West Virginia bear hunters see 64 percent increase in black bears taken last year

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – West Virginia hunters harvested dramatically more black bears this season than last year.

The West Virginia DNR is reporting a 64% increase in black bear harvests. There were 2,830 bears taken in 2023. There were only 1,727 bears harvested in 2022.

The increase in bear harvests matched projections. Biologists with the DNR say that it’s because of more acorns produced by oak trees.

Counties in the southwestern part of the state generally ranked highest in bow kills. Counties with significant rifle kills are distributed throughout the state.

Top 5 counties for archery kills:

  1. Fayette (83)

T2. McDowell (71)

T2. Wyoming (71)

3. Nicholas (62)

4. Raleigh (59)

5. Greenbrier (55)

Top 5 counties for rifle kills:

  1. Boone (152)
  2. Nicholas (144)
  3. Randolph (133)
  4. Pocahontas (124)
  5. Kanawha (124)
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