South Charleston, WV, United States (4E Sports) – The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) has released the schedule for the black bear hunting season amid reports that the animal’s population continues to expand at record proportions.
The DNR said gun hunters, with or without dogs, will get the first crack at the black bear, with a September 21-27 schedule.
The first split of archery bear season will open on September 28 and will last until November 23. The second split will happen from December 9 to December 31.
This marks the second year the black bear archery season will have both a September start and an extended December segment.
“The black bear population continues to expand,” said Curtis Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section.
“We believe the expanding population can sustain an extended archery season and provide a great deal of recreational opportunity,” Taylor added.
In addition to a base license, bear hunters must purchase a Bear Damage Stamp (Class DS) to hunt bear in West Virginia.
Two bear may be taken during the archery or the gun season (or one each in the archery and gun seasons) provided at least one bear is taken in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh or Wyoming counties.
Other than the Class DS stamp, no additional stamps are needed to harvest the second bear during the archery season except for non-residents hunting on the National Forest (Class I).
Meanwhile, eight Coalfield counties follow with their very own gun bear season from October 7- 11 (with or without dogs). The eight counties offering this special hunt are Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh and Wyoming.
Taylor reminded hunters that feeding or baiting of bears at any time is unlawful. Also, the blaze orange clothing rule applies to bear hunters when hunting a county or part thereof during any deer firearms season.
“It is also unlawful to shoot a bear weighing less than 75 pounds or to kill any cub or any bear accompanied by a cub regardless of its weight,” he added.
Harvested black bears must be presented at a game check station within 24 hours of the kill. Hunters are highly encouraged by DNR to provide an easily extracted pre-molar for aging purposes.
In addition, female bear reproductive parts are also of tremendous value in assessing the population. Instructions and contact points for participating are provided in the regulations pamphlet.