Submitted
Seth Ruckle of Slatyfork, W.Va.took this bear on November 8th with a bow while deer hunting at the bottom of Snowshoe Mountain on private property.

DNR Press Release

BECKLEY, W.Va. — West Virginia hunters harvested 2,606 black bears during the combined 2018 archery and firearms seasons. The preliminary harvest for the combined 2018 seasons is 18 percent below the 3,160 bears killed in 2017, but is the sixth highest bear kill recorded, according to Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

 

Hunters killed 637 bears during the first segment of the 2018 archery season (Sept. 29 – Nov. 18). Bow hunters killed 374 bears, while crossbow hunters took 263. The top five counties were McDowell (54), Wyoming (49), Fayette (34), Nicholas (33) and Boone (29).

 

Firearms hunters harvested 1,969 bears during 2018. Hunters took 565 bears in September and October, including 18 bears during the concurrent antlerless deer/bear season. They took 537 bears during the concurrent buck/bear firearms season and 866 during the traditional December season. One bear was killed in Preston County during the first Mountaineer Heritage Season (Jan. 10 – 13, 2019). The top five counties were Pocahontas (166), Randolph (143), Nicholas (142), Pendleton (126) and Webster (125).

 

“When looking at all mast species combined, mast production in 2018 was 22 percent below mast production in 2017,” Carpenter said. “In addition, the mast index for all oak species in 2018 was 24 percent below the long-term average. Historically, a scarcity of mast makes bears easier for archers to target, but these conditions encourage earlier denning and makes fewer bears available for hunters during both the buck firearms and December bear firearms seasons.”

 

Red oak, black oak and scarlet oak production decreased 64 percent from levels recorded in 2017. White oak production was nearly identical to 2017 and 42 percent above the long-term average, while chestnut oak was 10 percent above the long-term average.

 

“The 2018 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook predicted an archery harvest similar to 2017 and a decreased December firearms harvest over the levels observed in 2017,” Carpenter said. “The prediction held true for both the archery and December seasons; however, the overall bear harvest was lower than 2017. The 2018 bear harvest declined during the September/October, buck firearms and December seasons, yet increased during the bow/crossbow season.”

 

 

 

 

2018 WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEAR HARVEST
BowSept/OctBuckDecemberMountaineer
CountyCrossbowGunGunFirearmsHeritageTotal
Barbour152148039
Brooke000000
Hancock001001
Harrison601007
Marion100001
Marshall000000
Monongalia304108
Ohio000000
Preston2871736189
Taylor8030011
Tucker1928448099
Wetzel106007
Dist. 1 Subtotal813750931262
Berkeley003003
Grant10112143085
Hampshire101294044
Hardy102323570113
Jefferson412007
Mineral145511035
Morgan401106
Pendleton135017590139
Dist. 2 Subtotal65911011750432
Braxton166269057
Clay761734064
Lewis10063019
Nicholas334028740175
Pocahontas936181120175
Randolph265516720169
Upshur10649029
Webster315124500156
Dist. 3 Subtotal1422001393630844
Fayette341540170106
Greenbrier172931620139
McDowell54307140105
Mercer25142032
Monroe21132615075
Raleigh2720235075
Summers201102033
Wyoming4927616098
Dist. 4 Subtotal2471361471330663
Boone293037260122
Cabell000000
Kanawha181941410119
Lincoln301105
Logan2038128087
Mason100001
Mingo181406038
Putnam000000
Wayne100001
Dist. 5 Subtotal90101801020373
Calhoun201003
Doddridge000000
Gilmer5080013
Jackson000000
Pleasants000000
Ritchie004004
Roane302005
Tyler002002
Wirt103004
Wood100001
Dist. 6 Subtotal120200032
State Total63756553786612606
Bears listed for Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties as “Buck Gun” are bow or
crossbow kills from 11/19 – 12/2.
Bow/Crossbow refers to bears killed with a bow or crossbow from September 29, 2018
November 18, 2018.  All other bow and crossbow kills have been separated based on the
seasons in which they were killed.
Sept/Oct gun includes bears killed during concurrent antlerless deer/bear season
10/25 – 10/28 (18 bears).

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