• Black bear archery and crossbow season is Sept. 30December 31, 2023.  
  • Black bear gun seasonsA special September and October bear firearms season and a bear firearms season running concurrent with the deer firearms season will again be in place for 2023.  There are no permit only counties for any bear firearms season in 2023. Additionally, a concurrent antlerless deer and bear season will take place on private and public land in 42 counties, or parts thereof, from October 26-29.  Please consult the 2023-2024 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for additional details.
  • Black bear gun season includes Sunday closing days. Please consult the 2023-2024 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for additional details.
  • A legislative rule was approved during the 2016 legislative session which requires all successful bear hunters to submit a first premolar tooth to the DNR by January 31 of the year following the harvest.

Q. As a WV resident, do I need any license to bear hunt on my own property?

No, but if you decide to hunt on your neighbor’s property (private or public), you need the appropriate hunting licenses.

This depends on the county you want to hunt in. Please check pages 39-40 of the 2023-24 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

Q. If I want to bear hunt on Nathaniel Mountain or Short Mountain WMAsam I required to apply for a permit? 

No. The special permit season for bear dog hunters was discontinued in 2016.

Q. What are the bag and season limits on black bears?

The daily bag limit is one (1) bear per day with a season bag limit of two (2) bears, provided at least one (1) bear comes from Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Nicholas, Raleigh, or Wyoming counties.

Yes, 42 counties will have a bear season during the buck firearms season on both public and private land where prior application for a permit is not required.  All bear hunters must possess a Bear Damage Stamp (DS) to hunt bears, except hunters exempt from having to purchase one, i.e., resident landowners.

BEAR SEASONS – SPECIAL SPLIT YOUTH/CLASS Q/CLASS XS BEAR SEASON

  • The first segment of the special split Youth/Class Q/Class XS bear season will be open September 16-17, 2023 on public and private lands in all or parts of 26 counties open to bear hunting with or without dogs. Bears may be hunted with or without dogs during this segment.
  • The second segment of the special split Youth/Class Q/Class XS bear season will be open October 21-22, 2023 on public and private lands in the 51 counties open to firearms deer hunting season. The use of dogs is prohibited.
  • See page 36 of the 2023-2024 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

BEAR SEASONS – URBAN ARCHERY/CROSSBOW DEER/BEAR SEASON

• Approved homeowner’s associations, incorporated cities, towns and villages may participate in the Split urban deer/bear archery/crossbow season which runs from Sep. 9 – Dec. 31, 2023 and Jan. 8 – 31, 2024.

• The season bag limit is one (1) bear.

• A DS Stamp is required, except for underage resident and resident landowners hunting on their own land.

Featured Articles

Fishing adventures to help you plan the perfect West Virginia Day

Celebrate West Virginia Day with a fishing trip to a state park lake or scenic float down a warmwater stream West Virginia Day is Thursday, June 20 and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Mountain State’s…

Safe boating practices to help you enjoy West Virginia’s lakes and rivers

Your guide to safe and fun boating adventures in Almost Heaven Whether you’re planning a leisurely day on one of West Virginia’s serene lakes or an adventurous journey down a scenic river, basic boating safety practices can enrich your experience…

5 cabin parks to visit for a fishing trip in June

Popular parks with cabin amenities are perfect places to cast a line and connect with nature If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the constant hustle and bustle of daily life, it might be time to escape to the tranquil beauty of…

Discover the Beauty and Benefits of West Virginia’s Wild Yards Program

Wild Yards improve wildlife habitat, save time and promote natural beauty Do you want to be part of a movement that helps native plants and wildlife thrive and save time and money maintaining your property? The West Virginia Division of…

Summer Fishing Guide: 5 West Virginia Lakes and Streams Worth Exploring

Dive into a summer fishing adventure in #AlmostHeaven With thousands of miles of mountain streams, navigable rivers and numerous lakes and impoundments, West Virginia is a great place to cast a line. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to…

5 life jacket myths that can get you killed

WVDNR examines common misconceptions about who needs a life jacket, how they fit and when they’re required When it comes to wearing a life jacket while boating, there are many myths and misconceptions that people have come to believe. For…

The Beginner’s Guide to Summer Boating Safety

Navigate West Virginia’s rivers and lakes with these safe boating basics Are warm breezes and glistening sunlight beckoning you to get out on the water? With more than 2,000 miles of navigable streams and dozens of boatable lakes and impoundments,…

Ultimate summer fishing guide for Tygart Lake

Discover the best fishing spots, recommended gear and pro tips for an unforgettable adventure Whether you’re a seasoned angler tuned into the whisper of the line or a novice drawn to the serene beauty of the lake, Tygart Lake in…

Pro tips to help you become a West Virginia Master Angler in 2024

Complete six slams and receive West Virginia’s most prestigious fishing award So, you want to be a Master Angler? To earn your stripes, you’ll need to complete six slams, each requiring you to reel in specific fish species that meet…

Participate in wildlife conservation with these 4 WVDNR citizen science surveys

Your collaboration will help biologists monitor the population of native species Have you ever wanted to be part of a team studying native wildlife? Now you can combine your love of nature with your passion for discovery by helping the…

7 bucket list items to help you celebrate West Virginia Gold Rush’s 7th year

Plan the ultimate Gold Rush fishing trip and explore 68 of West Virginia’s most popular lakes and streams The West Virginia Gold Rush is returning for its seventh year on April 1-13, bigger and better than ever! For two weeks,…

Cast a line at one of these 5 streams in West Virginia this spring

Experience the essence of spring fishing at these Almost Heaven streams Spring brings a spirit of revival and fresh starts — not just for nature but for our hobbies and passions. If your fishing routine has become a little stale…