WV DNR News Release
5

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Stephen S. McDaniel, Director

News Release: January 31, 2020

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Media Contact: Andy Malinoski, 304-553-9305, Andy.E.Malinoski@wv.gov

Contact:

Colin Carpenter, Wildlife Resources Section, (304) 256-6947, Colin.P.Carpenter@wv.gov

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), Webster (145) and Boone (132).

###

 

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).