Thursday, November 29, 2018


HARRISBURG, PA - When they sit down at the dinner table on Thursday, Pennsylvania’s hunters will have plenty for which to be thankful. It's prime time for Pennsylvania hunting and, with any luck, some game bags or ear tags have been filled already, or are nearly about to be.
But as hunters are giving thanks, they should know also they’re in a prime position to receive thanks for what they might choose to give.
Each year, the generosity of Pennsylvania’s hunters results in about 200,000 meals for the state’s hungry.
By donating venison through Hunters Sharing the Harvest – a program that works through a network of meat processors to channel venison donations to local food banks, soup kitchens and hungry families – hunters extend their helping hands to those in need.
And, once again this year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other partners are making it easy for hunters to help out. The Game Commission again donated $20,000 to the program – money that enables Hunters Sharing the Harvest to accept venison donations without charging hunters. In prior years, hunters who donated venison needed also to pay a $15 tax-deductible fee to cover deer-processing costs.
This partnership helped Hunters Sharing the Harvest in the 2017-18 deer seasons set a record for donations, when hunters donated 3,337 deer yielding 130,930 pounds of venison that provided 667,400 meals for people in need. Through Hunters Sharing the Harvest, hunters have donated more than 1.3 million pounds of venison to the state’s hungry since 1991.
Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said the agency is proud to partner with Hunters Sharing the Harvest, a program that exemplifies the generosity of Pennsylvania’s hunters.
“There’s no greater gift than feeding someone who is hungry, and our state’s hunters have stepped up to do that, time and again, by working through the program to generously donate meat from the deer they harvest to people in need,” Burhans said.
At a Tuesday news conference to kick off the busiest season for venison donations, Hunters Sharing the Harvest Executive Director John Plowman thanked the Game Commission and others who have helped to make the program a success. All deer donated through Hunters Sharing the Harvest must be processed professionally by a participating butcher. For information on where to take deer to be donated, or to learn more about the program generally, visit Hunters Sharing the Harvest’s website,

Thursday, November 22, 2018


A hefty 780-pound male was taken with a rifle Nov. 19 by Michael J. Rubeo,
of Mercer, in Howe Township, Forest County.
Hunters during the third day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season harvested 211 bears, raising the three-day total to 1,833 – a 12 percent increase over the 1,628 bears taken during the 2017 season’s first three days.

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 600 pounds or more.

Two huge bears overtook the state’s largest harvested bear, which wasn’t easy, considering it weighed 704 pounds.

A hefty 780-pound male was taken with a rifle Nov. 19 by Michael J. Rubeo, of Mercer, in Howe Township, Forest County.

A day later, a 708-pound male was taken by Timothy J. Weaver, of Dallas, Pa., with a rifle in Harvey’s Lake Borough, Luzerne County.

Other large bears taken over the season’s first two days – all but one taken with a rifle – include: a 704-pound male taken Nov. 17 in Goshen Township, Clearfield County, by Mickey L. Moore, of Clearfield; a 697-pound male taken Nov. 19 in Chapman Township, Clinton County, by Scott Yorty, of Bloomsburg; a 681-pounder taken Nov. 17 in Coal Township, Northumberland County, by Robert L. Britton III, of Coal Township; a 680-pounder taken Nov. 19 in Chest Township, Clearfield County, by Douglas D. Routch, of Curwensville; a 679-pound male taken with a handgun Nov. 17 in Farmington Township, Warren County, by Jordan Tutmaher, of Warren; a 666-pound male taken Nov. 20 in Snyder Township, Jefferson County, by Earl F. Timothy, of Brockway; a 627-pound male taken Nov. 19 in Snyder Township, Jefferson County, by Wayne C. Kline, of Reynoldsville; and a 623-pound male taken Nov. 17 in Newport Township, Luzerne County, by Corrina M. Kishbaugh, of Nanticoke.

The overall 2017 bear harvest was 3,438 was the ninth-largest in state history. In 2016, hunters took 3,529 bears, for the fifth best all-time harvest. The largest harvest – 4,350 bears – happened in 2011, when preliminary three-day totals numbered 2,709.

