Maryland Bear Lottery Now Underway

Maryland Dept. Of Natural Resources, Bear Hunting Magazine

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for this year's lottery for black bear hunting permits. Successful applicants will receive a permit valid for the black bear hunting season scheduled to take place October 22-27, 2012.

"This lottery will follow the same successful model we've used in our prior bear hunting seasons, with one change," said Harry Spiker, DNR's game mammal section leader. "Residents of Garrett and Allegany Counties will receive 25 percent of the available permits. However, we are increasing the overall quantity of permits, which will ensure the number of residents from other Maryland counties drawn for the hunt is similar to prior years."

To ensure that those who had never received a permit would have better odds, DNR implemented a Preference Point System in 2007. Hunters who apply receive one entry in the random drawing as well as one additional entry for each past consecutive year they have applied, but were unsuccessful. Details are available at

This lottery marks the ninth season since black bear hunting was reestablished as a management tool in Maryland in 2004. Data from the 2011 survey increased DNR's population estimate for 2012 by approximately 175 adult and subadult bears for the two counties.

"Our harvest quota is higher for 2012 and we are issuing more hunting permits to enable our hunters to reach the harvest level necessary to manage this increasing population," said Spiker.

DNR will issue 340 bear hunting permits with a quota of 80-110 bears and will close the hunt when the range is reached. The opportunity to hunt black bears in Maryland remains limited to Garrett and Allegany Counties. The quota is based on the estimated black bear population in those counties open to bear hunting. An extensive population survey was conducted in 2011 to better assess the bear population and to improve DNR's understanding of the growth rate for Maryland's bear population.

"The survey results estimated 701 adult and subadult bears for Garrett and Allegany counties and the annual growth rate remains at a healthy 12 percent per year," said Associate Director for Game Management, Pete Jayne. "This is similar to the 9 percent growth rate estimate we applied to the recent hunting seasons and affirms our belief that hunting has slowed the growth of our bear population while maintaining a healthy rate of expansion for this important member of our ecosystem."

Online applications for the Maryland Black Bear Lottery will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, August 31 at Phone applications will be accepted at 1-888-579-6768 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on August 20-24 ONLY.

To apply, a $15 nonrefundable application fee must be submitted via credit card, check or money order. All payments must be received by 12 p.m. on September 4. Checks and money orders should be made payable to MDDNR Black Bear and mailed to MDDNR Black Bear, P.O. Box 360, Frostburg, MD 21532.

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