SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Firearms season for black bears will open up in West Virginia on Nov. 21 in 36 counties and parts of six other counties.

The black bear firearms season will run alongside the buck and antlerless deer seasons through Dec. 4, but only bear hunting without dogs will be permitted. Bear hunting with or without dogs will open up from Dec. 5-31 in 26 counties, while 35 counties will be open for bear hunting without dogs.

“Concurrent bear and deer hunting provides a unique opportunity for hunters who want to get the most out of West Virginia’s incredible hunting seasons,” said Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR). “White oak and chestnut oak were the most abundant mast crops this year, which means that black bears and deer will be feeding on acorns at the same places, giving hunters a good chance of harvesting either species.”

To join the season, hunters must purchase a bear damage stamp and an appropriate hunting license. A West Virginia hunting license can be purchased at WVhunt.com.

Hunters are also required to send a first premolar tooth from each bear that they harvest to the WVDNR Elkins Operations Center or their local district office by Jan. 31. A bear tooth envelope can be found at all district offices and the Elkins Operations Center. To learn more about how to submit a bear tooth, you can check the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary at WVdnr.gov/hunting-regulations.

For the chance to win a $20 gift card, hunters are encouraged to harvest and freeze the reproductive tracts or entrails of female black bears, then they should arrange a pickup with the closest WVDNR district office .

Both samples are used to help monitor the black bear population.

To learn more about bear hunting seasons, you can visit WVdnr.gov.