The preliminary three-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit was as follows: WMU 1A, 17 (14 in 2017); WMU 1B, 100 (53); WMU 2A, 5 (1); WMU 2C, 115 (75); WMU 2D, 114 (91); WMU 2E, 56 (25); WMU 2F, 198 (182); WMU 2G, 344 (356); WMU 2H, 59 (70); WMU 3A, 99 (103); WMU 3B, 117 (167); WMU 3C, 45 (80); WMU 3D, 141 (173); WMU 4A, 123 (59); WMU 4B, 53 (30); WMU 4C, 83 (42); WMU 4D, 112 (79); WMU 4E, 48 (26); and WMU 5A, 4 (2).

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

The top bear-hunting county in the state after three days of season was Clinton County with 119. It was followed by Lycoming County with 103.

Three-day harvests by county and region are:
Northwest (366): Venango, 68 (41); Jefferson, 64 (47); Forest, 52 (28); Warren, 52 (79); Crawford, 49 (20); Clarion, 37 (29); Butler, 17 (9); Erie, 15 (6); and Mercer, 12 (6).

Southwest (168): Somerset, 57 (34); Fayette, 32 (23); Indiana, 30 (8); Armstrong, 25 (30); Cambria, 13 (6); and Westmoreland, 11 (9).

Northcentral (643): Clinton, 119 (106); Lycoming, 103 (120); Tioga, 86 (113); Clearfield, 72 (49); Cameron, 61 (40); Potter, 54 (108); Centre, 46 (31); Elk, 46 (59); McKean, 43 (54); and Union, 13 (10).

Southcentral (245): Huntingdon, 76 (39); Bedford, 51 (26); Fulton, 33 (16); Blair, 21 (6); Juniata, 15 (9); Franklin, 14 (7); Perry, 14 (9); Mifflin, 10 (9); Adams, 4 (2); Cumberland, 4 (3); and Snyder, 3 (2).

Northeast (355): Luzerne, 50 (35); Bradford, 46 (28); Monroe, 46 (33); Pike, 46 (89); Sullivan, 30 (60); Wayne, 29 (54); Wyoming, 24 (29); Carbon, 25 (23); Lackawanna, 15 (25); Columbia, 17 (9); Northumberland, 17 (3); Susquehanna, 10 (19); and Montour 0 (1).

Southeast (56): Dauphin, 25 (13); Schuylkill, 17 (6); Lebanon, 7 (2); Lehigh, 3 (0); Northampton, 3 (2); and Berks 1 (4)

Monday, November 19, 2018


  • Pennsylvania’s coming firearms deer season looks as promising as ever to the hundreds of thousands  of hunters awaiting its start on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
  • Deer hunters have seen the statewide buck harvest increase over each of the past three years, and more than a million whitetails have been taken by hunters over the same period. Many are wondering, “Can it get any better?”
  • Unseasonably warm weather, later leaf-drop and rain made it more challenging to pattern deer movements and take whitetails throughout the statewide six-week archery season, which concluded Nov. 12. Now the Commonwealth’s “orange-clad army” awaits its next opportunity to hunt deer in the statewide firearms season.
  • Pennsylvania’s firearms season draws the biggest crowd and consequently has been the state’s principal deer management tool for more than a century. In many rural areas, the opener is equivalent to a holiday, and some rural schools still close their doors to allow their students – and teachers – to hunt.
  • The firearms season opener is the day every deer hunter wants to be afield. It’s almost always the most exciting day of the season and therefore usually offers the greatest opportunity. About 45 percent of the season’s buck harvest was taken on the opener last year.
  • “Opening days have been drawing the largest crowds of hunters for a long, long time,” explained Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “It’s that day when anything really can happen, when lifetime bucks are taken, when hunters are bound to see more deer than any other day of the hunting season. It’s when every hunter wants to be tucked away in the woods waiting for a big buck to come his or her way.
  • “The firearms season opener is always worth the wait,” Burhans said. “But so is the first Saturday of the season. Last fall, hunters took more deer on the first Saturday than the opening day, a first in Pennsylvania’s deer management history. So, if you can find the time, get afield for both days. They really are two of the best times to be deer hunting.”
  • Larger-racked – and older – bucks are making up more of the deer harvest with each passing year. Last year, 163,750 bucks were taken by hunters, making it the second-largest buck harvest in Pennsylvania since antler restrictions were started in 2002. It was the 10th best all-time.
  • In 2017, 57 percent of the antlered buck harvest was made up of bucks 2½ years old or older, said Christopher Rosenberry, who supervises the Game Commission’s Deer and Elk Section. The rest were 1½ years old.
  • “Older, bigger-racked bucks are making up more of the buck harvest than they have for at least a couple decades,” Rosenberry said. “Hunters like the bucks in Pennsylvania today compared to what many of them saw 30 years ago.”
  • Every year, Pennsylvania hunters are taking huge bucks. Some are “book bucks,” antlered deer that make the Pennsylvania Big Game Records book or Boone & Crockett Club rankings. Others simply win neighborhood bragging rights.
  • But it’s important to remember, every deer matters when only about a third of hunters harvest whitetails during Pennsylvania’s slate of deer seasons.
  • “Whether it’s a young hunter’s first deer, or a big buck that fell to a hunter on a dark-to-dark sit, they all matter to these hunters, their families and the communities in which they live,” emphasized Burhans. “Hunting deer has been an exciting Pennsylvania pastime for centuries, and it’s sure to remain that way for many generations to come.”

