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Bear, Deer, Turkey, Harvest Data

2018-19 Bear, Deer, Turkey, Harvest Data Announced

Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have compiled the preliminary figures for the 2018-19 fall/winter hunting season. The Virginia bear harvests reflected a slight decrease but still the second highest harvest of bears ever in Virginia; deer harvests reflected a slight increase, and the turkey harvests remained about the same.  According to Dr. Gray Anderson, Wildlife Division Chief, “The annual variation in harvest is normal and most populations are healthy and on-track with long-range management plan objectives.” These harvest data are used to inform future regulatory decisions.

For details on the deer, bear and turkey harvest data, visit these links:

  • February 20th, 2019

DGIF Black Bear Radio-Collaring Project

Since 2016, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) biologists have been radio-collaring adult female bears in Virginia. Data acquired through this project continues to provide insights into the movements, denning habits, and home ranges of wild, female bears in unstudied areas of Virginia. Additionally, these female bears are successfully being used as surrogate mothers for orphaned black bear cubs.

Photo by Meghan Marchetti, DGIF.

There are currently eight adult females fitted with GPS radio-collars primarily in southcentral counties of Appomattox, Buckingham and Pittsylvania. GPS radio-collars are linked to satellites that transmit location data to the biologists. Four of these females currently have approximately 10 month old cubs with them and three to four are expected to have cubs this winter.

Using wild female bears as surrogate mothers for orphan cubs has been a successful practice in Virginia. Female bears are excellent mothers and will readily raise orphan cubs. Each female bear will be visited by DGIF biologists in her winter den, and females who have given birth to cubs will act as surrogate mothers and be given an appropriate number of orphan cubs depending on the surrogate’s condition, age, and the number of natural cubs already present.

This exciting project is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Deployment of the radio collars will be rotated periodically throughout the state so that no one location or female bear will acquire orphan cubs over an extended period of time. Unfortunately, we have lost eight females through hunter harvests, a farmer kill and a suspected poaching event. We hope that each of the remaining radio-collared bears and others collared in subsequent years will provide several years of service to the Department’s bear project.

For more information, please visit our webpage at www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/bear to view information ranging from general bear facts, the Black Bear Management Plan, how-to videos and information on trash can retrofitting and electric fencing, as well as tips for hunters and other useful links.

KEEP BEARS WILD!

To report wildlife crime, call 1-800-237-5712.

  • November 28th, 2018

Hunters: Be on the Lookout for DGIF’s Research Bears

Radio-collar bear research projectFor the first time in over a decade, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) biologists are radio-collaring adult female bears in Virginia. Data acquired through this project will provide new insights into the movements, denning habits, and home ranges of wild, female bears in unstudied areas of Virginia. Additionally, these female bears will provide a source of surrogate mothers for orphaned black bear cubs.

There are currently 10 adult females fitted with GPS radio-collars in portions of the Shenandoah Valley and in southcentral Virginia. GPS radio-collars are linked to satellites which transmit location data to the biologists. In addition to the 10 bears collared currently, another 10 will be deployed in 2017. Most all of these bears are expected to have cubs this winter. DGIF is asking hunters to not harvest these radio-collared bears that are providing valuable information about movement and biology.

Using wild, female bears as surrogate mothers for orphan cubs has been a successful practice in Virginia. Female bears are excellent mothers and will readily take orphan cubs. Each female bear will be visited by DGIF biologists in her winter den, and surrogate mothers will be given an appropriate number of orphan cubs depending on her condition, age, and the number of natural cubs already present.

This exciting project is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, but deployment of the radio-collars will be rotated periodically throughout the state so that no one location or female bear will acquire orphan cubs over an extended period of time.

Bear research project: radio-collarWe hope that each of these radio-collared bears will provide several years of service to the Department’s bear project. Questions about these bears or the project can be directed to Jaime Sajecki, the VDGIF Bear Project Leader.

Please visit our bear page to view information ranging from general bear facts, the Black Bear Management Plan, how-to videos and information on trash can retrofitting and electric fencing, as well as tips for hunters and other useful links. KEEP BEARS WILD!

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  • October 3rd, 2016