Suburban Bear Sightings More Common in Summer
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Suburban Bear Sightings More Common in Summer

Black BearWhile black bears are typically found in Western Maryland (Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties), the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds citizens that sightings in suburban areas are not uncommon this time of year. 

“In early summer each year, young bears disperse, or move out, to find a territory of their own,” said Harry Spiker, DNR Game Mammal Section Leader. “They have been known to travel 100 miles or more while searching for suitable place.”

In recent years, DNR has confirmed black bear sightings in Montgomery, Carroll, Baltimore, Howard, Harford, Cecil, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. Sightings typically peak in late June and early July but may persist throughout the summer months. These juvenile bears, which may weigh anywhere between 65 and 200 pounds, eventually move on to more attractive bear habitat.

DNR advises that black bears may be seen any time of day and are typically not aggressive. Below are precautions and tips when dealing with bear encounters.

  • If faced with a bear, give it space and ensure it has an escape route, do not approach or allow it to be surrounded or cornered ─ much like you would a stray dog.
  • Do not feed it, and remove any food sources. Trash, birdfeeders and grills often lure bears into residential areas. If a bear is reported in your region, be sure to store these items in a secure place like a garage or a shed.
  • Scare bears away by making noise (e.g. shouting, banging pots and pans, using air horns or whistles, etc.).

To learn more about Maryland’s black bears, click here. For information or to report a bear sighting, contact DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service at 410-260-8540. After-hour non-emergency sightings, please leave a message; after- hour emergency, 410-260-8888.