Assessment of factors affecting female black bear harvest rates in northcentral Pennsylvania
November 2019 - December 2022
- Pennsylvania Game Commission
In the 1970s, Pennsylvania’s black bear population contained approximately 3,500 bears and was restricted to the northern regions of the state. From 1980–2000, bear numbers increased to an estimated 15,000 bears distributed over more than half of the state. Human-bear conflicts increased as bears became more abundant and expanded their range. Since 2002, harvest management of bears had aimed to stabilize bear population growth. However, harvest has not achieved desired goals. As a results, additional seasons and extended season lengths were implemented in 2019. Our objectives are to understand how changes to the bear harvest seasons impact female bear space use, survival, and harvest risk. This project is a collaboration between the USGS Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The results will be used to inform harvest management to ensure sustainable harvest and healthy bear populations.