875-pound bear killed in Pa.
A Cresco man bagged a nearly 900-pound black bear recently in the Delaware River Water Gap National Recreation Area.
David Price, 46, said he shot the roughly 875-pound bear with a crossbow after his brothers and cousins along with him drove it out of a wooded area Monday afternoon.
"We've been after this bear for a few years," Price said.
Price, a hunter since age 12, said the largest bear he had ever taken down before weighed in at around 340 pounds.
Steve Schweitzer, northeast region director of the state Game Commission, said the bear tipped the scales at 742 pounds dressed.
While the game commission bases its records on the size of a bear's skull - which can only be measured after the skull dries over two to three months - the weight did indicate a record might be in jeopardy.
"I would presume based on the sheer size of the bear that it would be (a record)," Schweitzer said. "But that's just a guess."
Vicious as an 875-pound black bear may seem, Schweitzer said this particular bear might have actually been a bit of a homebody.
In October his office issued a written warning to a Middle Smithfield Twp. man who had been feeding a bear that may or may not have been Price's quarry.
Schweitzer said game commissioners try to prohibit feeding bears because they tend to become a nuisance once they get used to the practice.
"We consider bears as wild animals that could become a danger to people if you keep attracting them to a neighborhood," Schweitzer said.
Despite the bear's neighborhood notoriety, Schweitzer said Price's kill holds up.
"This particular bear was out on public hunting ground on national park service land and was considered fair game," Schweitzer said. "We did take a look at that, but we're not substantiating anything, so unless something else comes up we're considering it good."
Jerry Feaser, a spokesperson for the state Game Commission, said Pennsylvania includes crossbows in the archery category of weapons.
Feaser stressed that while the bear was large - with the heaviest bear ever recorded weighing in at 864 pounds - weight ultimately has no bearing on size records.
"When it comes to bear records, we only recognize bear skull measurements," Feaser said.
That practice is a result of weight fluctuation in bears from season to season.
Feaser said that a bear can lose a considerable amount of weight while in the den over the winter. If food sources are not as plentiful when the bear comes out of the den, it may not recover the weight lost.
The skull will remain the same size.
Price said he has not decided what to do with his new, inanimate friend but he will probably have a full-mount done.
Despite the 875-pound notch in his belt, Price said he plans to head back out on the hunt today.
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