Cumberland Times-News

October 27, 2012

Farmer tired of feeding Md. bears his expensive corn

Cumberland Times-News

— Dear Mike,

This letter is to all interested people and to the experts that designed the format for the bear hunt, and the way the money from the bear hunt permits is spent.

But, of course, there are those people who do not have the bears in their vicinity doing damage to their crops, gardens, or perhaps beehives

Last year my family planted 50 acres of corn.

A bag of corn costs $130 (a bag of corn plants 2.5 acres), which amounts to $2,600 to plant 50 acres.

Add in the cost of fertilizer at $500 a ton, which takes six tons to plant 50 acres.

Then add in the price of fuel at $3.70 a gallon. We use about 400 gallons.

Now, let’s add all this together: $2,600 for seed corn, $3,000 for fertilizer, $1,480 for fuel, plus the cost of parts repair and our time and labor.

But this is just for planting, not including the cost for spraying and harvesting

What I’m trying to impress on you is that those in charge of the bear hunt and the people that do not want the beautiful bears killed is the reality that the State of Maryland had 4,027 applicants at $15 a permit, which means there was $60,405 collected.

Now the state wants to donate $1,675 for reimbursement to the farmer for crop damage caused by the bears.

Last year we had excessive crop damage caused by the bears.

We requested the DNR to estimate the damage. DNR determined there was over $5,000 damage.

But what we received was 21 percent of $5,000, which was $1,050.

They are really nice to give so much back to the farmers.

But, what do they care? No money out of their pockets.

DNR needs to come up with a better plan on the bear hunt and a better way to pay for the damage the bears cause.

I know that their answer would be to let the ones that received the bear permits to hunt on the farm land where there is damage.

But, there is a lot to be considered when doing that.

Most landowners do not like to have hunters on their property because of insurance risks, etc.

We are some of those landowners.

We pay the taxes, take care of the land, so that is not the answer to the problem.

One solution would be, 1) let the farmers have crop damage permits without cost, 2) have an open 3-4 day hunt, and charge $30 per person for each person to hunt.

Then allow $15 to DNR and $15 to go to the farmers for damage.

Therefore the farmers would receive half of the total of the amount collected for the permits to cover some of the damage caused by the bear consumption.

But they could always trap the bears and take them downstate, like to Washington, D.C. for them to enjoy the cute, beautiful bears.

Then most Iikely the hunt would be changed in a hurry. But, all I know is that we are getting tired of paying for a problem that we do not need or deserve.

Mark Beachy