Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

David Price and his 879-pound bruin

From the Associated Press:

BUSHKILL, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Game Commission says an 879-pound black bear brought down by a bow hunter is the heaviest ever recorded in the state. David Price shot and killed the 17-year-old bear in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Pike County on Monday.
The Pocono Record reports the game commission says the bruin had an estimated live weight of 879 pounds. It was 15 pounds heavier than the state’s previous record-holder, an 864-pound bear shot in Pike County back in 2003.
Game commission spokesman Tim Conway says this bear could be determined to be the world record holder. The world record is determined by skull size. Officials say the bear’s skull will be measured after 60 days.

As is almost always the case when someone kills a critter so big and so potentially important, controversy surrounds Price’s potential record bruin. Some of the allegations:  1.) The bear was well known in western New Jersey, where it had been trapped and lip-tattoed by New Jersey wildlife officials. 2.) It reportedly was raised by humans after its mother was killed by a car.  3.) There is at least one allegation that it took nine shots to kill the gigantic bruin, and that some of them were taken with a crossbow. If true, the kill would be illegal because Pennsylvania’s bow-only bear season is not open to crossbows. (UPDATE — Knowledgeable readers have informed me that crossbows are legal during the bow-only bear season in Pennsylvania. I stand corrected. Thanks for the help, folks.)

So far, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is only confirming that the bear was killed in Pennsylvania and that it was indeed as big as it was reported to be. They’re staying quiet on everything else. PGC officials have yet to issue an official news release.

I’m sure PGC wildlife conservation officers are questioning anyone and everyone about this one. The coming days should bring further news.