Record Number of Maryland Hunters Applied for Black Bear Hunts

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the results of the drawing for the 2009 Maryland Black Bear Hunt Permits. A record 3,613 applications were received online and by telephone over the thirty day period. In 2008, DNR received 3,292 applications.

"Maryland's black bear hunt is not only a unique hunting opportunity, but vital to managing the bear population," said DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service Game Mammal Project Leader Harry Spiker. Spiker added, "The growing popularity demonstrates that more hunters are learning about the opportunity and want to enjoy the natural resources of Maryland."

A total of 240 black bear hunting permits were awarded by a random selection process. The list of winning applicants is available online at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/BlackBearHunt.asp. Applicants who have misplaced their lottery number may call DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Service Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 410-260-8540 to obtain this information. Additionally, a packet containing helpful information about bear hunting and instructions on how to register for the hunt will be mailed to each applicant this week.

A "preference point" system has been applied to all applicants who were not selected in the drawing, allowing those that apply next year an additional entry in the 2010 drawing.

DNR's sixth Black Bear Hunting Season is scheduled to take place from October 26 through October 31, 2009. The hunt remains a quota driven: DNR has established a targeted harvest rate of 60 – 85 bears this year. Once that harvest rate is reached, the hunting season will be closed. A guide to hunting bear in Maryland is available at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/BlackBearHunt.asp.

New this year, applicants had the option of voluntarily contributing to the Maryland Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund. Gene Deems, Black Bear Permit Coordinator for DNR, remarked, "Hunters were extraordinarily generous as we accumulated $1,520 in donations." Donated funds will be used to directly reimburse Maryland farmers who have suffered agricultural damage caused by black bears. The Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund was established in 1996 and has paid out more than $98,000 in eligible claims to Maryland farmers.

Applicants and interested parties can also follow the Maryland Black Bear Hunt on twitter for updates and real time information at http://twitter.com/mdblackbear.