Apply by Aug. 31, Drawing Sept. 4

Photo of black bear in Western Maryland

TheMaryland Department of Natural Resourcesis now accepting applications for this year’sblack bear huntinglottery.

Successful applicants will receive a permit valid for the five-day hunting season, taking place Oct. 22-26 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties. The department will issue 800 hunting permits that can be used anywhere in those four counties.

The annual bear hunt is an important management tool used to slow the growth of Maryland’s black bear population into more suburban cities, communities and counties.

“Maryland’s closely regulated, sustainable black bear hunt is now in its 15th year,”Wildlife and Heritage ServiceDirector Paul Peditto said. “This hunt has been helping us achieve our management goal of limiting the increase in our bear population while guaranteeing a secure and sustainable future for this remarkable species.”

Hunters may apply for the lotteryonline, by phone at 855-855-3906, atregional service centersor at one of more than 250hunting and fishing license agentsacross the state. Each hunter’s DNRid number will serve as their lottery number. All entries must be completed by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31, and must be accompanied by a $15 nonrefundable application fee. Only one application per person will be accepted; duplicates can result in disqualification and forfeiture. The drawing will be held Sept. 4.

The Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund is open for voluntary contributions by hunters when they apply for their permits. The fund directly reimburses Maryland farmers who have suffered agricultural damage caused by black bears. Since the fund was started 20 years ago, it has paid out more than $130,000 in eligible claims.