HARRISBURG — Hunters during the third and final day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season last week harvested 318 bears, raising the three-day total to 1,628 – an about 30 percent decrease compared to the 2,308 bears taken during the first three days of the 2016 season.

Extensive rain on the season’s opening day, Nov. 18, led to the harvest decline.

Archery and other early-bear season harvest data is not included in this report.

Bears have been harvested in 54 counties so far during the statewide season, which closes today.

The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Wednesday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 569 pounds or more.

One bear taken on Tuesday joined the state’s top 10. It almost took top honors.

James M. Langdon, of Wattsburg, Pa., took a 691-pound male with a rifle in Cherry Grove Township, Warren County. It places second currently among largest bears taken in the four-day statewide bear season.

The state’s heaviest bear – a male estimated at 700 pounds – was taken in Oil Creek Township, Venango County, by Chad A. Wagner, of Titusville, Pa. He took it with a rifle at about 8 a.m. on Nov. 18, the season’s opening day.

Other large bears taken over the four-day season’s first three days – all taken with a rifle – include: a 648-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Dreher Township, Wayne County, by Joseph D. Simon, of Newfoundland, Pa.; a 609-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Abbott Township, Potter County, by Michael R. Neimeyer, of Spring City, Pa.; a 601-pound male taken Nov. 20 in Valley Township, Armstrong County, by Bo J. Bowser, of Kittanning; a 595-pound male taken Nov. 18 in St. Marys Township, Elk County, by Stephanie A. Siford, of North East, Pa.; a 595-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Charleston Township, Tioga County, by Zachery L. Martin, of Wellsboro, Pa.; a 586-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Oil Creek Township, Crawford County, by Brian K. Baker, of Titusville, Pa.; a 576-pound male taken Nov. 18 in Homer Township, Potter County, by Kirby R. Kornhaus, of Jonestown, Pa.; a 569-pound male taken Nov. 21 in Liberty Township, Centre County, by Conner L. Toner, of Beech Creek, Pa.; a 562-pound male taken Nov. 20 in Beech Creek Township, Clinton County, by William J. Miller, of Beech Creek, Pa.; a 561-pound male taken Nov. 20 in Fox Township, Sullivan County, by Tyler J. Bagley, Of Montgomery, Pa; a 561-pound male taken in Ross Township, Luzerne County, by Richard B. Kollar, of Shickshinny, Pa.

The overall 2016 bear harvest was 3,529, the fifth-largest in state history. In 2015, hunters took a total of 3,748 bears – the third-largest harvest all time. The largest harvest – 4,350 bears – happened in 2011, when preliminary three-day totals numbered 2,709.

The top bear hunting county in the state after three days of season was Lycoming County with 120. It overtook Tioga County, where hunters took 113 bears the first three days of the season. Tioga County had led the state through the first two days of season.

Three-day harvests by county and region are:

Northwest (265): Warren, 79 (106); Jefferson, 47 (60); Venango, 41 (75); Clarion, 29 (42); Forest, 28 (64); Crawford, 20 (34); Butler, 9 (8); Erie, 6 (11); and Mercer, 6 (7).

Southwest (110): Somerset, 34 (76); Armstrong, 30 (19); Fayette, 23 (49); Westmoreland, 9 (29); Indiana, 8 (26); and Cambria, 6 (16).

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