Black bear hunting opportunities opening up during deer season

Hunting

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) has released a statement reminding hunters that, from Nov. 22 through Dec. 5, 51 counties open to buck firearms hunting in West Virginia will be able to engage in bear hunting on private and public land during the buck season.

Buck firearms season is closed in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties.

“Concurrent bear hunting during deer season takes advantage of a time of year when the maximum number of hunters are in the woods,” said Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the WVDNR. “This helps manage bear populations by increasing harvest, but also provides a unique opportunity for hunters who may have never hunted bears.”

All or parts of 26 counties will be open for bear hunting with or without dogs from Dec. 6-31. During that same time, bear hunting without dogs will be open for all or parts of 35 counties.

Bear hunting opportunities will also continue after the buck firearms season, though hunters are also reminded to purchase their bear damage stamp and appropriate hunting license.

Hunters are required to submit the first premolar tooth from every bear that they harvest.

The WVDNR also encouraged hunters to save the reproductive tract or all the entrails of any harvested female black bear. Submitted female entrails and reproduction tracts will be rewarded with a $20 gift card. Harvested materials should be kept cool or frozen.

To arrange drop-off, hunters can contact their nearest district office or Elkins Operations Center. Additional information can be found at all district offices or the Elkins Operations Center.

Tooth samples and reproductive tracts will be used to monitor the black bear population.

The 2021–2022 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available at WVDNR offices and license vendors across West Virginia as well as wvdnr.gov, contains details concerning bear hunting seasons and information on how to collect and submit a black bear first premolar tooth, among other things.

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