Bear carrying ear of corn

Sure, “a plague of bears” doesn’t have the same ring as “a plague of locusts,” but it turns out that black bears can wreak their own kind of havoc on crops throughout Maryland.

A dozen farmers, mostly in the western part of the state, reported bear damaged crops in 2015. All told, bears consumed more than $23,000 worth of free (to them) snacks — mostly corn, but also oats and honey, too.

Black bears are still endangered in many states after overhunting and habitat encrouachment; in recent years, though, populations have been rebounding across the U.S., but particularly in the mid-Atlantic–so much so that Maryland has been considering expanding its bear hunting program. More bears would likely mean more crop damage in the future… unless we can get these guys hooked on picnic baskets instead.