Today marked the third day of rifle season for hunters looking to bag a bear this season.

One hunter in Lackawanna County got his this week… a black bear weighing almost 800 pounds.

“I couldn’t believe how big it was. It’s big,” Daniel Beavers of Covington Township said.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates the male black bear weighed 772 pounds.

So far it’s the largest bear taken in Pennsylvania this season, and it was shot near Daleville in Lackawanna County.

“I wasn’t even going to go hunting. First drive of the morning he just came right out to me and I shot him,” Beavers said.

Beavers said the skull of the bear will be measured to see if it breaks a world record.

Presumably, they’re measuring the head instead of looking at just raw weigh because of the season variability; a bear’s body weight can vary as much as 30% based upon the season in which they’re taken, since they bulk up in the fall to get through the winter  and emerge much lighter in the spring.

A lot of people claim that bear meat is “gamey” without ever having actually eaten it, but that hasn’t been my experience. A former employer of mine took on in North Carolina that had gotten fat and happy while decimating a farmer’s sweet corn, and that 500-plus pound bruin was delicious. We cut the meat into two-inch cubes, salt and peppered them, and then wrapped the cubes in bacon before throwing them on a hot grill. It was better than any beef, bison, or venison I’ve ever had.