The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 10, 2012

Southern West Virginia seeing black bear boom

CHARLESTON — Southern West Virginians might feel as if the black bear has begun to proliferate in that region — and they’re right.

In fact, the population boom came after the animals were introduced there some years back to lower the abundant ranks elsewhere, Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro acknowledged Tuesday.

His response came to a question posed by Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell, based on talk in his region that the DNR had relocated some bears there to relieve pressure in other parts of the state.

What followed was an unanticipated upsurge in the southern population, the DNR director said.

“Nobody expected they would take off like they did,” Jezioro told the Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Subcommittee at an interims meeting.

“Those old strip mines are a perfect habitat for them. They’ve found a home in southern West Virginia.”

As opposed to the northern counties, where one cub born per female bear is the norm, the birth ratio is about 2.5 to 3, he noted.

Jezioro reminded Delegate Brady Paxton, D-Putnam, that the state sponsors a wild boar hunt, but doesn’t have to cope with a feral hog issue that is prevalent in the Carolinas, Texas and Georgia.

“And some of them are having an open season like we do on coyotes year ‘round,” he said.

“So far, we don’t have that problem. It’s not to say that we won’t. They continue to spread. They’re very destructive. If you’ve seen what they can do, it looks like they go through with a backhoe and just tear the forest floor all to pieces.”

Jezioro told Moore the wild boars were introduced in his region to give hunters some variety.

“There was nothing down there to hunt, other than squirrels,” he said.

Paxton wondered how the coyotes were faring, pointing out he sees what appears to be the same one in a different location from time to time.

“Don’t send him to McDowell,” Moore quipped.

Jezioro outlined the goals and makeup of the Natural Resources Commission, an agency made up of seven unpaid members named by the governor to set game seasons and wildlife rules in West Virginia.

“We feel like we’re the complaint department,” said Jeff Bowers, a Pendleton County resident and the oldest serving member with 14 years under his belt.

“It is a very delicate balance when you’re dealing with landowners or dealing with what society wants, or out there with what the hunter wants. At the same time, we have to consider what our biologists tell us.”

When he first signed on, Bowers said votes on seasons and rules usually were 7-0, or 6-1, but recently have gone down to the wire to 4-3.

And, at times, he said, “We may have ruffled the feathers of our director because he may not have agreed with our decisions.”

“It’s not a rubber stamp group,” Jezioro said, emphasizing the commission acts independently of the DNR in reaching its conclusions.

“And that’s the way it should be.”

— E-mail:

Text Only
Local News
  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday. The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.


    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.


    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years.  Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day. A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • derby dames Beckley area Derby Dames to host WFTDA team Aug. 9

    The Beckley Area Derby Dames will face off against a WFTDA-certified team, the Harrisonburg, Va., Rocktown Rollers, Aug. 9 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • phil roop Artisans show off skills at String Band Festival

    The Appalachian String Band Festival celebrates the music of the mountains each year.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Calendar — Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

    August 1, 2014

  • VA clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    August 1, 2014

  • Beckley festival seeking vendors

    Taste of Appalachia is seeking restaurants, vendors, organizations and churches to participate in the Aug. 23 event. 

    August 1, 2014

  • 080114 FRI TWV multitalented teen.jpg Only 13, Shady Spring and TWV teen has big resume

    Well-rounded is an understatement for 13-year-old Rachel McNeel. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo