TANEYTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — The annual black bear hunt in Western Maryland led to the harvesting of 117 black bears, including a 537-pound bear.

Hunters harvested bears during “challenging conditions” during the five-day hunt held Oct. 26-30 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. Results were posted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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The largest bear was weighed 537 pounds and was harvested in Frederick County by Wayne Harley of Taneytown. The average weight of harvested bears was 155 pounds.

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DNR said natural food shortages in the mountains of Western Maryland in addition to wet and windy weather conditions led to challenges for the bear hunters.

Photo of bear in woods

Photo by Bob Geary/Via Maryland DNR

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“We are pleased with another successful bear hunt and view it as further evidence the department is managing the state’s black bear population sustainably and effectively,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “With such an expanding and healthy bear population throughout western Maryland, this hunt is an essential management tool.”

Of the bears harvested during the hunt, 83 were from Garrett County, 23 were from Allegany County, eight from Washington County and three from Frederick County.

Seventy four percent of the bears were taken on private land. More than 5,700 hunters applied for a permit with 950 permits awarded and more then 2,600 hunters participated.

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More information about black bear management in Maryland is available on the department’s website.

CBS Baltimore Staff