BECKLEY, W.Va. – The 2022 black bear hunting season in West Virginia is over, but the numbers have just come in.
According to a release from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), in the collective 2022 season, West Virginia hunters harvested 1,727 black bears, a 37 percent decrease from 2021’s 2,756 bears killed.
Out of the 521 bears killed during the archery/crossbow season (Sept. 24 – Nov. 20), the top five counties were Preston (46), Fayette (45), Randolph (26), Barbour and McDowell (24), Boone (20) and Webster (20).
Out of the 1,206 bears killed with a firearm, the top five counties were Boone (132), Nicholas (119), Fayette (118), Pocahontas (101) and Randolph (100).
A full county-by-county list can be found here.
Factors Contributing to Black Bear Harvest Decrease
“We predicted a lower bear harvest in 2022 based on a number of factors, including mast conditions and more restrictive hunting opportunities that were put in place to achieve management objectives,” said Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the WVDNR.
The release cites the potential causes of this to be poor mast conditions, or scavengeable food, causing bears to return to their dens early, the fact there were 25 fewer days in the bear hunting with or without dogs season as well as the removal of the buck-gun and bear season from all or parts of 15 counties.
You can learn more about West Virginia hunting seasons and how to purchase a hunting license by visiting WVdnr.gov.