Black bears have been spotted in Carroll County but hunters will have to go to Garrett or Allegany County to hunt one.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting applications for this year’s lottery for black bear hunting permits. Black bear hunting can only be done in Garrett and Allegany Counties. A permit is required and the season lasts from Oct. 22 to Oct. 27.
Department of Natural Resources Bear Biologist Harry Spiker said that Carroll County is not considered an "occupied" area when it comes to black bears. He said there have been black bears spotted in Carroll County but it's typically just "the juveniles moving through."
Spiker said occupied counties include Frederick, Allegany, Washington and Garrett because black bears live in those areas year-round.
"The bear population is increasing and as a result bear sightings have been increasing in neighboring counties, including Carroll," Spiker said. "This year we had several reports of juvenile bears moving through [Carroll County]."
Black bear hunting was reestablished as a bear population management tool in Maryland in 2004.
“Our harvest quota is higher for 2012 and we are issuing more hunting permits to enable our hunters to reach the harvest level necessary to manage this increasing population,” Spiker said in a statement.
DNR will issue 340 bear hunting permits with a quota of 80-110 bears and will close the hunt when the range is reached. An extensive population survey was conducted in 2011 to better assess the bear population and to improve DNR’s understanding of the growth rate for Maryland’s bear population, according to a news release.
“The survey results estimated 701 adult and subadult bears for Garrett and Allegany counties and the annual growth rate remains at a healthy 12 percent per year,” said Associate Director for Game Management, Pete Jayne. “This is similar to the 9 percent growth rate estimate we applied to the recent hunting seasons and affirms our belief that hunting has slowed the growth of our bear population while maintaining a healthy rate of expansion for this important member of our ecosystem.”
Online applications for the Maryland Black Bear Lottery will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31 at http://blackbear.dnr.state.md.us. Phone applications will be accepted at 1-888-579-6768 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 20-24 only. There is a $15 nonrefundable application fee.
The lottery will be held Tuesday, Sept. 4. Successful applicants will receive a winners’ packet in the mail soon after the drawing. Participants may check their application ID numbers at http://blackbear.dnr.state.md.us beginning Sept. 5 to see if they were drawn.
More information is available at dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/BlackBearGuide.asp or @MDBlackBear on Twitter.