DNR Announces Black Bear Hunt Harvest Numbers

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the black bear hunt harvest totals this afternoon, a day after the state’s history-making first hunt since 1953.

The hunt took place yesterday starting one-half hour before sunrise in Garrett and Allegany Counties. No hunting violations were cited, and no hunting accidents occurred.

As the check stations closed at 4 p.m. today, 20 bears had been checked in official check staions. Although the target harvest was 30 bears, DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul A. Peditto made the decision Monday night to close the hunt.

“Given the extraordinary success rates of the first day, we made the difficult but appropriate wildlife management decision. This hunt was designed to be biologically conservative, our decision to close the hunt prior to reaching the target harvest reinforces that commitment.” Peditto said.

The bears taken during the hunt ranged in weight from 84 lbs to a massive 496 lb. adult male checked early Tuesday morning. The estimate average live weight of all bears taken was nearly 180 lbs.

“The primary goal of this hunt was begin slowing the growth of the regional black bear population; this effort is an unqualified success toward that end and ensures a sound foundation for the future of black bear management in Maryland.” Peditto said.

80 percent of the bears were harvested on private land; the remaining 20 percent were harvested on public land. This harvest breakdown exceeds DNR’s goals to ensure increased pressure on potential nuisance bears on private lands in Western Maryland. Seventy percent of the hunting permits were issued exclusively for private land; the remaining 30 percent were for public land.

Half of the hunters who harvested a bear were from Allegany or Garrett Counties; two of the successful hunters were from out of state (IA and PA).

Black Bear Project Leader, Harry Spiker, added: "All of the bears were harvested within one-half mile of a public road, which demonstrates the high density of the region’s bear population in and around people; and reinforces our belief that this hunting strategy will potentially reduce vehicle strikes and other conflicts between bears and humans."

The harvest by the numbers:

* 20 bears harvested
* 19 from Garrett County, 1 from Allegany,
* 11 males, 9 females
* 84 lbs. to 496 lbs (average weight 178.4 lbs.)
* 16 of the bears were taken on private land
* 4 taken on public land
* 70 percent private land permits issued
* 30 percent public land permits issued
* 50 percent of harvested of hunters who harvested bears live in the hunt area
* 2 non residents got bears, 1 from PA, 1 from IOWA
* 1 female hunter checked a bear in
* All 20 bears were taken within a half-mile of a public road
* 381 hunters participating
* 183 permittees
* 149 subpermittees
* 49 landowner subpermittees
* 2,272 hunters applied for a permit