BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the number of black bears grows in Maryland, so does the nuymber of places they’re moving into.
That’s prompted the expansion of areas where black bear hunting will now be allowed, WJZ’s Alex DeMetrick reports.READ MORE: One Family Business Expects A Surge In Customers After Christmas Tree Shortage
Since 2004, the mountains of far western Maryland were open to black bear hunting. Only in Garrett County and Allegany County was it legal.
But, this fall, Washington and Frederick counties will also be open to bear hunters.
“We have reproducing populations of bears there, and our limited highly managed hunt will ensure that the bear population continues to grow, but will slow the growth in those two counties” says Paul Peditto, of the DNR Wildlife Heritage Service.
For years, black bears have been moving east, with sightings in back yards from Frederick to Baltimore County.
Shy and secretive by nature, black bear encounters rarely involve an attack. But DNR says crop and property damage do happen.READ MORE: Mass Shooting Leaves Seven People Injured In East Baltimore
In far western Maryland, there are 1,000 plus black bears, and they are starting to breed more and more in Washington and Frederick counties.
“We’re averaging about three cubs per sow,” Peditto says.
But the cubs found in DNR surveys of winter dens are not counted, because not all will survive.
A positive aspect of having bears around, is that people eventually adapt to them.
“We’re grateful for this in that the people of western Maryland have learned to live with bears and manage those bear conflicts. The evolution of that is still taking place… Our goal is to slow the bear population. We’ll never wipe it out.”
The black bear season runs for four days only, beginning Oct. 24. The number of hunters is strictly limited by the state.MORE NEWS: Orlov Scores Late, Caps Beat Hurricanes For 9th Win In 11