West Virginia early bear hunting opportunities
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Early black bear gun hunting, with or without dogs, is available in four counties from September 3-11 and will open up in five additional counties on Oct. 1.
The counties open to bear hunting with or without dogs from Sept. 3-11 include Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming. The counties open for bear hunting with or without dogs from Oct. 1-7 include Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas and Raleigh.
“Counties that will be open for early bear hunting are above their management objective and need additional bears harvested to achieve their goal,” Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources said. “The benefit of early seasons is that all bears are available because den entrance is still two or more months away.
Carpenter notes that hunters in the first season should focus on finding fresh bear signs near black cherry trees that have fruit. Bears change their feeding patterns throughout the year, so Carpenter noted that hunters in the second season should look for fresh bear signs near white oak, as bears feed heavily in white oak stands.
Bear Premolar Submission Requirement
Successful hunters are required to submit a premolar tooth from each harvested bear. In addition, hunters who harvest a female black bear are encouraged to save the reproductive tract or all the entrails. Hunters who submit a complete reproductive tract will be eligible for a $20 gift card. Hunters can get a bear tooth envelope at all district offices and the Elkins Operations Center. Hunters with reproductive tracts or entrails should keep them cool or freeze them and contact their nearest district office to arrange pickup.
Data obtained from tooth samples and reproductive tracts are used for black bear population monitoring. Hunters are reminded to purchase their bear damage stamp as well as an appropriate hunting license. For more information about bear hunting seasons, visit wvdnr.gov or download a copy of the 2021-22 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary. To purchase a West Virginia hunting license, visit wvhunt.com.