Special Black Bear Gun Season

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A special firearms season for black bear hunting without dogs will run concurrently with the first week of the 2002 buck gun season (November 25-30) in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas, Raleigh (west of I-77) counties, according to Paul Johansen, Assistant Chief in Charge of Game Management for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Section.

"This is the first time in Mountain State history that concurrent bear hunting during buck season will occur," said Johansen. "The bear populations in these counties have greatly expanded during the past 10 years, and this area has received many nuisance complaints. The objectives during the special hunt are to stabilize and even reduce bear numbers in particular locales and, hopefully, hunting during the antlered deer season will target many of the primary nuisance offenders."

DNR biologists are conducting an intensive study on black bears in southern West Virginia. Many bears have been captured and marked within the study area. Hunters should report any tags, radio collars, or lip-tattooed bears to their DNR District Wildlife offices in Beckley, French Creek, and McClintic or contact the 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 biologists collect female reproductive tracts," stated Johansen. "We have received excellent cooperation from hunters. More than 60% of bears harvested last year had teeth pulled, and our biologists collected reproductive information from 75 sows in 2001."

Please consult the 2002-2003 Hunting and Trapping Regulations for counties and dates of the traditional bear seasons during December, which are available at all license agents, DNR offices, or by visiting the DNR hunting Web site at www.wvhunt.com . Hunters are reminded that they must purchase the $4 bear damage stamp in addition to their license prior to pursuing bears in West Virginia.