First Day of Bear Season

The first day of bear season is like a holiday as dozens of families cram into a small bloodied garage to see truckloads of bears pull in. It's what you do on that Saturday night in Bolivar, home to one of six game commission weigh stations in the state. Some bears are big, and some are surprisingly small. "That bear is as big as you," one mother whispered to her wide-eyed young son, who probably weighed 60 pounds.

Game commission workers and volunteers lift the bears on a suspended scale, dripping. Then, they removed a tooth to determine the bear's age. Men in orange roam the garage with a proud smirk as children pet their trophies. It's a family affair to learn and appreciate the nature around us.

Lee McClinton, a Fayette game lands maintenance worker from Uniontown, checks in a 460-pound black bear shot by Larry Knepper of Richland township at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Lee McClinton, a Fayette game lands maintenance worker from Uniontown, checks in a 460-pound black bear shot by Larry Knepper of Richland township at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Lee McClinton, a Fayette game lands maintenance worker from Uniontown, weighs a black bear at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Lee McClinton, a Fayette game lands maintenance worker from Uniontown, weighs a black bear at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

People watch as a 57-pound bear is weighed at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

People watch as a 57-pound bear is weighed at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

A black bear is weighed at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

A black bear is weighed at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Gordon Matson, 17 of Ligonier waits with other hunters while his bear is weighed at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Gordon Matson, 17 of Ligonier waits with other hunters while his bear is weighed at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

A black bear is processed at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

A black bear is processed at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Alexandra Fazi, 9, covers her nose as Stephen Leiendecker, a game lands management group supervisor for Fayette and Greene counties, processes a black bear at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Alexandra Fazi, 9, covers her nose as Stephen Leiendecker, a game lands management group supervisor for Fayette and Greene counties, processes a black bear at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Jesse Shaw of Jeannette unwraps his 212-pound female black bear he shot in Armstrong County at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

Jesse Shaw of Jeannette unwraps his 212-pound female black bear he shot in Armstrong County at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

All that remains from a black bear processing is blood drippings from the bed of a pickup truck at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.

All that remains from a black bear processing is blood drippings from the bed of a pickup truck at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Southwest Region Office on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, in Bolivar.