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Deadline looms for bear permits

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hunters who would like to kill a bear during this year's buck deer season have about a month to apply for their permits.

Division of Natural Resources officials in 2013 are, for the first time, opening 19 counties to concurrent buck-bear hunting. Hunting will be allowed on private lands only, and only for hunters holding free lottery-drawn permits.

The newly opened counties include Barbour, Braxton, Clay, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Lewis, Mercer, Mineral, Monroe, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur and Webster.

Those counties will join Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Preston and Raleigh, where concurrent buck-bear hunting has been in effect for several seasons.

DNR biologists pushed for the Nov. 25-Dec. 7 concurrent season to keep black bear populations under control.

"Counties that will be open for bear hunting during the buck gun season are above their management objective and need additional bears harvested to achieve their goal," said Colin Carpenter, the DNR's bear project leader.

"Timing is critical when setting bear hunting seasons, and the limited bear firearms season will occur when the maximum number of hunters are in the woods. This is the first time that hunters in the majority of these counties will have the opportunity to harvest a black bear during the buck gun season, and we hope they will take advantage of it."

Applications for the permits are available from hunting license agents, DNR district offices, the DNR Operations Center in Elkins and the DNR central office in South Charleston.

Applications also may be downloaded and printed from the DNR's website, www.wvdnr.gov. A link to the application can be found on the site's Hunting Main Page.

Applicants must fill out the application, date it and return it to the DNR's Application Section by Aug. 19.

Successful applicants will be sent their permits in October. Each permit will indicate the county in which the applicant is eligible to hunt. Permits and counties of eligibility may not be exchanged.

All bear hunters, including those who draw the free permits, must purchase $10 Class DS "bear-damage" stamps in order to hunt legally. Private landowners, their resident children or resident tenants are not required to purchase bear-damage stamps or to apply for the lottery-drawn concurrent buck-bear permits for hunting on their own lands.

Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or johnmccoy@wvgazette.com.


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