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Two black bear may be taken during the archery season or firearms season, or one each in the archery and firearms seasons combined provided that at least one bear must be taken in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh or Wyoming counties. No person may take more than one bear per day.
To hunt black bear, hunters must possess one of the following
valid license combinations: resident license (Classes X+DS,
Classes XJ+DS, Class XS, Classes AB-L+DS, Classes A-L+DS,
or Classes A+CS+DS+BG); or a free license (Military, Disabled
Veteran, former POW, Senior Citizen or Class DT); or nonresident
license (Classes EE+DS+CS/LE or Class DT). Underage residents
and resident landowners (see page 9) hunting on their own
land may hunt bear without a license. Class DT license holders
must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or, with written
consent of the parent or guardian, any other competent
Additional licenses must be purchased:
It is illegal to:
These penalties are not subject to suspension by the court.
$1,000 to $5,000 fine or 30 to 100 days in jail, or both. Also includes suspension of hunting and fishing licenses for two years.
$2,000 to $7,000 fine or 30 days to one year in jail, or both. Also includes suspension of hunting and fishing licenses for life.
FELONY - $5,000 to $10,000 fine or one to five years in prison, or both.
Each person killing a bear must attach a completed field tag to the bear or remain with the bear and have upon their person a completed field tag before moving the carcass from where it was killed. A person who does not have a tag must make one. This tag must bear the hunter’s name, address, hunting license number (if required) and the date, time and county of kill. Immediately upon arriving at a residence, camp, hunting lodge, vehicle or vessel, the field tag shall be attached to the bear and must remain on the carcass until it is tagged with an official game checking tag.
A person killing a bear must, within 24 hours after the kill, transport the bear or its fresh skin to a Natural Resource Police officer or an official game checking station for retagging. A checking tag must be affixed to the bear before any part of it may be transported more than 75 miles from the point of kill, and shall remain on the skin until it is tanned or mounted.
No person may transport or possess wildlife killed by another
hunter, unless the wildlife or parts thereof is accompanied by a
paper tag filled out legibly bearing the signature, address, date
of kill, hunting license number (if required) and the official game
checking tag number (if required) of the hunter who killed the
The same licenses required for bear hunting are required for the training of dogs on bear.
Training for nonresidents is permitted during any open small game season.
The DNR is currently studying factors related to the productivity and mortality of black bears in West Virginia. As part of this research effort, radio collars, ear tags and lip tattoos have been placed on a number of bears. Anyone observing a bear wearing a radio collar or ear tag is asked to report the number of the tag (if obtainable) to the DNR. Hunters who harvest a bear with a radio collar and/or ear tag should return this equipment to the DNR.
Successful bear hunters can contribute to this research effort by either pulling or allowing a small tooth or two to be pulled and submitted to the bear project. Hunters pulling a bear tooth should refer to the accompanying diagram.
Use a screwdriver to pry out the teeth located just in back of the large canines as shown. This is difficult to do without breaking the roots, so work slowly.
Each bear’s tooth (or teeth) pulled should be taped to an index card, placed in a small envelope and labeled with the hunters name, county of kill, bear weight, sex and check tag number and dropped off at an official game checking station or mailed to the DNR at: Elkins Operation Center, PO Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241. After processing the tooth, the DNR will provide you with the age of the animal. If you do not collect a tooth, please contact the appropriate District DNR office to make arrangements for a tooth to be collected prior to processing the bear or disposing of the skull.
A tagged bear may have been tranquilized. Please contact the District Wildlife Biologist prior to consumption of meat.
WV Wildlife Biologists are continuing to collect female bear reproductive tracts. Information from these tracts, as well as a premolar tooth from each bear, will reveal such data as breeding ages of females, number of cubs produced, age structure of the female population and reproductive success. Please help us obtain as much information as possible by following the outlined procedures. You may call any District DNR office or the Elkins Operations Center for assistance.
District 1: (304) 825-6787
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© 2003 West Virginia Division of Natural Resources