Monday will mark the opening day of the traditional bear hunting season in West Virginia. It's a season specifically set late in the fall to enable black bears which are bred with cubs to be safety in the den and out of the way of hunters and their hounds.

Bear numbers in West Virginia have become so robust, the season has been increasingly liberalized to enable more bear hunting. Three weeks of early season were specifically aimed at population reductions-since at that time all bears were available including the pregnant females.

Deer hunters for the two week buck season in many select counties have also had the chance to take a bear as well, which is another effort to reduce those numbers in some parts of the state.

The archery hunting for the black bear has been off considerably, but that was expected in a strong mast year.

The black bear season will close December 31.

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