  • Statewide Season
  • The statewide general firearms season runs from Nov. 26 to Dec. 8. In most areas, hunters may take only antlered deer during the season’s first five days, with the antlerless and antlered seasons then running concurrently from the first Saturday, Dec. 1, to the season’s close. In WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, however, properly licensed hunters may take either antlered or antlerless deer at any time during the season.
  • Rules regarding the number of points a legal buck must have on one antler also vary in different parts of the state, and young hunters statewide follow separate guidelines.
  • For a complete breakdown of antler restrictions, WMU boundaries and other regulations, consult the 2018-19 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is available online at the Game Commission’s website,
  • Hunters statewide must wear at all times a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their head, chest and back combined. An orange hat and vest will satisfy the requirement. Nonhunters who might be afield during the deer season and other hunting seasons are asked to consider wearing orange, as well.

  • Field Conditions for Deer Season
  • Precipitation through spring and summer have once again fostered an exceptional supply of fall foods in Penn’s Woods. Grazing grass was available in early November. Soft and some hard mast crops have been remarkably plentiful.
  • Cornfields have stood longer this fall than usual. Trees held their leaves longer. These conditions have made deer movements tougher to sort out. Deer typically key on food sources within good cover. And, in the case of cornfields, they might never leave them until the corn comes down. So, hunters are urged to confirm deer activity in areas they plan to hunt before they commit to them.
  • “Scouting is important to every hunt,” Burhans explained. “Deer like to hang out where food is the easiest to obtain. But hunter pressure and other disturbances can inspire their selection.”
  • Deer usually make a mess wherever they eat, so it shouldn’t be hard to sort out whether they’re using an area. Look for raked up leaves, droppings and partially eaten mast for confirmation.
  • When setting up a hunting stand, it’s also a good idea to use the prevailing wind to your advantage. Wherever you hunt, the prevailing wind should blow from where you expect to see deer to your location. Then, dress for the cold and sit tight.
  • Remember you’re not alone while you’re afield. Other hunters also are waiting on stand, still-hunting or driving for deer in groups. So, even if your position overlooking a feeding area fails to bring deer, the movements of other hunters might chase deer your way.
  • “Expect the unexpected on the firearms deer season opener,” Burhans noted. “It is hands-down that one day when you never know if or when that buck is coming. You must be ready to take it. Don’t let that buck of a lifetime catch you playing with your smartphone!”

