DNR PRESS RELEASE

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hunters in West Virginia harvested 3,160 black bears during the combined 2017 archery and firearms seasons, which is the second highest recorded bear kill in state history.

 

Due to more abundant mast production in 2017, the Division of Natural Resources expected a decrease in the archery harvest and an increase in the December firearms harvest compared to 2016. While both predictions held true, the harvest count for the 2017 seasons increased 5 percent over the 3,012 bears killed in 2016. This is the third straight year the black bear harvest has topped 3,000.

 

“Historically, an abundance of mast makes bears harder for archers to target, yet leads to a large December firearms harvest,” said Colin Carpenter, DNR’s Black Bear Project leader. “Mast abundance delays denning and keeps bears available to hunters for both the buck-gun and December firearms seasons.”

 

Hunters killed 612 bears during the first segment of the 2017 archery season (Sept. 30 – Nov. 19). Hunters harvested 327 bears with vertical bows and 285 with crossbows. The top five counties for archery harvest were Nicholas (53), Randolph (45), Fayette (43), Mercer (38) and Preston (38).

 

Firearms hunters harvested 2,548 bears in 2017. Hunters took 623 bears in September and October, 678 during the concurrent buck-gun bear season, and 1,247 during the traditional December season. The top five counties for firearms harvest were Randolph (224), Webster (210), Pocahontas (204), Pendleton (193) and Nicholas (187).

 

“The addition of early bear seasons and the buck-gun season over the past 10 years has helped decrease the influence of mast crops on total harvest,” Carpenter said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEAR HARVEST
CountyBow/CrossbowSept/Oct GunBuck GunDecemberTotal
Barbour119231319
Brooke00000
Hancock00000
Harrison10203
Marion00011
Marshall00112
Monongalia30014
Ohio00000
Preston38173244131
Taylor40408
Tucker13312074138
Wetzel00112
Dist. 1 Subtotal705783135308
Berkeley10113
Grant12192571127
Hampshire14040559
Hardy15202273130
Jefferson40105
Mineral5371126
Morgan00606
Pendleton134239112206
Dist. 2 Subtotal6484141273562
Braxton128253176
Clay5983355
Lewis2011114
Nicholas53365695240
Pocahontas145431119218
Randolph457918127269
Upshur610131847
Webster285937114238
Dist. 3 Subtotal1652551995381157
Fayette4316428109
Greenbrier37314084192
McDowell342523798
Mercer38013354
Monroe2213172173
Raleigh2018281985
Summers16019035
Wyoming213611472
Dist. 4 Subtotal231139162186718
Boone25384448155
Cabell00000
Kanawha21152745108
Lincoln10113
Logan152151556
Mason00000
Mingo9141428
Putnam00000
Wayne10124
Dist. 5 Subtotal728879115354
Calhoun30205
Doddridge10203
Gilmer10607
Jackson00000
Pleasants00000
Ritchie30003
Roane00000
Tyler00000
Wirt10405
Wood10001
Dist. 6 Subtotal10014024
State Total61262367812473160

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