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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The state Division of Natural Resources conducted a poll to elect a state animal as a symbol for West Virginia in 1954.............. The students, teachers, and sportsmen of West Virginia chose the black bear as the the animal symbol for West Virgnia by a large margin.......... The bear population has been increasing since the 1960's when only 500 occupied the state to today where all 55 counties have a Bruin population that totals somewhere between 8000 to 10,000 animals.............25%-33% of the population have been killed annually by hunters over the past 4 years but state biologists continue to claim that the population is stable if not inching up..........Important to know that according to the peer reviewed paper entitled: MANAGEMENT OF BEARS IN NORTH AMERICA(see below for more information), a maximum hunter take of 14% can occur before a downward population slide begins to take place.............Is West Virginia killing a higher % of it's Bruins than is long term sustainable???????????????....................It is important to know in managing Black Bears that they are one of the slower reproducing large mammals in North America...............Black bear females typically produce cubs every two years once they become mature.............. The 2-year reproductive cycle is genetically timed to fit the annual cycle of plant growth and fruiting of the region with the typical litter of 2 or 3 cubs

West Virginia Hunters Harvest 2,682 Black Bears in 2013

Posted: Jan 20, 2014 10:01 AM PSTUpdated: Jan 20, 2014 10:12 AM PST

South Charleston, W.Va – West Virginia hunters harvested 2,682 black bears during the 2013 season. This is the second highest black bear harvest in West Virginia.  The harvest number is a combination from both archery and firearms seasons, according to Paul Johansen, from West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The preliminary harvest data for 2013 is very similar to 2012's harvest of 2,691 bears.  This marks the fourth time in the past five years that the harvest has topped 2,000 bears.

"As always, mast conditions had a tremendous influence on the distribution of this year's bear harvest," said Johansen.
 Hunters took 851 bears during the 2013 archery season. The top five counties were Wyoming (75), Fayette (61), Raleigh (58), Logan (52) and Randolph (52).
Firearms hunters harvested 1,831 bears during 2013. Hunters took 679 bears in September and October, 361 during the concurrent buck/bear season, and 791 during the traditional December season. The top five counties were Randolph (245), Pendleton (201), Greenbrier (151), Webster (134) and Pocahontas (131)

Population Management of Bears in North America
Author(s): Sterling D. Miller
Source: Bears: Their Biology and Management, Vol. 8, A Selection of Papers from the Eighth
International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Victoria, British Columbia,
Canada, February 1989 (1990), pp. 357-373
Published by: International Association of Bear Research and Management

STERLING D. MILLER, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 333 Raspberry Rd., Anchorage, AK 99518-1599
Abstr-act: Population management for black bears (Utrsus amer-icanus), brown-grizzly bears (U. arctos) and polar bears (U. maritimus) in North America is reviewed.
In different areas bear populations are managed to achieve goals of population control, conservation, or sustained yield. Most North American bears are managed for
sustained yields and this topic is emphasized. The consequence of error in population management is high as bears reproduce slowly and reduced populations will require
many years to recover. Simulation results where reproductive rates were generous, natural mortality rates were low, and harvests were 75% of maximum sustainable rates indicated that populations reduced by half will require >40 years to recover for brown (grizzly) bears and >17 years for black bears. Under optimal conditions for reproduction natural mortality, and with males twice as vulnerable as females, maximum sustainable hunting mortality was estimated as 5.7% o f tota l population for grizzly
bears and 14.2% for black bears. In recent decades, all 3 species have obtained the status of game animals in most jurisdictions and management for control objectives
is increasingly uncommon. Management for conservation requires primary emphasis on habitat protection and on minimizing mortalities from any source. Managers
of hunted bear populations use information from hunters, from sex and age composition of killed bears, from research programs, and from computer simulation studies.
Non-criticalu ses of dataf rom any of these sources may lead to managemente rror. Data on age-at-harvesti s especially pronet o misinterpretationT. echniquesu sed to
limit harvests by managers of hunted bear populations are reviewed. The primary constraints facing bear population management derive from inadequate habitat
protection, political pressures. technological limitations of available population management techniques. and inadequate financial support for management.
Int.C onf.B earR es.a ndM anage8. :357-373


Q. What is the black bear population for West Virginia by counties? Are there any groups or organizations that support our state animal? Is there an estimate of the total population, and are they in all 55 counties?
A. The black bear is our largest animal in West Virginia and always of interest. The current statewide population of black bears in West Virginia is estimated at over 8,000. They occur in at least 38 counties. Detailed, ongoing studies were initiated in 1999 by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to determine age structure, population estimates, trends, causes of mortality, and behavior of our native black bear. These studies are being conducted in four southern counties (Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, and Raleigh) and five northern counties (Randolph, Tucker, and parts of Barbour, Grant and Webster). Results have shown an increase in growth of the southern population, with average litter sizes greater than those of the northern counties.

This research continues to give us the ability to conserve and properly manage the black bear within West Virginia. Many different conservation and user groups support black bear research across the nation. Three groups have specifically supported research in West Virginia-the Campfire Conservation Fund, Inc., the West Virginia Bowhunters Association, and the West Virginia Trophy Hunters Association.

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