  • Hunt Safely from Tree Stands – Wear a Harness
  • Wearing a full-body harness is essential to staying safe when using a tree stand, but a harness can prevent falls to the ground only if it is connected to the tree.
  • “That means you must wear your harness, and be sure it’s connected to the tree, at all times you’re in the stand, as well as when you’re getting into and out of the stand, or climbing or descending trees,” explained Meagan Thorpe, Game Commission hunter education chief.
  • A hunter using a climbing stand should tie-in the safety rope or strap that pairs with the harness before beginning to climb.
  • Most safety ropes and straps have a sewn or knotted loop on one end, and the opposite end can be wrapped around the tree and through the loop, then cinched tightly. There’s often a separate loop, many times a carabiner loop held by a prussic knot, onto which to clip your safety harness.
  • Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper installation.
  • You’ll want to move the safety rope or strap up the tree first, then tighten it, each time before moving the platform up the tree. If the rope is at or slightly above eye-level as you stand on the platform, you should have plenty of room to raise the platform to a higher standing position before moving the rope up the tree again before climbing.
  • “Make sure you have proper contact with the stand and tree every time you move,” emphasized Thorpe.
  • It takes only a little longer to climb with a rope, and if the stand fails due to breakage or a pin pulling out of the climbing band, or if a fall occurs because slippage or loss of balance, the harness and rope will prevent falling to the ground.
  • With pre-installed hang-on stands – and especially ladder stands – the most practical way to stay connected to the tree is through a safety line, commonly referred to by the brand name Lifeline, that hangs to the ground from above the platform.
  • Because the safety line is installed above the platform, the tree must be climbed first, but other safety ropes or straps can be used along with your harness. When installing a safety line at a hang-on stand, a linemen’s style belt can be worn while ascending the tree. A linemen’s belt might not be an option for many ladder stands, but a separate ladder and linemen’s belt could be used to install the safety line before the ladder stand is installed.
  • When using a ladder stand, climbing stick or tree steps, make sure to maintain three points of contact (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand) with each step.
  • The important points are to always take your time and be safe when using stands. Always put on your safety harness while you’re still on the ground, and keep it connected to the tree at all times until you’re back on the ground.

  • Proper Licensing
  • Hunters during the statewide firearms season can harvest antlered deer if they possess a valid general hunting license, which costs $20.90 for adult residents and $101.90 for adult nonresidents.
  • Each hunter between the ages of 12 and 16 must possess a junior license, which costs $6.90 for residents and $41.90 for nonresidents.
  • Hunters younger than 12 must possess a valid mentored youth hunting permit and be accompanied at all times by a properly licensed adult mentor, as well as follow other regulations.
  • Mentored-hunting opportunities also are available for adults, but only antlerless deer may be taken by mentored adult hunters.
  • Those holding senior lifetime licenses are reminded they must obtain a new antlered deer harvest tag each year, free of charge, to participate in the season.
  • To take an antlerless deer, a hunter must possess either a valid antlerless deer license or a valid permit. In the case of mentored hunters, the mentor must possess a valid tag that can be transferred to the mentored hunter at the time of harvest.
  • In addition to regular antlerless licenses, Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits can be used to take antlerless deer. A DMAP permit can be used throughout the 12-day firearms season, but only on the specific property for which it is issued.
  • Regular antlerless deer licenses may be used only within the wildlife management unit for which they’re issued, in most cases starting on Saturday, Dec. 1. WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D offer concurrent antlered and antlerless deer hunting throughout the statewide firearms deer season.
  • DMAP permits for some properties might still be available, but at the time of this release, antlerless licenses were sold out in all units but WMUs 2A and 2B.
  • General hunting licenses can be purchased online, but as the season nears, hunters might find it better to purchase licenses in person. Deer licenses purchased online are mailed, meaning they might not arrive in time if purchased too close to the start of the season.
  • Hunters are reminded the field possession of expired licenses or tags, or another hunter’s licenses or tags is unlawful.

