DNR PRESS RELEASE

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hunters in West Virginia harvested 3,099 black bears during the combined 2019 archery and firearms seasons. The preliminary harvest for the combined 2019 seasons is 19% above the 2,606 bears killed in 2018. The black bear harvest of 2019 is the third highest bear kill ever recorded. The West Virginia black bear harvest has exceeded 3,000 in four of the last five years.

“When looking at all mast species combined, mast production in 2019 was 12% above mast production in 2018 and 6% above the long–term average,” said Colin Carpenter, DNR black bear project leader. “In addition, the mast index for all oak species in 2019 was up 20% over 2018, but still 8% below the long-term average. Red oak/black oak (+341%), scarlet oak (+228%) and black cherry (+51%) production increased significantly over levels recorded in 2018. White oak (-63%), chestnut oak (-54%) and hickory (-16%) production decreased significantly over 2018 levels.

“Historically, abundant mast yields a decreased bow/crossbow harvest and an increased December firearms harvest. The 2019 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook predicted an increased bow/crossbow harvest compared to 2018 and a decreased December firearms harvest over the levels observed in 2018 because total mast production was considered average.

“The prediction held true for both the bow/crossbow and December seasons and the overall harvest was much higher than 2018,” Carpenter said. “However, the excellent bow/crossbow harvest and decreased December firearms harvest demonstrated the scattered nature of mast production in 2019. Overall, the 2019 harvest increased during the September/October and bow/crossbow seasons and decreased during the buck-gun and December seasons.”

Hunters killed 966 bears during the first segment of the 2019 bow/crossbow season (Sept. 28 to Nov. 24). Hunters harvested 511 bears with vertical bows, 455 with crossbows. The top five counties were Fayette (106), Nicholas (58), McDowell (55), Webster (48) and Greenbrier (47).

Firearms hunters harvested 2,133 bears during 2019. Hunters took 881 bears in September and October (50 bears during the concurrent antlerless deer/bear season), 498 during the concurrent buck-gun bear season and 754 during the traditional December season. No bears were harvested during the Mountaineer Heritage Season in January. The top five counties were Randolph (201), Pendleton (162), Nicholas (156) and Boone (132).

 

 

Bears listed for Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties as “Buck Gun” are bow or crossbow kills from 11/25 – 12/7.
Bow/Crossbow refers to bears killed with a bow or crossbow from Sept. 28, 2019-Nov. 24, 2019.All other bow and crossbow kills have been separated based on the seasons in which they were killed.
September/October gun includes bears killed during concurrent antlerless deer/bear season 10/24 – 10/27 (50 bears).

 

BowSept/Oct Buck DecemberMountaineer
CountyCrossbowGunGunFirearmsHeritageTotal
Barbour3112168067
Brooke000000
Hancock000000
Harrison400004
Marion303006
Marshall001001
Monongalia500005
Ohio000000
Preston302520310106
Taylor7050012
Tucker202913460108
Wetzel306009
Dist. I Subtotal1036664850318
Berkeley403108
Grant13201338084
Hampshire212196048
Hardy243417330108
Jefferson9010010
Mineral9527023
Morgan414009
Pendleton206027750182
Dist. II Subtotal104122861600472
Braxton28122513078
Clay24101310057
Lewis103102025
Nicholas587336470214
Pocahontas155017530135
Randolph4110620750242
Upshur171564042
Webster486630490193
Dist. III Subtotal2413351572530986
Fayette1062634150181
Greenbrier474516450153
McDowell55576380156
Mercer28272039
Monroe29251322089
Raleigh43191718097
Summers222101035
Wyoming43282280101
Dist. IV Subtotal3732041051690851
Boone385440380170
Cabell100001
Kanawha343625250120
Lincoln201003
Logan4040018098
Mason000000
Mingo102215038
Putnam000000
Wayne004004
Dist. V Subtotal12515271860434
Calhoun5250012
Doddridge000000
Gilmer403007
Jackson002002
Pleasants000000
Ritchie502007
Roane202004
Tyler000000
Wirt401005
Wood001001
Dist. VI Subtotal202160038
State Total96688149975303099