ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — With fall’s arrival and colder weather, comes a chance you could face a black bear on Maryland’s roads.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources warns motorists traveling in the western counties like Allegany and Garrett to watch for bears crossing roads, especially during October and November. Bears will begin entering dens in mid-November and most will be inside dens by mid-December.

Before hibernating, black bears are focused on finding food. During this time, bears lose their fear of humans, which can potentially lead to dangerous encounters.

The bears are concentrated in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties.

The Humane Society suggests the following to prevent conflict with bears:

Make trash cans inaccessible. Bring them inside at night or buy a bear-resistant trash can or an enclosure for the container.

Enclose your compost pile. Open compost piles, especially those that include kitchen scraps, are an irresistible treat in bear country. Burying compost won’t work because bears will easily find and dig it up.

Recycle wisely. If you store recyclables outside, use enclosed bins. (Persistent bears will break into even ruggedly built bins.)

Keep your barbecue grill clean and as free of drippings as possible. Move the grill away from your house when you aren’t using it, and clean it regularly with ammonia or bleach.

Rethink your bird feeders. In the summer, birds can make do with naturally available foods. If you do set up feeders, install them away from your house.

More information about living with black bears can be found online or by calling DNR at 410-260-8540 or 301-777-2136.

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Intern Julia McColligan contributed to this report.

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