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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Therre is no question that Pennsylvania has a a thriving Black Bear population and that hunter license tag $$ combined with some excellent scientific management regulations has helped spur the bears revival.......Some of the biggest "Black Bears in the USA are found here and like in neighboring New Jersey, female bears are known to regularly birth 2 and 3 cubs annually..................It was not always this way as 100 years ago like in most of the USA, carnivores of all types were nearly extirpated..........Perhaps 2500 bears existed in Pennsylvania in 1915 compared to some 20,000 today.....................The question that we keep reviewing and debating on this blog through the excellent contributions of biologist John Laundre is---SHOULD NOT ALL FACTIONS OF PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY,,,,,,BIRD WATCHERS, HIKERS AND THE REST OF US WHO OCCASIONALLY VISIT WOODLANDS HAVE AS MUCH INPUT INTO BEAR MGMT AS DO HUNTERS?

Pennsylvania’s black bear population is a management success story

In Pennsylvania, Black Bears are thriving. The situation was not always that rosy for the Pennsylvania black bear. In the mid-1970s, we had fewer than 3,000 bears in the Keystone State. No one knows the number for sure, or even a close estimate, because bear management was in its infancy. Only 223 bears were harvested in 1974, and 338 in 1975. Bear season was closed in 1977 and 1978. A single-day season was held in mid-December in 1979, and an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 hunters shot 736 bears. Something needed to be done to prevent a potential over harvest

Mark Tenant, Pa. biologist checking on Momma Bear and cubs

Intervention began in the 1970s but did not begin to show results until 1980. Bear season had already been shortened from one week to two days and then to a single day. In 1973, 25 mandatory check stations were established across the bear range. Under the direction of James Lindzey’s Cooperative Research Unit, five graduate research projects were conducted with bears at Penn State during the 1970s. A statewide tagging program began, which allows the PGC to accurately estimate the black bear population. Bears were trapped and transferred from northeastern counties to other areas of the state.
In 1981, hunters were first required to buy a separate bear license. This allowed the number of hunters to be accurately tallied and controlled, if necessary. Counties open to bear hunting expanded from 32 to 41 in 1982. The population had rebounded enough for a three-day statewide season to be held in 1986.

Research led by then-Pennsylvania Game Commission bear biologist Gary Alt discovered that Pennsylvania’s black bears grow faster, reproduce at an earlier age and have more cubs than bears in any other state. Advances were also made in knowledge about bear denning, daily movement and the dispersal of young bears.
Recent research was completed regarding urban bears. A vigorous tagging program of 800 to 900 bears per year continues under the direction of Pennsylvania Game biologist Mark Ternent. As the population grows (and the number of bear complaints increase), the statewide bear season has been lengthened to four days — including a Saturday. Thirteen wildlife management units have extended seasons to help stabilize the bear population.
Looking back over the Game Commission’s bear harvest records, a low of 188 bruins were taken in 1915 — the population perhaps between 2,000 and 3,000 bears. Contrast those figures with the statistics a century later — 3,748 bears harvested in 2015, with the population estimated at 20,000 and still growing. This is a clear testimony to the success of the Commission’s bear management program.

“We are central to the eastern U.S. bear population,” Ternent said. “About 75 percent of Pennsylvania is forested, and we have more square miles occupied by bears than any other eastern state.”
According to Ternent, black bears live in more than 40 states and Canada — totaling about 750,000 animals. Pennsylvania has 3 percent of the bear population, 6 percent of the bear harvest, but a whopping 28 percent of the bear hunters.
Annual research, such as our bear den experience, separate bear licenses and mandatory hunter check stations will ensure that Pennsylvania’s bear population stays healthy and prolific for future generations to enjoy.

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