Black Bear

West Virginia hunters harvest 3,099 black bears in 2019

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).

Related social media hashtags: #wvdnr #wvhunt #wvfish

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 Bow Sept/Oct    Buck    December    Mountaineer  

County Crossbow Gun Gun Firearms Heritage Total
Barbour 31 12 16 8 0 67
Brooke 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hancock 0 0 0 0 0 0
Harrison 4 0 0 0 0 4
Marion 3 0 3 0 0 6
Marshall 0 0 1 0 0 1
Monongalia 5 0 0 0 0 5
Ohio 0 0 0 0 0 0
Preston 30 25 20 31 0 106
Taylor 7 0 5 0 0 12
Tucker 20 29 13 46 0 108
Wetzel 3 0 6 0 0 9

Dist. I Subtotal 103 66 64 85 0 318
Berkeley 4 0 3 1 0 8
Grant 13 20 13 38 0 84
Hampshire 21 2 19 6 0 48
Hardy 24 34 17 33 0 108
Jefferson 9 0 1 0 0 10
Mineral 9 5 2 7 0 23
Morgan 4 1 4 0 0 9
Pendleton 20 60 27 75 0 182

Dist. II Subtotal 104 122 86 160 0 472
Braxton 28 12 25 13 0 78
Clay 24 10 13 10 0 57
Lewis 10 3 10 2 0 25
Nicholas 58 73 36 47 0 214
Pocahontas 15 50 17 53 0 135
Randolph 41 106 20 75 0 242
Upshur 17 15 6 4 0 42
Webster 48 66 30 49 0 193

Dist. III Subtotal 241 335 157 253 0 986
Fayette 106 26 34 15 0 181
Greenbrier 47 45 16 45 0 153
McDowell 55 57 6 38 0 156
Mercer 28 2 7 2 0 39
Monroe 29 25 13 22 0 89
Raleigh 43 19 17 18 0 97
Summers 22 2 10 1 0 35
Wyoming 43 28 2 28 0 101

Dist. IV Subtotal 373 204 105 169 0 851
Boone 38 54 40 38 0 170
Cabell 1 0 0 0 0 1
Kanawha 34 36 25 25 0 120
Lincoln 2 0 1 0 0 3
Logan 40 40 0 18 0 98
Mason 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mingo 10 22 1 5 0 38
Putnam 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wayne 0 0 4 0 0 4

Dist. V Subtotal 125 152 71 86 0 434
Calhoun 5 2 5 0 0 12
Doddridge 0 0 0 0 0 0
Gilmer 4 0 3 0 0 7
Jackson 0 0 2 0 0 2
Pleasants 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ritchie 5 0 2 0 0 7
Roane 2 0 2 0 0 4
Tyler 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wirt 4 0 1 0 0 5
Wood 0 0 1 0 0 1

Dist. VI Subtotal 20 2 16 0 0 38
State Total 966 881 499 753 0 3099
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).

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