Bear Hunters Association contributes to DNR Wildlife Research

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The West Virginia Bear Hunters Association has continued its long-standing support of the Division of Natural Resources through a financial contribution, according to Frank Jezioro, Director of the Division of Natural Resources. The money will be specifically used on West Virginia 's black bear research and monitoring project.

“The West Virginia Bear Hunters Association has continually supported black bear research and monitoring efforts through the collection of biological data, assisting biologists in field research, and with financial contributions,” Jezioro said. “We are very glad to work with the sportsmen of the state like the West Virginia Bear Hunters Association.”

Data from the exploited black bear population are essential to ensure proper management of the black bear resource. Public concern has created highly published controversy concerning bear management and hunting seasons in certain states. Many states have had to alter hunting proposals due to public input and opinion instead of sound biological data. In the late 1960s West Virginia DNR began research on the black bear population to collect demographic data, along with various other aspects of black bear biology, to ensure that sound biological data would be the basis for black bear management in West Virginia , according to Christopher W. Ryan, Black Bear Project Leader.

DNR is now involved in a long-term monitoring and research project that has two study areas. The northern study area is located in the mountain counties of Randolph, Tucker, and parts of Grant, Barbour, and Webster. The southern study area is located in Kanawha, Boone, Fayette, and Raleigh counties. The data supplied by this project give biologists reliable estimates of survival rates, mortality causes, reproductive data, age structure, and provide other useful information such as denning dates, nuisance bear behavior, and morphological data to better manage West Virginia 's black bears.

“DNR is extremely happy to have the help of the West Virginia Bear Hunters Association and we thank them for their continuing support,” added Ryan. “Hunters are one of the key role players in proper wildlife management and their support of wildlife research and monitoring projects further demonstrate their willingness to assist DNR. Helping the Wildlife Resources Section collect bear teeth for aging and reproductive tracts for demographic data has always been a way that the West Virginia Bear Hunters Association has shown its support, and this additional financial contribution only reinforces their commitment to the resource.”