg — For the first time, starting now, bowhunters in the state’s four most urban wildlife management units will be able to participate in overlapping bear- and deer-hunting opportunities.

Thanks to an action finalized early this year by Pennsylvania Game commissioners, archery deer hunters with a bear license in wildlife management units 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D will be able to shoot a bear.

And the opportunity begins right away. While the commonwealth’s statewide fall archery deer season doesn’t open until Sept. 29, archery hunters with an antlerless deer license for wildlife management units 2B, 5C and 5D can start hunting Saturday, Sept. 15.

The change was made by the Game Commission to achieve its goal of reducing bear-human conflicts in these urbanized areas of southwestern and southeastern corners of the state, according to Carl Roe, agency executive director.

Archery deer hunters, who also possess a valid bear license, will be able to participate in an archery bear season in units 2B, 5C and 5D from Sept. 15-28; and in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D from Sept. 29 until Nov. 10.

Additionally, the statewide archery bear season runs from Nov. 12-16.

Only one bear may be taken during the license year. Commission officials note that successful archery bear hunters must attach the bear harvest tag to the bear’s ear and contact the appropriate region office within 24 hours for instructions to have the animals checked.

“Pennsylvania’s black bear population is larger and more widely distributed than ever, and bear-human incidents are becoming commonplace, especially in more developed areas,” said Roe.

“Continued expansion of residential development into areas occupied by black bears has resulted in more frequent sightings and encounters between people and bears.

“In WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, which all have relatively high human population densities, there currently are low bear densities.”

As part of the Game Commission’s bear management plan, Roe pointed out, the agency wants to continue to have a minimum number of bears in these areas.

“And the agency wants hunters to have an opportunity to play an important role in bear population management in these urban/suburban areas,” he said.

Statewide archers can hunt antlered or antlerless deer from Sept. 29 to Nov. 12, and during the late archery deer season, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 12.

The antlerless deer seasons in units 2B, 5C and 5D for those with antlerless licenses from these three urbanized areas, are Sept. 15-Sept. 28, and Nov. 12-Nov. 24.

Bowhunters also may take antlered and antlerless deer in these units during the late archery season, which runs from Dec. 26-Jan. 26.

Archery hunters may choose to use a long, recurve or compound bow, or a crossbow.  Bows must have a draw weight of at least 35 pounds; crossbows must have a minimum drawn weight of at least 125 pounds.

Broadheads on either an arrow or a bolt must have an outside diameter or width of at least 7⁄8 inches with at least two cutting edges on the same plane and shall not exceed 3 inches in length.

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