Bear painting by Larry Smail

Painting: “Moving Through” by Larry Smail via Maryland.gov.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for the 2019 black bear hunt lottery. Successful applicants will receive a permit valid for the five-day hunting season, taking place Oct. 21-25 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. The department will issue 800 hunting permits this year.

The annual bear hunt is an important management tool used to slow the increase of Maryland’s black bear population and limit expansion of Maryland bears into the eastern suburbs and cities.

“Maryland’s closely regulated, sustainable black bear hunt is now in its 16th year,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said via news release. “This hunt has been helping us achieve our management goal of limiting the growth our bear population while ensuring a secure and sustainable future for this remarkable species.”

Hunters may apply for the lottery online, at regional service centers, or at one of more than 250 hunting and fishing license agents across the state. Hunters need a valid DNR ID number to participate.

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; submitting duplicates can result in disqualification and forfeiture. The drawing will be held Sept. 3 and winners will be notified shortly thereafter.

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 over 20 years ago, it has paid out more than $130,000 in eligible claims.

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