Hunter Takes 20 Years to Harvest Record Black Bear in Virginia

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Clealan Dove has been hunting bear for more than 20 years in Virginia, and he had never harvested one. That changed last year when he went hunting with his son, and grandson in Rockingham County. Dove was able to take the bear with a single shot to the neck with his .308 rifle.

Dove's bear is now the largest ever harvested bear in Virginia. The news was announced Sunday during the 72nd Annual Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds. The bear weighed in at 592 pounds and had a skull score of 31 9/16 inch. The old record that Dove replaced had a score of 31 2/16 inches. The previous largest harvested bear was also taken in Rockingham County.

Dove had a life size mount at the contest on Sunday. From


numbnutz's picture

Congrats on the fine bear. a

Congrats on the fine bear. a 592lbs black bear is a true monster for sure and one that any hunter would be proud of.  I would love to see a bear like that while out hunting, I always have a bear tag in my pocket but haven't really just focused on bears alone. I plan on it later this month and can only dream of seeing a trophy like that. From what i understand Virginia doesn't have a huge poulation of bears but this is a great animal from that part of the states. Again congrats on your success. Now if you can only top that one.

raventex85's picture

Fantastic BEAR sire!

First let me say that you not only deserve this bear, but many more to come. You have spent a life time hunting bears and you have more then paid your way! Great job and god bless with lots of luck for future hunts!

I've been huntig black bear for three years and have let over twenty shot opportunities pass. I had choosen four bears out of thirty four at my bait that I would be willing to take. When the one I called "the Old-Man" cornered me against a tree and spent the past two years following me as I deer hunt... I decided he would be the one for me. I was able to get a shot at him on Monday September 5th. He came to total 410lbs live, 352lbs dressed and was over 7 feet tall. I know he is no record breaker, but he's my first bear and the one I've wanted for 3 years.

ndemiter's picture

i know how to fix this

i know how to fix this shortage of big game kills Vermonster. Get yourself a non-res muzzle loader tag, and come hunt the rifle season out here in Kansas. Bring the doe licenses and we'll put some stuff on the ground!!! or just plan on it next year!


And way to go for hanging in there for 20 years after your bear! but, you know, i have a cousin that went 11 years without getting a single deer. but that was because he spent more time drinking and whoring than he did hunting when we'd go down to deer camp. when he gave up the booze, he started killing deer. hope it's not the same kind of situation.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Wow, talk about

Wow, talk about perserverence!  To stick with it for 20 years, and finally get your bear?  That's commitment.  And, to shoot a state record bear as your first one?  The infortunate thing will be that next year he'll shoot "only a 200 pounder" and think it's small lol

The only negative about this story is that it scares me.  I have been 10 years without a big game kill, and I don't want to think I could go another 10 years without getting one.  Heck, I absolutely love just getting out in the woods, but that is overdoing it a little.

Congrats to the guy!  A great story for sure!

Retired2hunt's picture

Outstanding First!


What an outstanding first achievement!  That is a fantastic bear and an excellent full mount!  And he didn't give up in 20 years.  That is a hunter.  What I like here too is that he had his son and 7 year old grandson hunting with him.  Doing so and harvesting this great trophy shows these two children that perseverance does get rewarded. My bear dream hunt (with filled tag) only gets stronger when I read an article like this. 



SGM's picture

Wow what a great way to get

Wow what a great way to get your fist bear but he sure did paid his dues in getting it. My first bear hunt will be in 2012 up in Idaho and though I do not expect anything that big I sure hope to fill the tags and not wait 20 years. Congratulations to Mr. Dove on his trophy.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Congrats to the hunter on a

Congrats to the hunter on a truly awesome black bear.  Nothing like going from nothing at all to geting your name in the record book.  I can say that I would love to get my first bill elk that way.  Maybe not a world record but maybe atleast make to P&Y or B&C.  Again congrats to the hunter...hopefully he will not have to wait another 20 years for a another bear.

hunter25's picture

Congratulations to this guy

Congratulations to this guy on a great bear. It looks like the wait was worth the reward this time. I have seen very few bear myself where I hunt so as of yet I have not even purchased a license. I guess I better start if it's going to take that long to get one filled though. 

I would be happy to get started with one half that size if I ever get the chance.