Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

August 31, 2013

New bear hunt in W.Va. explained

There are 19 counties in West Virginia where the Division of Natural Resources wants more bears harvested.

A permit system has been devised that will allow a limited number of hunters to use firearms to kill bears in those counties during the annual buck season, but only on private lands. This year that season runs Nov. 25 through Dec. 7.

Included are Grant, Hardy, Mineral Pendleton and Tucker counties.

As of the Aug. 19 deadline, the agency received about 3,100 applications for the permits.

“I’m very happy with that number of applications,” said Chris Ryan, the Wildlife Resources Section’s director of game management services.

Ryan said it will be a couple weeks before he knows how many applications were received for each county.

In addition, it won’t be known how many permits will be issued until the annual mast survey is analyzed in late September.

Here is what Ryan does know.

“We have selected two permit numbers for each county,” he said. “A higher number if there is a bad mast year and a lower number if there is a good mast year.”

Ryan explained that a bad mast year makes bears go to dens sooner and less available to hunters. By putting more hunters in the woods in a bad mast year, the opportunity for a desired harvest level increases.

“We have more than 40 years of mast survey numbers,” Ryan said. “If this year’s survey shows a county in the lower (25 percent) of those numbers, we will call it a failure or a bad mast year. Anything above that will be a good mast year.”

If 2013 is a good mast year, Mineral County will be assigned 100 permits. A bad mast year will generate 150 permits.

Other good/bad permit ranges are:

• Grant, 300-450.

• Hardy, 500-750.

• Pendleton, 500-750.

• Tucker, 200-300.

DNR has survey data showing that bear hunters using firearms, but not using dogs, have a success rate of 4 percent.

“We were super conservative when we figured the permit numbers,” Ryan said. “We estimated the harvest based upon 10 percent success.”

Using Mineral County as an example, Ryan explained how the harvest would be expected to play out at the 100-permit level with 10 percent hunter success rate.

Ryan pointed out, also, that landowners may hunt without permits.

“That would be 10 bears harvested by permit holders and we anticipate another three bears taken by landowners.”

Based upon past harvest gender ratios, the DNR would expect those 13 bears to include six females, three or four of which would be adult females.

“So we are saying that the system would account for the harvest of only three or four adult female bears in all of Mineral County,” he said, concerned that some may look at the permit numbers and envision a wiping out of a bear population.

If more applications have been received than the number of permits that are available, drawings for those counties will be conducted.

“Hunters should know the first or second week of October whether or not they received a permit,” Ryan said.

A full list of counties in the permit hunt is available online at or in the new hunting regulation booklet.

The archery season for bear hunting begins Sept. 28 statewide.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at


Text Only
Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • Black bear biologist explains new hunt

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service has abandoned the bear harvest quota system in use for 10 hunting seasons and has set the next two hunts at four days apiece.

    April 5, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS South Branch of Potomac River best place in W.Va. for trophy rainbows

    I always enjoy the annual roundup supplied by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that reveals where all the trophy fish were caught.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Mettiki will once again produce trout

    Brian Richardson is confident that the Maryland Fisheries Service will, little by little and year by year, get to the point where full production is restored to the state’s trout hatchery system, meaning that fish will no longer have to be purchased from private sources.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The answer my friend ...

    Recently, the Times-News published
    a photograph of sea gulls that had
    landed on the parking lot at Braddock
    Square Shopping
    Center in LaVale
    My first thought
    was, “If those sea
    gulls landed in the
    Gunpowder River or
    Big Hunting Creek
    on their way here
    from the ocean I
    hope they didn’t have
    felt soles on their
    feet, otherwise they
    will spread rock snot
    to our trout streams
    in Allegany and Garrett counties.”

    March 15, 2014

  • Gobbler stuff can get crazy

    Tough, old bird
    The third gobbler I killed was in 1990 while hunting on Pond Hill near McCoole. Relatively early in the morning I sent out a couple yelp calls. Immediately, 75-100 yards away, what sounded like three gobblers got into a fight.

    March 8, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS Almost Maryland welcomes you back

    If you are a hunter in Almost Maryland, circle Thursday on your calendar so you don’t forget to attend the 7 p.m. hearing at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg that deals with proposed hunting regulations for the next two years.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Gobbler radar activated

    With only 54 days until it opens, the Maryland spring gobbler season is officially on the radar.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Region A buck, doe changes possible

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service, the Allegany-Garrett Sportsmen’s Association, the Quality Deer Management Association and the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen have hashed out a new deer hunting concept for Region A, which includes Garrett, Allegany and the western portion of Washington counties.

    February 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Meshach Browning would say ‘Just do it’

    I wonder if it is possible to attach a
    GPS unit to legislation that has been
    introduced at the Maryland General

    February 1, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Must Read
House Ads