Hunters harvested 993 black bears during the 1999 season
in West Virginia, according to Bernie Dowler, chief of the W.Va. Division of
Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Section.
The 1999 harvest was second to the 1998 record of 1,082.
Bowhunters harvested 423 bears, tieing the 1997 record. The
top five counties in bow harvests were Randolph (73), Tucker (38), Webster (36),
Nicholas (35) and Kanawha (32).
Gun hunters harvested 570 bears in 1999, the second highest
gun harvest on record. The top five counties in gun harvests were Greenbrier
(95), Pocahontas (89), Nicholas (70), Randolph (62) and Tucker (45).
Dowler attributed the fluctuations to poor mast conditions.
"The poor mast conditions caused bears to travel greater
distances to find food, making them more susceptible to bow hunters,"
"However, the poor mast conditions that make bears more
susceptible early in the season also caused them to enter their dens earlier.
Therefore, the gun harvest was down slightly from 1998."
"With the growth of the bear population and the
expansion into nontraditional range, the future looks bright for bears and bear
hunting in West Virginia."