(01/16/2010)
West Virginia hunters harvested 1,828 black bears during the combined 2009 archery and firearms seasons, according to Chris Ryan, Supervisor of Game Management Services for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

The preliminary harvest data for the combined seasons in 2009 is the second highest harvest on record behind only 2008.

"Multiple factors contributed to this most recent bear harvest," said Ryan.

Ryan continued, "West Virginia has a tremendous bear population that allows for a variety of different hunting opportunities. The poor statewide mast conditions allowed archery hunters to better pattern bear movements as the bruins were looking for concentrated food sources."

"However, poor mast conditions and a larger than normal December snowfall pushed bears into their winter dens, thereby making them unavailable to gun hunters."

Hunters took a record 987 bears during the 2009 archery season. This was the first time in history that the archery harvest topped 800.

Biologists predicted that this would be a record bow harvest because of the statewide mast conditions and the remarkable bear population.

The top five counties were Randolph (118), Webster (92), Nicholas (77), Greenbrier (77), and Preston (73).

Firearms hunters harvested 841 bears during the 2009 combined gun seasons.

Top five counties were Randolph (112), Fayette (86), Pocahontas (74), Pendleton (70), and Raleigh (58).

REGIONAL BEAR KILL:

Braxton: 22 (Bow); 5 (Gun); 27 (Total)

Clay 22 (Bow); 5 (Gun); 27 (Total)

Calhoun: 0

Gilmer: 3 (Bow); 3 (Total)

Ritchie: 2 Bow); 2 (Total)

Roane: 2 (Bow); 2 (Total)

Wirt: 3 (Bow); 3 (Total)


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