From the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
-- West Virginia hunters harvested a record 2,064 black bears during the combined 2008 archery and firearms seasons, according to Chris Ryan, Black Bear Project Leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The preliminary harvest data for the combined seasons in 2008 was 14 percent higher than the previous record of 1,804 established in 2007.
“Numerous factors contributed to this record bear harvest,” said Ryan. “West Virginia has a tremendous bear population that allows for a variety of different hunting opportunities. The expansion and increase in the bear population has led to the extension of hunting seasons designed to keep counties in line with their management objectives. With the cooperation of hunters, wildlife managers can maintain and/or adjust bear populations to desired management levels by implementing appropriate hunting regulations.
Hunters took 477 bears during the 2008 archery season. The top five counties were Randolph (56), Nicholas (37), Preston (36), Webster (32), and McDowell (24).
Firearms hunters took a record harvest of 1,587 bears during 2008. Hunters took 670 bears during the September season. Top five counties were Pendleton (72), Randolph (66), Hardy (62), Pocahontas (60) and Greenbrier (52). Hunters took 109 bears during the concurrent buck gun season. Top five counties were Kanawha (32), Raleigh (27), Boone (25), Fayette (24) and Monongalia (1). Hunters took 808 during the traditional December season. The top five counties were Pocahontas (128), Greenbrier (105), Pendleton (102), Randolph (76), and Webster (68).