Michael A. Sawyers
A whopping 55 percent of the 340 available Maryland bear hunting permits went to residents of Garrett and Allegany counties during the lottery in September.
The hunt takes place beginning Oct. 22.
Based upon a new allocation system that favors residents of the two counties where the hunt takes place, the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service had predicted that about 50 percent would go to hunters who live there.
This time around, the first 25 percent of the permits (85) went only to Garrett-Allegany residents. People who live in these two counties, but were not drawn in that portion of the lottery, had their names put back in with everybody else for the remaining 255 permits.
The highest percentage of Almost Maryland hunters to be drawn in earlier years was 40 percent in 2010 with 104 of the 260 permits.
In 2011, 37 percent of the permits went to those who live in the hunting area.
Once the entire drawing was completed this year, 64 of the permits were drawn by Allegany countians and 121 were awarded to Garrett residents.
This year, 18 permits went to residents of other states. In 2011, that number was 26. Most of the out-of-state hunters this year live in Pennsylvania. There are three from West Virginia and two from Virginia. The most distant permit holder lives in Georgia.
The maximum number of preference points available was five. A hunter with five preference points would have six chances when this year’s application was included.
Although the drawing did not descend in an absolute proportional manner based upon preference points, it came very close.
• Those with six chances (111 hunters) drew 33 percent of the permits.
• Five chances (45 hunters) drew 13 percent.
• Four chances (54 hunters) drew 16 percent.
• Three chances (49 hunters) drew 14 percent.
• Two chances (49 hunters) drew 14 percent.
• One chance (32 hunters) drew 9 percent.
There were 4,027 applicants who paid $15 each. In addition, $1,675 was donated for reimbursement to farmers for crop damage caused by bears.
This will be Maryland’s ninth bear hunt in modern times. To date, 408 bears have been killed by hunters.
Finally, after 15 months, there will be a public meeting to see what all of us think about the possibility of reintroducing Rocky Mountain elk into Garrett and Allegany counties.
Set your alarm clock, because the meeting will take place at 8 a.m. on Nov. 2, that’s a Friday, in the Community Room of the Allegany Arts Council at 9 N. Centre St. in downtown Cumberland.
If you remember, the idea to relocate elk was generated by the Maryland-based chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The investigation into the reintroduction has three sponsors: the elk foundation, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation.
Bill Miles, executive director of the MLSA, has been our source of information during the one-year-plus. Miles said the meeting details for Nov. 2 were handled by the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce.
It was announced in May that 809 Marylanders responded to a telephone survey about the possible reintroduction of Rocky Mountain elk into Garrett and Allegany counties and almost 75 percent of them think it is a good idea.
The survey was done by Responsive Management of Harrisonburg, Va. Of the respondents, 230 were from far Western Maryland.
Elk last lived in the state more than 200 years ago.
Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.