Bears beware in Virginia. According to WHSV, Hunters in Virginia killed a record number of bears during the most recent hunting season.

The Roanoke Times reports that state figures show 2,861 bears were killed, marking a 17 percent increase from the previous season.

The increase in bear hunting was partly due to a first-ever three-day season in early October, which was held in 37 counties. There were 395 reported bears killed during that season, which made up 14% of the total for the year.

Virginia sold 32,687 bear licenses, which was about 900 more than the year before, though hunters from 33 different states reported they killed a bear in the commonwealth.

Turkeys, not so much. Turkey hunting declined 24 percent from the previous year. But back to those bears . . .

Virginia residents pay $21 for a bear hunting license. Non-residents pay a whopping $151. (That’s in addition to a regular hunting licence, with a wide variety of options and fees.)

Assuming 30,000 Virginia residents paid the state to hunt bears, that’s $630,000 into the Department of Game & Inland Fisheries coffers to help them “Conserve. Connect. Protect.” For that money, license holders had a roughly one-in-11 chance of harvesting a bear.

17 COMMENTS

      • Strange thing about those Virginia bears, most of ’em are smaller than my dog. We got turkeys out here almost as big as those east coast bears. So Lib, when you’re done hunting those training wheel kiddie bears, head on out west and we’ll show you what a real bear looks like. And bring extra undies if you haven’t been around real wild animals. They fight back.

  1. That’s 630 grand directly into the state coffers. But how much more in gas, food, motels and other incidentals that hunters contributed to the states economy?

  2. Sometimes I hunt bear.

    Most times, though, I wear heavy clothing with the appropriate amount of orange.

    Nearly 3K bears in VA and they’re not worried about running out? Oy!

    • They are grossly over populated in VA, routinely taking up residence in the suburbs. Oh, and they really make a mess of the commuters prius’ when they wander out in the road.

      DGIF actually was trying to get control of a population explosion that was caused a few years ago by them removing the Bear tag from the Deer tag. Deer hunters used to get a free bear tag, and a good portion of the bear taken where by deer hunters who happened to see one. However, none the deer hunters bothered to cough up the $21 for a separate bear tag, thus they weren’t shooting them anymore.

      Short version: DGIF screwed up a few years back, and this was them making up for it, and they got to pocket a spare $600k as compensation for cleaning up their own mess.

      • “they really make a mess of the commuters prius’ when they wander out in the road.”

        Saw a car nearly hit a female black bear on NY’s “Northway” heading north someplace north of Albany, south of Ft. Ticonderoga. I don’t fault the car for screaming up on it. It looked like a big dog, and one could assume it could get its ass out of the way. But then two cubs came out behind her, and it gave a better perception of scale, and mom and the cubs didn’t give a F. Both of us laid on the breaks and horns and nearly went off of the road sideways to avoid them. Like the POS (D) large protected animals are dangerous.

      • I (too) don’t see the logic of stripping off the bear tag, from the deer tag. However, I don’t know why (if you’re hunting a game animal) if you’re not permitted to take a larger ~ predator animal. I know black bears aren’t brown bears, but, they don’t know that.

        • There are no know Grizzly (aka Brown) bears in VA… The color of the bear is NOT an indication of the species.

        • I meant that (it is my understanding that) Black Bear’s are less threatening (even mothers with cubs) than Brown “Grizzly” Bears, and you can shoo them away with noise, whatever.

          But they don’t know that. I would claim the Black Bear still believes itself to be King Predator / Top o’ the food chain and should likely rather be downed on sight if you encounter one on your way to encountering a deer. No tag / [maybe] no limit, just inform the State’s game management authority.

  3. Im proud to say that my 150lb boar bear and my dads 350 lb boar bear were 2 of the 2,861. My plott dogs along with my Dads hounds also helped other hunters harvest 6 more of that total, With 3 other hunters taking their first bear! The bear population is the highest in recorded history in Va leading to high crop damage and bear human interaction. Glad to hear that hunters were able to help out with that problem rather than the state trying to use less effective and more costly means. And just a note for the past 3 seasons the bear tag was an additional $50. The law just recently passed to drop it back to $21. My fellow bear hound hunters were the ones that lobbied to take it off the regular license to reduce the number of incidental bear kills by deer hunters. As a hound hunter part of me liked that but i really wish they had left it alone because it really tested the already strained relationship between deer hunters and bear hunters. And I never like it when the goverment decides to charge more for a resource they dont own. Oh well, im thankful for a good season and get to enjoy plenty of bear roasts and bbq bear ribs while hoping for a good 2018 season!

    • Just as it was in Old England, the Sovereign (meaning in this context the State) owns all wild fish, birds and game in the state, and it is a crime to take without a license issued by the King (I mean State) just as it was in Robin Hood’s day.

      • Didnt we fight a war over the Sovreign ruling over the peasants? I think it started about this time of the year in 1775… but yes i do understand that for all practical purposes the state does own all resources within the boundries of said state. In Va we still recognize the power of a Kings Grant from 1642 so we havent gotten too far from Mother England in these past 300 years

        • In Texas they will charge for restitution of a game animal if taken illegally. WTF, the state didn’t buy the da#n thing. I think nature does the restoration of deer etc.

    • That must be an awful lot of fun trailing bears with dogs, I used to racoon( coon) hunt and I can just imagine trailing and treeing a bear. Your hearts gotta be pounding. :–)

      • It is quite the rush. It takes a lot of time and effort to make a good bear dog. The chase when it goes right can be anywhere from 1000 yards to 10 miles long and result in you climbing through rock piles and mountain laurels up the side of a mountain to get to the dogs. It can be a tough hunt. Even with good dogs and a lot of training we maybe only catch 20% of the bear that we turn the dogs loose on. What is really exciting is when you get a big mean bear that just walks along fighting at dogs. This can go on for hours and cover many miles. Nothing like wading into a thicket with dogs roaring to try and get a shot on a big pissed of bear!

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