Maryland Black Bear Lottery Opens
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently accepting applications for this year’s lottery for black bear hunting permits. Successful applicants will receive a permit valid for the black bear hunting season scheduled to take place October 21-26.
The lottery will be operated through DNR’s licensing and customer service platform, COMPASS. Interested persons may apply in one of the following ways: online through COMPASS; by phone at 1-855-855-3906 (weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.); by visiting a DNR Service Center; or at one of more than 250 Sport License Agents across the State. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on August 31 and accompanied by a $15 nonrefundable application fee. Only one application per person will be accepted. Duplicate submissions will result in disqualification and forfeiture of all fees. ***All applicants please note: Your DNR ID number will be your lottery number and each year you will retain the same number.***
DNR will issue 380 hunting permits with a quota of 95-130 bears and close the hunt when this range is reached. The opportunity to hunt them in Maryland remains limited to Garrett and Allegany counties. The quota is based on the estimated black bear population in these counties. An extensive population survey was conducted in 2011 to better assess the bear population and to improve DNR’s understanding of the growth rate for Maryland’s bear population.
To ensure that those who had never received a permit would have better odds, DNR implemented a Preference Point System in 2007. Hunters who apply will receive one entry in the random drawing as well as one additional entry for each past consecutive year they applied but were unsuccessful.
All preference points will be forfeited if an applicant: skips a year applying; is selected to receive a bear-hunting permit in the random drawing; or is selected in the random drawing but forfeits the permit. Applicants will have the opportunity to purchase a preference point, allowing those hunters who cannot hunt in 2013 to retain their points for use in future drawings. Each applicant has the option of choosing up to two other individuals to join them in the hunt. These individuals, known as sub-permittees, may be landowners or non-landowners but in no circumstances may the entire party take more than one bear.
Hunters will again have the option of voluntarily contributing to the Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund when they apply for a permit. Donated funds will be used to directly reimburse Maryland farmers who have suffered agricultural damage caused by black bears. The fund was established in 1996 and has paid out more than $100,000 in eligible claims to Maryland farmers.