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Seasonal Black Bear Sightings Increase in Suburban Areas

photo of black bear up closeWhile black bears are typically found in western Maryland (Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties), sightings in suburban areas are not uncommon this time of year.

In May and June of each year, 1 ½ year-old bears disperse, sometimes more than 100 miles, to find a suitable territory of their own. 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 summer months. These juvenile bears, which can 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.

  • Never feed a bear; 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.
  • If faced with a bear, give it space and ensure that it has an escape route. Do not approach or allow it to be surrounded or cornered.
  • Scare bears away by making noise, such as shouting, banging pots and pans, or using air horns or whistles.

To learn more about Maryland’s black bears, click here. Those with questions or reports of a bear sighting should contact the DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service at 410-260-8540 (after-hour non-emergency sightings, please leave a message). For after-hour or weekend emergency issues, call 410-260-8888.

Keep up to date with DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service on Facebook and Twitter @MDDNRWildlife.