DNR issues black bear tips

April 12, 1997

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is warning Tri-State area residents not to feed or approach black bears, which are growing in number across the region.

Bears usually are no threat to humans unless they are harassed, pursued, cornered or have cubs with them, DNR officials said.

About 300 black bears live in Maryland, primarily in western Allegany and Garrett counties, they said. The bears' range is part of a larger Southern Appalachian Mountain region that includes parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, they said.

Black bears are shy by nature but become increasingly active in the spring and early summer when older males wander long distances in search of mates, and young bears are chased away by their mothers to find homes of their own, DNR officials said.


If left alone, a wandering bear will find its way back to the woods or forest, usually within a day or two, they said.

In Maryland it is illegal to harass, pursue, bait, feed or destroy a black bear, DNR officials said.

The DNR offers the following suggestions to help prevent problems with bears:

n Remove all possible food sources from your yard and porch, including trash, barbecue grills, pet food and birdfeeders. Bears have an excellent sense of smell and will raid garbage cans and corn cribs or ransack outbuildings in search of food when natural food is scarce.

  • Feed pets only as much as they can eat at one time and bring the rest indoors.
  • Bring in bird and other wildlife feeders until the bear moves on.
  • Do not store bird food, corn or trash on screened porches.
  • If garbage must be put outside, sprinkle ammonia on the bags and in the can before putting on the lid.

For more information about black bears, call the Maryland DNR office for Washington and Frederick counties at 1-301-842-2702.

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