2009-11-26 / Local & State

Three Bears Taken In County

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Less than perfect weather may have hampered the start of bear season in Fulton County Monday, but hopes remain high from hunters in the field that the skies will clear for a successful hunt the remaining two days of the season.

Statistics released from the Sideling Hill bear check station, located in the Bureau of Forestry facility just off Route 30, three hours after its 10 a.m. opening, show that seven bears have been brought to the station for official weigh in. Of those bears, three were harvested in Fulton County and an additional four were taken in neighboring Bedford County.

At this time, Hagerstown, Md., resident Travis Crouse holds the distinction of having harvested the largest bear ever brought to the Sideling Hill check station. In addition, Crouse’s bruin, which tipped the scales at a whopping 644 pounds, could possibly be the biggest bear harvested to date in Fulton County.

Crouse, according to information given to the “News” by Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Kevin Mountz, killed his trophy bear while hunting in the Narrows area of Todd Township.

In addition to Crouse’s bruin, Hobert Hann also managed to harvest a male bear weighing in at 176 pounds. Hann took the bear in the picnic area of Jerry Springs located in Brush Creek Township. Meanwhile, William Bohrer harvested a 170-pound female bear in Thompson Township.

Mountz stated mountain tops remained heavily blanketed with fog Monday. Even though the fog may have diminished the chances for many hunters to harvest a bear on opening day, Mountz added the spirits of numerous sportsmen encountered in the field remain very high given the number of bear sightings on Sideling Hill and in the surrounding area.

“Enthusiasm is running high right now,” said Mountz, who noted intermittent rain showers may dampen spirits on Tuesday, but hopefully the skies will brighten for the closing day of the three-day season.

The check station will remain open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Game Commission biologists John Dunn and Jamie Flickinger will be on hand throughout the remaining two days to assist with the weigh-in. Bureau of Forestry employees Jodi Skipper, Ray Miller, Don Nester and Dave Keefer also assisted with the check station Monday.

In 2008, a total of 13 bears were taken during the three-day season in Fulton County. No bears were taken locally last year during archery season. Fulton County’s totals helped propel the 2008 statewide harvest of 3,436 bears to second place in state bear harvests, falling only behind the 2005 season in which hunters harvested 4,164 bears.

In addition to weighing each bear upon its arrival, biologists also pull a tooth from each bear. The teeth are in turn sent to laboratory technicians, who determine the harvest age of each black bear. Even though 13 bears were killed last year, only seven bears were recorded from Fulton County in the publicized 2008 black bear harvest age data. Bears not listed could either have been deemed a cub being 10 months old or younger or the tooth was unusable.

Of the seven bears listed, six were females. The bears ranged in weight from 90 pounds to 195 pounds and age of 22 months to seven years, 10 months.

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