The statewide black bear season opens on Saturday and hunters will be out to smash last year’s record take of 4,653 bears.

The new bear season across the Commonwealth also includes the first-ever bear-hunting opportunity on Sunday, Nov. 22, and then Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 23-24.

More black bears are being taken by hunters in Adams County every year. Last fall, 11 bears were harvested; seven went down in 2018.

The first black bear taken legally in Adams County was by a bowhunter, Frank R. McCollum, in the York Springs area in 2012.

Frank had seen the bear and had it on trail camera that summer.

He saw the bear again while bowhunting deer from a treestand and he got a good, close look at it. Frank had a bear tag but wasn’t sure if it was legal to shoot the bear and so, let the bear walk.

A check of the regulations confirmed that it was also archery season for bears in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 5B.

Frank was ready when the bear showed up that Wednesday, Oct. 17. A single arrow took the 125-pound boar down from 10 yards.

At Frank’s house, the feat attracted quite the crowd of friends, fellow hunters, and three game wardens.

In the season of 2020, there is one less bear to look for in Huntingdon County.

Carl Goshorn, who manages the Cumberland County Conservation District, zipped a 149-pound bear on the last morning of the archery season, Nov. 7.

It is his first bear taken on property owned and hunted by members of “Just A Meer Deer Camp.”

Carl was hunting from a ladder treestand at 8:15 a.m. when, “The bear came in behind me and was five yards away at one point and I had to wait until it turned and started walking away before I could shoot,” he says.

He made the 20-yard shot count with his Barnett crossbow.

It’s good to have friends at a time like that. Carl had camp buddies to help get the bear out of the woods, rocks, and briers from high on Shade Mountain.

SUNDAY STIPULATIONS

The second of three consecutive Sunday opportunities occurs this Sunday during the black bear season.

The third opportunity presents itself the following Sunday, Nov. 29, during the statewide firearms season for deer.

Bowhunters were able to hunt last Sunday, Nov. 15.

On Sundays, hunters on private land must carry written permission from the landowner. It is important to list landowner’s contact information, a phone number if possible, on the permission slip.

Except on Sundays, Nov. 15, Nov. 22, and Nov. 29, only foxes, coyotes and crows may be hunted on Sundays during open seasons.

BE SURE OF SEASONS

The firearms seasons for white-tailed deer again open statewide on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28.

Be mindful that the structures and legal deer for the seasons vary, depending on location, location, location.

In Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 5A, which includes the vast majority of Adams County, the season for antlered and antlerless white-tailed deer opens Saturday, Nov. 28, includes Sunday hunting on Nov. 29 and continues to Saturday, Dec. 12.

Note that there is no Sunday hunting in the Commonwealth on Dec. 6!

Know that in WMU 5B, which includes a northeastern swath of Adams County, only antlered deer are legal from Nov. 28, (with Sunday hunting Nov. 29), to Dec. 4. Then, from Saturday, Dec. 5 and to Saturday, Dec. 12, antlered and antlerless deer will be legal.

Best to check your Digest of Regulations for specific criteria for your WMU.

FLY FISHING YOUTH CAMP

The Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited is holding the 26th annual Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp June 20-25. The camp will be at Messiah University in Grantham, Pa.

Because of COVID-19, the camp size has been reduced from 32 to 24 qualified students ages 14-17. As more details emerge, they will be shared on the camp’s website www.riverscamp.com.

Students who were accepted for the 2020 camp will have the opportunity to attend the 2021 camp and be given priority without having to re-apply. However, it is incumbent upon the 2020 accepted student to contact the camp at Riverscamp@gmail.com, and state their intention that they wish to attend camp in 2021.

The camp began accepting applications for the 2021 camp Nov. 1. Applying via the camp website is preferred.

The deadline for early acceptance is Dec. 31. Students selected for the early acceptance will be notified in early January 2021. Applicants who apply during the regular application period of January 1, 2021 through February 29, 2021 will be notified in early March 2021.

The camp tuition is $550 per student. There is no cost to apply, and no money is required until a student is accepted. Financial aid may be available to qualified students. All meals and accommodations are included for the residence camp.

The highly structured curriculum is based on college level classes. Students are instructed in ecology, aquatic biology, geology, hydrogeology, erosion and sediment control, ichthyology, riparian corridor protection, watershed management, entomology, and much more. Students also participate in a hands-on stream habitat improvement project.

But it’s not all work. There are 10 fishing sessions, casting and fishing instruction and fly-tying classes. Over 25 instructors, all experts in their field, teach the various classes.

A student doesn’t have to be an accomplished fly fisher or a budding aquatic biologist to attend. The student only needs to be highly motivated and willing to learn.

For more information, a camp brochure, or to apply, visit the camp website at www.riverscamp.com. Questions may be submitted at the website or via email to riverscamp@gmail.com.

SNAPSHOTS

• I note with sadness the passing of Dr. Lee Flinner, 66, as reported in yesterday’s Times. Lee loved his family, community, staff, and patients. He also loved to hunt. He was my dentist for a few years and listening to his enthusiastic descriptions of treks for moose, local deer, and other game was for me, the most effective anesthetic while in his chair. RIP, Lee.

• As bear and deer seasons approach, I appreciate photos of successful hunters, especially when someone’s bear or first buck is included. Please consider sending photos like these to me at bjsmall@comcast.net.

Send your wild thoughts and photos to bjsmall@comcast.net.

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