Pennsylvania Bears Get Good Report After Winter

Keystone State black bear survey finds healthy sows, cubs; project may expand.

Pennsylvania Bears Get Good Report After Winter

A survey in Pennsylvania reveals a healthy black bear population. Photo: Muth Photography

Black bears were given a blue checkmark for their winter hibernation, according to Pennsylvania officials who keep tabs on the bruins.

“So far, a lot of the bears are in good shape,” Emily Carrollo, black bear program manager for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, told Carrollo was conducting a den check in Cambria County earlier this year, one of several done each winter. “Every single bear we went to had a beautiful coat and was fat and happy, and the cubs were in really good shape.

Carrollo said the PGC team will check between a dozen and three dozen dens each year. But 2022 was what she described as an “in-between research year” so only 8 to 10 were being checked. Sows captured and fitted with GPS tracking collars are tracked, tranquilized and checked for overall health and other data. 

Carrollo said bears historically have been captured, collared and tracked in the northeast, north-central and southwestern parts of the state. Commission officials are looking at new research on public in Schuylkill County in the northeast part of the state.

The bear population stands at about 15,000, down from 2022.

“If the density of bears isn’t as high, there’s less competition for food on the landscape,” Corrollo said. “Therefore, even in poor mast years, black bears are able to consume enough calories and go into the hibernating season fat and happy.”


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