DNR set to offer limited permits

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will soon be accepting applications for the limited permits for black bear gun hunting during the traditional two-week buck gun season in eight counties.

This year, the DNR will issue 100 permits each for black bear gun hunting in the following counties: Cabell, Doddridge, Harrison, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, Mineral and Wetzel. Hunters who get one of these special permits will be allowed to hunt bears “without dogs” on private and public land in the above counties.

All interested hunters must apply for a limited bear firearms permit by using the Electronic Licensing System at www.wvhunt.com. The application deadline is midnight Aug. 13.

Resident landowners, their resident children or residents who live on such land will not be required to apply for a limited bear firearms season permit or be required to purchase a Class DS bear stamp to hunt on their own land.

DNR Black Bear Project leader Colin Carpenter said, “Counties open for bear hunting during the buck gun season are above their management objective and need additional bears harvested to achieve their goal.

“This is the fifth year with expanded bear hunting opportunities during the buckgun season, and we hope hunters will continue to take advantage of them,” Carpenter said.

To apply, licensed hunters must log in to their account and then click into “enter lottery” on the home screen. From this point, select “2017 Black Bear Hunt” and click on the desired county. Hunters may call their local DNR district office for help with the application process.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail by the first week of October during the antlerless deer season. Neither the permit nor the Class DS stamp is transferable and the location or county of the hunt cannot be changed.

The DNR also reminds hunters that 31 counties in West Virginia do not require permits to hunt black bears during the buck gun season. I expect Randolph County will be on this list. All of the details concerning the various black bear seasons can be found in the 2017-2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which should be coming out any day now, or be available online at www.wvdnr.gov.

I seriously doubt if I will be one of the hunters applying for one of these limited bear permits. At my age, I really don’t have any desire to shoot a bear.

It was about 20 years ago when I tried to help another hunter field-dress a bear he had taken with a bow. I didn’t realize this person didn’t know very much about how to do this, because he cut the large intestine completely in two. I got a good whiff of it, almost making me sick at my stomach.

A successful bear hunter who is hunting alone is really going to have his work cut out for him when it comes to getting a bear carcass out of the woods. For me, it was difficult enough to get a small buck out of the woods last year, even with snow on the ground.

It was about five years ago when I got an average-sized doe just after Super Storm Sandy. This deer drag was about a mile, and I was nearly exhausted from the task.

Bear hunters have told me that dragging a bear is far more difficult than dragging a deer. I can clearly understand why.

Hunting black bear is for people who choose to hunt as a group or for those up-and-coming young hunters who are eager to flex their muscles. Right now, the state has too many bears in certain locations. I just hope there are enough young, energetic hunters to go after them.