STATE BY STATE

Bear Hunting In Pennsylvania

Hunting Methods  Fair Chase

​Around the 1900s, bears in Pennsylvania were nearly non-existent. Bears were allowed to be shot down on site, and the mere glimpse of a bear was of rare occurrence. For the next 90 years, bear sightings would be an occasional phenomenon.  

 

When Did Bear Hunting Start In Pennsylvania?

In 1905 Pennsylvania began regulated Bear Hunt Seasons. 

 

Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear management units)?

Pennsylvania State is broken down into 23 Wildlife Management Units;  1A-B​; ​2A-H​, ​3A-D​, ​4A-E​, and ​5A-D​. All of which are open to bear hunting at some point. 

 

When Is Bear Hunting Season and What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: 

  • WMUs: 2B, 5C & D:  Sept 19-Nov 27 

  • WMU: 5B Oc. 3 - Nov 14   

  • All WMUs: Oct. 17-Nov 7

 

Muzzleloader Statewide: Oct 17-24

 

Regular Firearms: 

  • All WMUs: Nov 17 & Nov 19 - 21 

 

Special Firearms: For Active Duty Military, Junior, Senior, and certain disabled persons only: 

  • Oct 22 - 24

Statewide (Weaponry Not Specified): Nov 21 - 24

  • WMUs 1B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 5A: Nov. 30-Dec. 5

  • WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 30-Dec. 12

Note: Buckshots are illegal. 

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

Yes. There are no regulations against shooting cubs. 

 

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

Baiting of any kind, as well as using scents to attract bears is illegal. 

 

Is Dog Hunting Permitted In Pennsylvania?

No. Dog hunting is not permitted. However, new rule changes allow dogs to sniff out the already fallen or killed animal but the dogs must not partake in the killing process. 
 

What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

Immediately after harvesting a bear, before even moving the carcass, hunters must complete the Harvest Tag and attach it to the bear's ear. Hunters have 24 hours after the kill to take the animal with his or her hunting and bear licenses to a Game Commission check station for examining.  All bears must be field dressed with a 3-4 inch stick (placed before rigor mortis takes effect), keeping the mouth open for tooth extraction by Wildlife Officials upon checking the carcass.

 

What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population 

  • Controlling nuisance problems 

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women 

 

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) - https://www.pgc.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx
 
When Does The Pennsylvania Game Commission Hold Their Meetings?

The PGC holds two meetings quarterly. Dates are posted here, and more information will be posted roughly two weeks before the meetings commence. https://www.pgc.pa.gov/InformationResources/Pages/Upcoming-Events.aspx 

 

Are The Meeting Open To The Public?

Working Group meetings are not open to the public. Board meetings are open to the public and are held at the Headquarters address - ​2001 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg, PA 17110. Persons interested in attending must register on a first-come, first-served basis to speak and attend the Board meetings.  
 

Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and Georgia’s elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes. 

Tim Layton, President of the PGC, and it’s seven other commissioners. 
 

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

Full Fan Lodge - https://www.fullfanlodge.com/
Moonshine Ranch - http://themoonshineranch.com/ 

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