Deer hunters are reminded that a concurrent bear season without dogs will occur from Nov. 19 through Dec. 1 in eight counties, according to Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
Boone, Fayette, Hampshire, Kanawha, Monongalia, Morgan, Preston and Raleigh counties will be open for concurrent bear hunting during the traditional buck gun season. This is an increase from the seven counties that were open for concurrent bear hunting during the buck gun season in 2011.
“Counties that will be open for bear hunting during the buck gun season are above their management objective and need to have additional bears harvested to achieve their management goal,” said Carpenter. “In addition, timing is critical when setting bear hunting seasons, and the concurrent buck gun and bear seasons will occur when the maximum number of hunters are in the woods.
“The larger-than-average hard mast crop of 2012 will mean that hunters will have to find specific areas where bears are feeding to be successful. These special seasons offer a unique opportunity for hunters who may have never hunted for bear before to harvest a bear.”
Bear hunting opportunities abound after the buck gun season as well. All or parts of 24 counties will be open for bear hunting with or without hounds Dec. 3–31. In addition, all or parts of 37 counties will be open for bear hunting without hounds Dec. 3–31.
Successful hunters are encouraged to submit a premolar tooth from each harvested bear. In addition, hunters who harvest a female black bear are encouraged to save the reproductive tract or all the entrails. Hunters can get a bear tooth envelope at all official game checking stations. Hunters with reproductive tracts or entrails should keep them cool or freeze them and contact their nearest DNR district wildlife office to arrange pick-up. Data obtained from tooth samples and reproductive tracts are used for black bear population monitoring.
Hunters are reminded to purchase a bear damage stamp as well as an appropriate hunting license. Details concerning bear hunting seasons can be found on pages 36–39 of the 2012–2013 hunting and trapping regulations summary, available at license agents and at www.wvdnr.gov.