Early bear gun seasons launch in September in W.Va.

Early bear gun seasons launch in September in W.Va.
Black bear are now found in all 55 West Virginia counties. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Early black bear gun hunting, with or without dogs, is available in four counties from September 3-11, 2022, and will open up in five additional counties on October 1, according to the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources.


Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the division, said an excess population of the species has been documented in all of the areas in which hunting is being permitted.

“Counties that will be open for early bear hunting are above their management objective and need additional bears harvested to achieve their goal,” Carpenter said.

“The benefit of these early seasons is that bears are more available because den entrance is still two or more months away."


The counties open to bear hunting with or without dogs from September 3-11 include Logan, McDowell, Mingo, and Wyoming.

The counties open for bear hunting with or without dogs from October 1-7 include Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Raleigh.

Carpenter notes that hunters in the first season should focus on finding fresh bear signs near black cherry trees with 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.


Black 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 and 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 .


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