  • Tagging and Reporting
  • A valid tag must be affixed to the ear of each deer harvested before that deer is moved. The tag must be filled out with a ball-point pen by the hunter.
  • Within 10 days of a harvest, a successful hunter is required to make a report to the Game Commission. Harvests can be reported online at the Game Commission’s website – – by clicking on the “Report a Harvest” button on the home page. Reporting online not only is the quickest way to report a harvest, it’s the most cost-effective for the Game Commission.
  • Harvests also can be reported by mailing in the postage-paid cards that are provided when licenses are purchased, or successful hunters can call 1-855-PAHUNT1 (1-855-724-8681) to report by phone. Those reporting by phone are asked to have their license number and other information about the harvest ready at the time they call.
  • Mentored youth hunters are required to report deer harvests within five days. And hunters with DMAP or Disease Management Area 2 permits must report on their hunting success, regardless of whether they harvest deer.
  • By reporting their deer harvests, hunters play a key role in providing information used to estimate harvests and the deer population within each WMU. Estimates are key to managing deer populations, and hunters are asked to do their part in this important process.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease
  • Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2012. To help prevent the spread of CWD, the Game Commission created Disease Management Areas (DMA) where specific regulations apply.
  • Currently there are three DMAs. DMA 2 includes parts of Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Juniata, Perry, Huntingdon and Somerset counties. DMA 3 includes about 350 square miles in Armstrong, Clarion, Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties. And DMA 4 encompasses 346 square miles in Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.
  • For the specific boundaries of each DMA, check the Game Commission’s website –
  • Hunters harvesting deer within a DMA may not export deer parts deemed to have a high-risk of spreading CWD from the DMA. The head – specifically the brain, eyes, tonsils and lymph nodes, spinal cord and spleen are considered high-risk parts. In addition, hunters harvesting deer in CWD-positive states or provinces cannot import these high-risk parts into Pennsylvania. Once high-risk parts are removed, hunters can export the remaining meat on or off the bone, cleaned capes, cleaned skull plates with antlers, and finished taxidermy mounts from the DMA.
  • It is preferred hunters dispose of high-risk parts through their curbside trash service or in dumpsters provided by the Game Commission. Locations of dumpsters can be found on the Game Commission’s website –
  • Hunters may take their harvested deer to any processor or taxidermist within the DMA. In some cases, cooperating processors and taxidermists just beyond the border of a DMA can accept deer from a DMA. A list of cooperating processors and taxidermists is available on the Game Commission’s website –
  • Hunters who take deer within DMAs can have their deer tested – free of charge – for CWD, and at the same time help the Game Commission fight this deadly disease.
  • The Game Commission has installed large metal bins for the collection of harvested deer heads within DMA 2, DMA 3 and DMA 4. The bins, which are similar to those used for clothing donations, keep contents secure and are checked and emptied regularly through the deer-hunting seasons.
  • All deer heads brought to the white-colored head-drop-off bins must be lawfully tagged, with the harvest tag legibly completed and attached to the deer’s ear and placed in a tied-shut plastic bag. The head can be bagged before being brought to the bin, or hunters can use the bags provided at bins.
  • Once submitted for testing, deer heads will not be returned to hunters. Hunters wishing to keep antlers should remove them prior to submitting. Hunters will be notified of disease testing results within six weeks. Hunters who harvest deer outside a DMA can make arrangements with the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System if they want their deer to be tested. There is a fee associated with this testing. More information about this process can be found online at
  • In addition to heads deposited in bins, the Game Commission will be collecting heads from processors throughout the state for CWD surveillance. However, hunters should not assume a deer taken to a processor will be tested for CWD.
  • Chronic wasting disease is always fatal to deer and there is no vaccine or cure. The disease is spread by deer-to-deer contact and through the environment. Although there is no known case of it being transmitted to humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Game Commission recommend people do not consume meat from deer that test positive for CWD.
  • For more information on CWD, drop-off dumpsters and rules applying within DMAs, visit the Game Commission’s website –
  • Buck Harvest Photo Contest
  • If you take a big buck, or a special buck, or your first buck, the Game commission would like to hear from you.
  • Send us a photo of you with your Pennsylvania 2018 archery or firearms season buck, along with some limited background: your name, age and hometown, harvest date, county in which buck was taken. Photos will be accepted through Dec. 17. They must be emailed to Use “BUCK HARVEST” in the subject line.
  • Game Commission staff will narrow the submitted photos in each contest into groups of contenders to be posted on the agency’s Facebook page, where users will determine the winning photos by “liking” the images. Those submitting the images of the winning archery and firearms bucks will win trail cameras.
  • For more information about the contest and prizes, visit the Game Commission’s website.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Look for clues when field judging black bears

