MARYLAND- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has commenced the application process for the 2023 black bear hunt lottery. This 20th annual event, set to take place from October 23 to 28 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties, aims to manage the state’s black bear population and prevent their expansion into urban areas. With 950 hunting permits up for grabs, wildlife enthusiasts are gearing up to participate in this essential conservation effort.

The Wildlife and Heritage Service Acting Director, Karina Stonesifer, emphasized the significance of the black bear hunt in maintaining a balanced bear population supported by scientific practices. Stonesifer stated, “Maryland is home to a healthy black bear population managed with sound science. The yearly hunt is important to maintaining the bear population to ensure the species is there for future generations.”

Hunters keen on participating in the hunt can apply for the lottery online or through over 250 hunting and fishing license agents nationwide. To be eligible, hunters must possess a valid DNR ID number. All applications must be submitted before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. on August 31, accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of $15. Applicants are reminded to avoid submitting duplicate entries, which can lead to disqualification and forfeiture of their application. The lottery drawing will be conducted on September 6, with winners being notified shortly thereafter.

The primary goal of the black bear hunt is to curtail the expansion of Maryland’s black bear population into urban and suburban regions. By doing so, the DNR aims to prevent potential conflicts between bears and human populations and ensure the safety of both residents and wildlife. The hunt is an essential management tool that balances preserving the bear population and safeguarding communities.

The state’s thriving black bear population has been a testament to the success of these conservation efforts, ensuring a sustainable future for these majestic creatures. The annual hunt is carefully regulated, considering scientific data and bear population dynamics to avoid any negative impact on the species.

Furthermore, the hunt provides a unique opportunity for hunters to participate in wildlife management and conservation actively. For those fortunate enough to secure a permit, it is not just a recreational activity but a significant responsibility to ensure the proper management of the bear population.

In addition to the hunting permits, the DNR encourages applicants to contribute to the Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund voluntarily. Established in 1996, this fund financially supports Maryland farmers who have suffered agricultural damage caused by black bears. The contributions made by hunters over the years have amounted to more than $130,000, making a tangible difference in aiding affected farmers.

As the application process continues, the DNR remains committed to fostering harmony between human communities and wildlife. By managing the black bear population, the department endeavors to preserve Maryland’s ecological balance and protect these iconic animals for generations.

The 2023 black bear hunt lottery in Maryland offers a unique opportunity for hunters to participate in conserving these magnificent creatures. The DNR’s efforts, backed by scientific expertise, underscore the significance of this annual event in maintaining a healthy black bear population. As applications flood in, the department eagerly anticipates the lottery drawing, ready to issue permits to successful hunters who will play a pivotal role in preserving the state’s ecological integrity.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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