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State Dept. of Natural Resources Reminds Marylanders That Black Bears Emerging from Winter Dens

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is reminding residents that spring means flowers and warmer temperatures, and bears. It is the time when black bears are emerging from their dens, after a long winter slumber, in a search for food and sustenance.

However due to the fact that natural food sources, such as berries, insects and plants are still in short supply in early spring, 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.

Specific recommendations include:

• Locking garbage in a bear-proof trash bin or storing trash containers in a locked garage or shed;

• 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 mammals,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Using care to avoid attracting bears now will help keep them wild and everyone as safe as possible throughout the year.”

Black bears are most common in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties,