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Regulated bear hunt supported, survey says

July 13, 2004|by DAVID DISHNEAU

A new survey found that 65 percent of Marylanders support regulated hunting as a way of controlling the state's growing black bear population, the Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

The Fund for Animals, which opposes plans for Maryland's first bear hunt in 51 years this fall, said the survey was biased. The group maintains that most Marylanders oppose bear hunting.

The DNR released the survey results on the last day of a public-comment period for proposed bear-hunt rules. The rules now must pass muster with a legislative panel, the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review.

Paul A. Peditto, director of the DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Service, said the survey results were gratifying.

"We were particularly pleased that the majority of individuals believe, as we do, that we should have black bears in Maryland; and a majority felt our agency is doing a good job of managing our native bear population," he said in a statement.

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The state-funded survey by Responsive Management, of Harrisonburg, Va., was based on telephone interviews last month with 831 residents. The results had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

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