In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, social distancing criteria placed in place would bring significant improvements to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s bear check stations this year. Effective bear hunters are expected to have their bear weighed, aged and registered at one of the bear check stations that the commission operates throughout the state during the rifle hunting season for bears, which starts on Saturday, November 21.
The check stations, especially on the first day of the season, have developed into spectator events. Some also have bleachers provided by local groups for the spectators and food and drinks.
This year, that won’t be the case.
The Commission announced that “Access to bear-checking areas will be limited to comply with the social distance requirements of the Governor and to keep employees of the Game Commission and members of the public safe. While some check stations may have areas open to the general public, only the successful hunter, and in some cases members of his or her hunting party, will be open to the general public at all check stations.”
At all control stations, social distancing of at least 6 feet and face coverings is necessary.
“At certain facilities, more restrictions can apply.”
Furthermore, the commission noted, this year there will be no harvest maps or tally boards at check stations.
It is possible to view real-time bear harvest totals at www.pgc.pa.gov. To link to the totals and maps, simply select ‘Black Bear Harvest’ under ‘Fast Clicks’ on the homepage.
In addition to the pandemic-related changes, 3 check stations have changed locations and will be held at different locations than those reported in the Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest 2020-21, which is issued to all hunters at the time of purchase of their licenses, which can be downloaded and viewed at www.pgc.pa.gov.
The Lycoming County check station originally scheduled to be held at Antes Fort Fire Hall along state route 44 in Jersey Shore in the North central Region will be relocated a quarter mile away to the North central Region Office of the Game Commission, 1566 South Route 44 Highway, Jersey Shore.