Michael Bailey’s 450-acre farm isn’t anywhere near Virginia’s traditional bear range, but when a 250-pound bruin walked under his deer stand two bow seasons ago, Bailey wasn’t surprised. It was just one of a hundred or so he’s seen near his southern Virginia farm in the last decade.
A well-placed arrow put the bear on the ground, the first one killed on the family farm in recent history, thanks in part to the state’s newly expanded bear season. One week later, Bailey’s son killed a 539-pounder during the state’s two-week muzzleloader season. Last year his daughter tagged a bear with her muzzleloader.
Virginia isn’t the only state experiencing a growth in bear population. Their numbers are increasing throughout much of the U.S., and hunting opportunities are following.