There are just over 15,000 black bears roaming the rugged 215,000-acre state forest in Lycoming County, established in the 1700s in the heart of the Keystone State. Though bear hunting is legal in more than half of U.S. states, hunters from all over drive to the Tiadaghton State Forest to pursue the ultimate game trophy — a black bear. They have five days to kill one. It’s illegal to use bait or dogs in Pennsylvania, so hunters use their own dexterity in the woods. Many will take their .270 Winchester center fire rifles and .35 Remington bullets and post. They’ll trek up the mountainside in the backcountry and post, waiting for a fleeting opportunity to shoot a black bear. Post for days until the one opportunity a black bears crosses their sight line. It’s how Pennsylvania hunters hunt. In 2012, 3,632 bears were harvested, the third highest record in the state. Each year, hope grows for a bigger haul. Hunting as hobby travel is common in the fall when the weather gets colder and the evenings grow longer. Cabins are rented and guides lead groups of sportsmen into the depths of the forest from dawn until dusk. Hunters wade through swamps and harsh thickets with no guarantee of an ending reward. However, many travel to the eastern side of Pennsylvania, for five days, just to say they’ve been on a hunt for the black bear.