Monday, November 16, 2015

Go west, young bear! Or east, as Md. town finds out

Black bears are becoming a common sight for many western Appalachian towns, as the species continues its comeback and spreads out, largely via younger males. But bears are also heading east, as the 1,500 residents of Hancock (Best Places map) have discovered, reports the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown.

Reporter Tamela Baker writes that Pete Jayne, associate director for game management for the state Department of Natural Resources, "said there is a resident bear population in Washington County, and it's becoming a little less unusual for one of them to stray into traffic. Three such incidents were reported in 2012, four in 2013 and six last year, he said."

Herald-Mail photo illustration
"Each year, the state permits a brief bear-hunting season in the two westernmost counties—Garrett and Allegany—to help control the population," Baker reports. "During this year's season, which ran Oct. 26 to 29, hunters harvested a record 95 black bears. Expanding the hunt to include Washington County has been discussed, but no decision has been made to do it, Jayne said."

Meanwhile, Jayne said residents are being told to learn to "get along with bears," reports Herald-Mail. Jayne said, "We tell them to be ‘bear aware’ and to make sure they're not creating attractions. They're crazy about bird seed. If you feed birds in fall or summer, you can attract them. We tell people to wait until December" when the bears are hibernating. (Read more)

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