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Outdoors - Now is the time for hunters to apply for bear permit

August 27, 2006

For those interested in entering the lottery drawing for a Maryland bear permit, the deadline is quickly approaching to apply either online or by phone.

Internet applications can be submitted to the Web site http://blackbear.dnr.state.md.us. Hunters have until 6 p.m. Friday.

Hunters may also apply by calling 888-579-6768. Phone applications will be taken Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Applicants are required to pay a $15 nonrefundable application fee, and are limited to only one application no matter the method used.

The tentative dates for the bear season this fall are Oct. 23-28 and Dec. 4-9, although it's unlikely the days in December will be needed. Based on past seasons, the 2006 season is more likely to be closed after a day or two.

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The total number of bears taken will not significantly reduce the overall population in Maryland. It does offer a few lucky hunters a unique hunting opportunity.

The DNR plans to conduct the random drawing for permits shortly after the application deadline passes, and successful applicants will be notified shortly thereafter.

There are a few other factors hunters should note regarding bear hunting in Maryland:

Maryland has a unique program for anyone who draws a bear permit. The permit holder may name both a subpermittee and a landowner subpermittee when hunting on the landowner's property.

A subpermittee may hunt black bears only when the main permit holder is hunting black bears. Landowner subpermittee permits are valid only on the landowner's property. Landowner subpermittees cannot hunt their property without the permittee being present on the landowner's property at the time of the hunt.

Another important aspect of the subpermittee program is that electronic communications (radios or cell phones) between permit holders and subpermittees is not allowed. Also, the permit holder and any subpermittee are required to maintain visual contact with one another while hunting black bears.

The DNR will determine a harvest quota for the season (currently at 35-55 bears) and will close the season when the quota is reached or nearly reached. They are likely to do everything possible to avoid exceeding the announced quota - which would result in a strong reaction from the anti-hunting groups.

All bear hunters will be required to check in with a recorded message each day after 9 p.m. to determine if the harvest hunt quota has been met and the bear hunt has been cancelled for the remainder of the season.

The DNR will hold two pre-hunt meetings. Those who draw a permit will be required to attend one of the two meetings.

Those lucky enough to draw a Maryland bear tag, have a good chance of getting a bear. I consider a black bear to be the ultimate big game trophy in Maryland and surrounding states. Kudos to the Maryland DNR for reopening this limited hunting opportunity.




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

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