Record Bow Bear Hunt; Firearms Bear Hunt Down

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West Virginia bear archery hunters set a new record during the 2001 bear archery season, according to Curtis Taylor, Chief of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Section. Archery hunters took 463 bears during the bow season, and this surpasses the previous record harvest of 424 that was established in 1999.

Bear firearms hunters harvested 781 animals during the 2001 bear gun season. This figure is 24% below the record bear firearms harvest of 1,024 set in 2000.

A total of 1,244 bears was harvested during the combined bear archery and firearms seasons. This combined harvest is 6% below the record 1,328 bears that were taken in 2000. Randolph County led the state with a combined archery and firearms harvest of 176 bears.

The top five bear archery hunting counties were: Randolph (77), Webster (55), Nicholas (40), Greenbrier (37) and Preston (28).

The top five bear firearms hunting counties were: Greenbrier (116), Webster (104), Randolph (99), Nicholas (96) and Pocahontas (86).

"This year's total bear harvest of 1,244 ranks as the second highest harvest recorded in the state, and it is an indication of a healthy, expanding bruin population," Taylor said. "The future for bears and bear hunting remains bright in West Virginia."