CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Rodney Dangerfield of West Virginia hunting seasons begins Sept. 28.
But because the state's archery season for black bears happens to open on the same day as the archery season for deer, it gets no respect.
Well, maybe a little. After all, over the past 10 years the archery season has accounted for one third of the annual bear harvest.
"The archery kill is important," said Colin Carpenter, bear project leader for the state Division of Natural Resources. "It generally ranges between 400 and 800 animals, and in some years it can make up close to 50 percent of the overall harvest."
That's a bit surprising, especially when one considers the tiny number of bowhunters who head afield with bears at the top of their hit list.
"I don't personally know a lot of archers who target bears," Carpenter said. "Most are taken incidentally to deer hunting."
The factor that most often determines how often bowhunters get the opportunity to kill a bear is food.
DNR officials have developed a reliable tool to forecast how successful bowhunters will be.