CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) announced on Monday that two early firearms hunting seasons for black bears will be opening in the coming months.

According to a release from the WVDNR, the first early season will open on Sept. 2 and run until Sept. 10 in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties. The second season will be from Oct. 7 until Oct. 13 and will be in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas and Raleigh Counties. Hunting with dogs is permitted for both seasons.

“Counties that will be open for early bear hunting are above their management objective, and additional bears need to be harvested for these areas to achieve their goal,” said Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the WVDNR. “The benefit of early seasons is that all bears are available to be harvested because den entrance is still two or more months away.

Hunters who participate in the first season are encouraged to look for bears near stands of black cherry that have fruit or in areas with an abundance of autumn olive. The second season will take place at the peak of the acorn drop, meaning that bears will likely be feeding heavily on them.

Hunters who harvest a bear are required to submit one premolar tooth per bear. Hunters that harvest a female black bear are also encouraged to save and submit the complete reproductive tract to the WVNDR in exchange for a $20 gift card. The WVDNR uses data from these submissions to track the local black bear population.

The WVNDR said that bear tooth envelopes be acquired from your local WVDNR office or at the Elkins Operation Center. Reproductive organs are encouraged to be frozen until a pickup can be arranged with your local WVDNR office.

Resident hunters are required to purchase a bear damage stamp on top of their hunting license. Nonresident hunters must purchase the stamp as well as a bear hunting license. To purchase a license, click here.