Joe Riffenberger, the father of black bear research in West Virginia, came to the conclusion if the bear season was delayed until December it would enable pregnant females to go to den before hunters had access to them. Riffenberger reached that conclusion after years of traipsing around the West Virginia mountains and studying the reproductive habits of the state’s bear population.
Joe’s idea has worked like gangbusters, the bear population in the Mountain State has never been stronger. As a matter of fact, the effort has worked so well, there are now considerations being made to reduce the bear numbers.
The DNR continues its bear project with constant research and monitoring of bears with radio transmitter collars, tattoos, and ear tags. Biologist pay regular visits to bear dens to check on radio collared sows to check on their health and whether they are producing cubs.
During March, I tagged along on one of these routine den visits to learn more about the work. My six-year old daughter Savannah joined me for the day. Click the icon above to hear Savannah‘s account of what happened during her West Virginia bear adventure.