Maryland’s Annual Black Bear Hunt Sees Over 100 Bears Killed

by Craig Garrett
Large Black Bear Resting Peering Over Vegetation - stock photo

103 black bears were killed by hunters during Maryland’s 19th annual black bear hunt, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported. The hunt was conducted during the last week of October in four counties: Alleghany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington. Out of the one-hundred and three bears killed, forty-one were male while sixty-two were female, CBS News Baltimore reports.

Using agricultural damage permits, farmers killed 10 more bears. This was between September 1 and October 31st, as stated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. State authorities said that this year, twice as many bears have been killed by hunters compared to last year. In 2021, only 54 bears were killed by hunters.

According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, state authorities suspect that bad weather and an abundance of natural food sources contributed to the hunting difficulties of 2021. Though more of the animals were killed in past years, on average, only 116 black bears are hunted down each year.

The year-over-year increase was accredited to better weather and food conditions, due in part to an additional day added to the hunting season. Officials argue that a short hunting season is necessary for managing and preserving the state’s healthy bear population.

Here are some interesting facts about Maryland’s 2022 black bear hunt. 103 were harvested and the average weight of these bears was 177 pounds. The heaviest bear weighed 427 pounds and was taken in Garrett County. 67% of all bears were hunted on private land. 4,775 hunters applied for a permit while only 950 permits were awarded.

The black bear population continues to be stable

Although American black bears reside in North America, they are not closely related to brown or polar bears. In fact, studies show that they split from a common ancestor 5.05 million years ago. Additionally, American and Asian black bears are more closely related to each other than either is to other modern species of bear. Finally, recent studies suggest that the sun bear also recently split from this lineage.

In the past, American black bears were found throughout North America’s wooded areas. Now, they are only seen in some forests and live mainly in rural parts of Canada. Even though they once ranged across all of Prince Edward Island, there hasn’t been a sighting in almost 80 years.

The total Canadian black bear population is between 396,000 and 476,000. This estimate was gathered from surveys taken in the mid-1990s of seven Canadian provinces. However, this number does not include American black bear populations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, the Northwest Territories, or Saskatchewan. Although excluded from this estimation, all four of these aforementioned provinces indicated stable populations of American black bears over the last decade.