When it comes to field judging black bears, look for certain clues.Spike, that's who he reminded me of. 
You'll remember Spike if you watched "Looney Toons" cartoons Saturday mornings back in the day or have at least seen them online since. He's a burly, big-shouldered, tough-talking bulldog.
Palled up with Chester, his yippy Terrier friend, he took on Sylvester and other foils, usually none too successfully.
In this situation, though, he seemed formidable enough.
I was hunting deer with a flintlock, posted on the ground at the edge of a field, tucked maybe five feet into the woods.
The trees opened up to a band of ankle-high grass 10 yards across, then morphed into a corn field in full bloom. I was in the corner of an L, so that I could watch for deer entering the corn from two directions.
It was near dark. There were maybe 15 minutes of legal shooting light left when I saw corn stalks rustling.
Dang, I thought. The deer are already in there.
The swaying stalks indicated they were heading for one edge of the field, though. With any luck, they'd step into the grass at maybe 40 yards while there was time to shoot.
I brought my rifle up to port arms, then leveled it against a tree. And then, my thumb poised to cock the hammer, out stepped not a whitetail, but a black bear.
It stood broadside, seemingly lost in thought until it squatted down and took care of business, the way bears do in the woods.
That's a heck of a way to end the day, I thought. A take-that moment from the wilds to a hunter doomed to a winter of eating vegetables if things didn't change.
But then I noticed the stalks moving again.
No deer would follow a bear that closely, I thought. And I was right.
What stepped into the open was yet another bear, this one bigger than the first. Significantly bigger, in fact.
What a treat, something to talk about back at home.
Then that big guy got wind of me. Not enough to know what I was for sure. But enough to want to investigate further.
He turned to face me, his nose up, working the air for scent. He saw me, or more likely a suggested hint of me, I think. I was a bit downhill — the field sloped downward, running from the corn to the treeline — with the now-dark woods at my back.
Unsure, he took a step toward me, then another and a third. Maybe a fourth, too.
In each case, he swung his legs out to the side before bringing them forward, his shoulders too muscled to move his legs straight, just like Spike.
It was all pretty cool. At least until the bear crept ever nearer, to the point of being uncomfortably close.
Armed with a rifle that offers one shot when it decides to go off, I stepped to the very edge of the trees and yelled "Hey bear!" He responded by taking another muscular step closer.
I took two more steps, completely into the open this time, raised my arms and yelled again, this time louder.
That did it. Both bears turned on a dime and ran back into the corn field. I tracked their path by the crashing, flying stalks that sounded as if they were being mowed down by a pair of high-speed locomotives.
A month later, in bear season, another hunter took one very near there that weighed almost 700 pounds.
I don't know for sure if that was the bear I saw that day in flintlock season. But it may have been. He was just a monster.
Of course, a lot of bears at first glance probably seem that way.
It can be hard to judge the size of many species in the field. All the white-tailed bucks that suffer from ground shrinkage — their antlers smaller when you walk up to it than they seemed when you were pulling the trigger — attest to that.
Bears can be even harder to figure.
But there are some tell-tale signs of a big bear you can look for.
One are their legs. Younger, smaller bears have legs that seem long in relation to their body. Big bears seems almost squatty, with shorter legs. They're not short-limbed, really. But their deep bodies, even portly stomachs, give their legs that appearance.
A large bear's legs will have no ankle or wrist either. They're wide and solid all the way from shoulder to paw.
Another thing to look at is the ears. Smaller bears have what look to be Mickey Mouse ears. They're big and perched on the top of their heads. The ears of a big bear are the same size as on a smaller one, but they're set closer to the sides of the bear's head, which will be much wider, like a dinner plate.
Check out the bear's shoulders and neck, too. A really large bear, a Spike-like bear, if you will, will seem to have lots of shoulder and no neck. His basketball-sized head will run straight into his body. A smaller bear is more defined.
When in doubt, try to relate the bear to something of known size. If there is more than one bear, it's easy to tell which is bigger.
But you can't count on that.
So before a bear ever appears, pick out something nearby — a stump, log, corn stalk or something else — and take note of its size. Then, compare any bear you see to that.
If all else fails, pay attention to the bear's attitude. A really big bear knows he's the boss of the woods, and he often acts it, exhibiting an easy confidence, a nonchalance, that a younger bear lower in the pecking order won't.
Of course, you can always wait for him to walk towards you, a mix of curiosity and perhaps hungry malice in his heart.
I can guarantee one thing: It will be memorable.
Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at
Article by Bob Frye, Everybody Adventures,