Virginia hunters killed a record number of American black bears during the 2019-2020 hunting season, according to data from the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Hunters reported 3,540 kills during the period, the Virginian-Pilot reported, citing data from the department. That’s about 840 more bears than were recorded during the 2018-2019 season, said Stephanie Simek, the department’s bear project leader.
American black bears are the only species of bear in the state, and the department said it extended the hunting season for the animals by up to a week in some areas in order to try and stabilize rising populations. Depending on the area, some hunting seasons started in late September or early October, and continued through the first week of January, the newspaper said.
Simek added that other possible factors behind the record-breaking numbers could be that this was the first year hunters were able to report their kills online, and that temperatures remained mild into the winter.