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Bear season is right around the corner

June 26, 2005|by BILL ANDERSON

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced that hunters will be allowed to apply for a 2005 bear permit beginning Friday.

The DNR plans to issue, via random drawing, a total of 200 permits - 120 permits for private land and 80 permits that can be used on private or public land.

The 2005 black bear season will be held in Garrett County and Western Allegany (west of Evitts Creek) Oct. 24-29 and Dec. 5-10.

You may remember that last year the season was closed after only one day when 20 bears were taken. This year the target is 40-55 bears and the season will be closed when the target total is met.

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Beginning Friday, hunters will be able to apply online at http://blackbear.dnr.state.md.us/ through Aug. 31. Applications will also be taken over the phone in August. Call 888-579-6768.

The application fee is $15.00 and is nonrefundable. The drawing will be held Sept. 2, and successful applicants will be notified shortly thereafter by mail. You will also be able to track your application online by using the confirmation number you receive when you apply.

The following are some of highlights from last year's one-day season:

· By the time the check stations closed on Day One, a total of 20 bears had been processed. Even though the target harvest was for 30 bears, the DNR made the decision to close the season at that point. Given the political situation, it was an understandable call.

· The heaviest bear taken was a 496-pound male and the average live weight was approximately 180 pounds.

· The DNR said that 80 percent of the bears taken were from private land. Seventy percent of the permits were for private land only.

· The DNR reported that all of the bears were taken within a half-mile from the road, which confirms that lots of bears were living close to roads and near people.

· Of the 20 bears taken, 11 were males, 16 were taken from private lands and four from public lands.

· Two nonresident hunters bagged bears - one from Pennsylvania and the other from Iowa.

· Last year, 2,272 hunters applied for permits.

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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