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West Virginia hunters harvest 3,160 black bears in 2017

The Free Press WV

Hunters in West Virginia harvested 3,160 black bears during the combined 2017 archery and firearms seasons, which is the second highest recorded bear kill in state history.

Due to more abundant mast production in 2017, the Division of Natural Resources expected a decrease in the archery harvest and an increase in the December firearms harvest compared to 2016. While both predictions held true, the harvest count for the 2017 seasons increased 5 percent over the 3,012 bears killed in 2016. This is the third straight year the black bear harvest has topped 3,000.

“Historically, an abundance of mast makes bears harder for archers to target, yet leads to a large December firearms harvest,” said Colin Carpenter, DNR’s Black Bear Project leader. “Mast abundance delays denning and keeps bears available to hunters for both the buck-gun and December firearms seasons.”

Hunters killed 612 bears during the first segment of the 2017 archery season (Sept. 30 – Nov. 19). Hunters harvested 327 bears with vertical bows and 285 with crossbows. The top five counties for archery harvest were Nicholas (53), Randolph (45), Fayette (43), Mercer (38) and Preston (38).

Firearms hunters harvested 2,548 bears in 2017. Hunters took 623 bears in September and October, 678 during the concurrent buck-gun bear season, and 1,247 during the traditional December season. The top five counties for firearms harvest were Randolph (224), Webster (210), Pocahontas (204), Pendleton (193) and Nicholas (187).

“The addition of early bear seasons and the buck-gun season over the past 10 years has helped decrease the influence of mast crops on total harvest,“ Carpenter said.

2017 WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEAR HARVEST

County

Bow/Crossbow

September/October Gun

Buck Gun

December

Total

Barbour

11

9

23

13

56 

Brooke

0

0

0

0

0

Hancock

0

0

0

0

0

Harrison

1

0

2

0

3

Marion

0

0

0

1

1

Marshall

0

0

1

1

2

Monongalia

3

0

0

1

4

Ohio

0

0

0

0

0

Preston

38

17

32

44

131

Taylor

4

0

4

0

8

Tucker

13

31

20

74

138

Wetzel

0

0

1

1

2

District 1 Subtotal

70

57

83

135

345

Berkeley

1

0

1

1

3

Grant

12

19

25

71

127

Hampshire

14

0

40

5

59

Hardy

15

20

22

73

130

Jefferson

4

0

1

0

5

Mineral

5

3

7

11

26

Morgan

0

0

6

0

6

Pendleton

13

42

39

112

206

District 2 Subtotal

64

84

141

273

562

Braxton

12

8

25

31

76

Clay

5

9

8

33

55

Lewis

2

0

11

1

14

Nicholas

53

36

56

95

240

Pocahontas

14

54

31

119

218

Randolph

45

79

18

127

269

Upshur

6

10

13

18

47

Webster

28

59

37

114

238

District 3 Subtotal

165

255

199

538

1157

Fayette

43

16

42

8

109

Greenbrier

37

31

40

84

192

McDowell

34

25

2

37

98

Mercer

38

0

13

3

54

Monroe

22

13

17

21

73

Raleigh

20

18

28

19

85

Summers

16

0

19

0

35

Wyoming

21

36

1

14

72

District 4 Subtotal

231

139

162

186

718

Boone

25

38

44

48

155

Cabell

0

0

0

0

0

Kanawha

21

15

27

45

108

Lincoln

1

0

1

1

3

Logan

15

21

5

15

56

Mason

0

0

0

0

0

Mingo

9

14

1

4

28

Putnam

0

0

0

0

0

Wayne

1

0

1

2

4

District 5 Subtotal

72

88

79

115

354

Calhoun

3

0

2

0

5

Doddridge

1

0

2

0

3

Gilmer

1

0

6

0

7

Jackson

0

0

0

0

0

Pleasants

0

0

0

0

0

Ritchie

3

0

0

0

3

Roane

0

0

0

0

0

Tyler

0

0

0

0

0

Wirt

1

0

4

0

5

Wood

1

0

0

0

1

District 6 Subtotal

10

0

14

0

24

State Total

612

623

678

1247

3160

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