West Virginia bear firearms season to open Nov. 21

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West Virginia bear firearms season to open Nov. 21
A black bear pauses to investigate a photographer in West Virginia. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The next segment of West Virginia’s 2022 firearms season for hunting black bears opens Nov. 21 in 36 counties and parts of six other counties.

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The season runs concurrently with the buck firearms and antlerless deer seasons through Dec. 4. Only bear hunting without dogs is permitted during the season, according to Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Carpenter says hunters are reminded to purchase their bear damage stamp and an appropriate hunting license to participate in this season. To purchase a West Virginia hunting license, visit WVhunt.com.

“Concurrent bear and deer hunting provides a unique opportunity for hunters who want to get the most out of West Virginia’s incredible hunting seasons,” Carpenter said.

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“White oak and chestnut oak were the most abundant mast crops this year, which means that black bears and deer will be feeding on acorns at the same places, giving hunters a good chance of harvesting either species.”

Bear hunting opportunities will continue after the buck firearms season. All or parts of 26 counties will be open for bear hunting with or without dogs from Dec. 5-31. All or parts of 35 counties will be open for bear hunting without dogs from Dec. 5-31.


Black Bear Premolar and Reproductive Tract Submission

Hunters are reminded that they are required to send a first premolar tooth from each harvested bear to the WVDNR Elkins Operations Center or their local district office by Jan. 31. Hunters who harvest a female black bear are encouraged to save the reproductive tract and entrails.

Hunters who harvest a female black bear should save the reproductive tracts or entrails by keeping them cool or freezing them and contact the closest WVDNR district office to arrange a pickup. Hunters who submit a complete reproductive tract will be eligible for a $20 gift card.

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Hunters can get a bear tooth envelope at all district offices and the Elkins Operations Center. For instructions on submitting a bear tooth, check page 37 in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available to download at WVdnr.gov/hunting-regulations.

Data obtained from tooth samples and reproductive tracts are used for black bear population monitoring. For more information about bear hunting seasons, visit WVdnr.gov.

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