Special November Black Bear Gun Season

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A special firearms season for black bear hunting will be held in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha and Raleigh counties, according to Chris Ryan, Black Bear Project Leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Section. Hunters may use dogs during the November 1-6, 2004 portion of the season and may not use dogs during the November 22-27, 2004 section of the season that runs concurrently with the first week of buck season.

“This is the third year that there will be a special bear season in selected southern counties,” said Ryan. "The bear populations in these counties have greatly expanded during the past 10 years, and this area continues to receive many nuisance complaints. The objectives during the special hunt are to stabilize and even reduce bear numbers in particular locales. An earlier gun season should help to achieve these goals."

DNR wildlife biologists are conducting an intensive study on black bears in West Virginia. Nearly 400 adult bears have been captured and marked within the southern study area of Boone, Fayette, Kanawha and Raleigh counties during the past few years. Hunters should report any tags, radio collars or lip-tattooed bears to DNR offices located in Beckley, French Creek, Point Pleasant or Charleston Headquarters. The current Black Bear Research Project will allow DNR officials to ascertain the effectiveness of the hunt, establish population data and monitor mortality of nuisance versus wild bears.

“Successful bear hunters can contribute to our bear management efforts by allowing a tooth to be pulled for aging purposes and helping wildlife biologists collect female reproductive tracts," stated Ryan. "We have received excellent cooperation from hunters in the past. More than 60 percent of bears harvested last year had teeth pulled, and wildlife biologists collected reproductive information from many sows in 2003. Hunters should note that it is extremely important to collect teeth from a representative sample of bears no matter how large the bear. The age of each bearwill be determined and reported to the hunter after the aging process."

Resident hunters are reminded that they must purchase the $4 bear damage stamp in addition to their hunting license prior to pursuing bears in West Virginia. Nonresident hunters are required to purchase a separate nonresident bear hunting license in addition to the bear damage stamp. These licenses may be purchased from license agents or online at www.wvhunt.com.

Please consult the 2004-2005 Hunting and Trapping Regulations for a complete summary of the bear hunting seasons, which are available at all license agents, DNR offices, or by visiting the DNR Web site at www.wvdnr.gov.