Black Bears Emerging from Winter Dens
Marylanders Urged to Keep Bears Wild
After a long winter slumber, black bears are now emerging from their dens, and human residents of Maryland’s bear country should take steps to keep both species separate and safe.
Adult and newborn bears will emerge hungry and seeking natural food sources, but many of their preferred foods — acorns, berries, insects and plants — are still in short supply this time of year. Until these natural foods are more seasonally abundant, bears may become more easily attracted to artificial and human-generated food sources.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges residents to remove all potential bear attractants to prevent conflicts.
- Locking garbage in a bear-proof trash bin or storing trash containers in a locked garage or shed until the morning of trash pickup;
- Rinsing out trash containers with ammonia to eliminate odors;
- Storing cooking grills inside or keeping them clean of food residue; and
- Removing backyard bird-feeders April through November (birds have plenty of wild food sources during this time).
“Keeping bears wild is a community effort that benefits people as well as our largest native land mammal,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Using care to avoid attracting bears now will help keep them wild and keep everyone as safe as possible throughout the year.”
Black bears are most common in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties, but they can also be seen dispersing and traveling throughout much of Maryland in the spring and summer months.
More information on living with bears is available online. Any bear-related issues or questions can be directed to 301-777-2136 or 410-260-8888 for emergency or after-hours calls.