Early Bear Gun Seasons to Open Sept. 18 and Oct. 4 in selected counties
Hunters are reminded that a bear season with or without the use of dogs will take place in all or parts of 16 counties Sept. 18–20 and all of eight counties Oct. 4-10.
The counties or parts of counties open to bear hunting with or without dogs from Sept. 18–20 include: Barbour (east of state Route 92), Braxton (east of I–79), Clay (south of Elk River), Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Mineral (west of New Creek), Monroe (east of U.S. Route 219), Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur (east of state Route 20), and Webster.
The counties open for bear hunting with or without dogs Oct. 4-10 include; Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh and Wyoming.
“Counties that will be open for early bear hunting are above their management objective and need additional bears to be harvested to achieve their goal,” said Colin Carpenter, Black Bear Project Leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “The benefit of early seasons is that all bears are available to be harvested because they won’t enter their dens for two more months.
“Hard and soft mast crops appear to be more abundant this year than in 2013,” Carpenter said. “This means bears will be scattered across the landscape. Hunters who focus their efforts in stands of black cherry, old apple orchards, or white oaks that have begun to drop acorns, however, should be able to find bruins.”
Successful hunters are encouraged to submit a premolar tooth from each harvested bear. Hunters can get a bear tooth envelope at all official game checking stations.
In addition, hunters who harvest a female black bear are encouraged to save the reproductive tract or all of the entrails. Hunters with reproductive tracts or entrails should keep them cool or freeze them and contact their nearest DNR district office to arrange a pick-up.
Data obtained from tooth samples and reproductive tracts are used for black bear population monitoring.
DNR personnel remind hunters to purchase their bear damage stamps as well as an appropriate hunting license. Details concerning bear hunting seasons can be found on pages 36-39 of the 2014-2015 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.