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2006-2007 Black Bear Harvest Summary
Tracking population growth, Virginia's 2006-07 black bear harvest increased to the highest annual level ever recorded at 1,633 bears. In line with the 2006-07 harvest, Virginia's black bear harvest trend has been increasing at an average annual rate of 7.6% per year over the past decade. The 2006-07 harvest was 13% greater than last year's harvest of 1,439 and exceeded the previous 2003-04 record kill of 1,511 by 8%.
Bear harvests west and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains were 1,231 (up 10% from last season) and 402 (up 25%), respectively. Similar to 2005, the 8 counties surrounding Shenandoah National Park produced 41% (662 bears) of the total bear kill.
The archery harvest of 425 bears was a 37% increase from the previous year. At 26%, the archery portion of the total harvest was slightly greater than the 21% average observed since 1995. Reflecting their increased popularity, crossbows accounted for 38% of the entire archery harvest of bears.
The 4-day muzzleloading season accounted for 90 bears (6% of the total harvest). Although this was down 38% compared to 2005, the 2006 harvest was similar to the 2004 muzzleloading season.
The 2006-07 regular firearms harvest of 1,118 bears was a 14% increase over the 2005-06 season. Dog hunters accounted for about 50% of the regular firearms harvest and 33% of the total bear kill.
Similar to the long-term average of 37%, the harvest was comprised of 35% females. Bear hunters in all seasons and hunter groups harvested a similar proportion of females. The percent female composition of the archery, muzzleloader, and regular firearms season was 32%, 41%, and 35%, respectively. Female bears represented 33% of the hound-hunter harvest.
Top 10 Counties
Annual Bear Harvest