As autumn settles in, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources issues a reminder to residents about the increased activity of black bears preparing for their winter hibernation. The seasonal change, marked by falling leaves and cooler weather, prompts bears to intensify their search for food.
One notable behavior during this period is the heightened frequency of bears crossing roads, posing potential risks to motorists. Moreover, as bears become more active, there is an increased likelihood of them being attracted to human-provided food sources, losing their natural fear of people, and creating potential dangers for both humans and bears alike.
The primary recommendation for residents and visitors is to secure bird feeders, pet food, and trash in locations inaccessible to bears. Taking these precautions helps mitigate the risk of bears venturing closer to human-inhabited areas. Additionally, Marylanders are urged to postpone filling songbird feeders until the winter months to avoid unintentionally drawing bears closer.
“Fall is a great time of the year to see bears, but it is still up to Maryland residents and visitors to keep these bears wild,” emphasized Karina Stonesifer, Director of Wildlife and Heritage Service.
While black bears are predominantly concentrated in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties, occasional sightings are reported in other northern and central counties as well. Due to their extensive search for food, motorists in Maryland’s western counties, especially during October and November, are reminded to remain vigilant for bears crossing roads.
The period of increased bear activity will gradually subside as bears begin entering dens in mid-November, with the majority seeking shelter by mid-December.
Residents seeking more information on coexisting with black bears can find resources online or contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 410-260-8540 or 301-777-2136. Staying informed and adopting preventative measures ensures a safer and harmonious interaction between Maryland’s human residents and its vibrant black bear population.