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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, but they can also be seen dispersing and traveling throughout much of Maryland in the spring and summer months.

In the spring of 2015 a black bear visited the UpCounty, first being sighted in Damascus the bear worked his way south to Germantown.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds residents that sightings in suburban areas are not uncommon this time of year. Back in 2015, Candy Thompson, spokesperson for the Maryland Natural Resources Police told Germantown Pulse that it was not unusual to see bears in Upcounty Montgomery County, especially at this time of year.

Thompson explained that black bears produce offspring every two years, and mother bears who had given birth two years ago are urging their not two-year-olds to find their own range so she can reproduce again.

“Bears will be anywhere there is food,” said Thompson. “If people have their garbage outside or have food in bird feeders the bears will eat it. Once there is no food source the bear will move along.”

More information on living with bears is available online. Any bear-related issues or questions can be directed to 301-777-2136.

Photo courtesy Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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