Hunters in Maryland killed the highest ever total of black bears this fall.
According to the state Department of Natural Resources, the black bear hunting season resulted in 167 bears. The previous record was 95 bears. A couple of tweaks are likely behind the new total, as all four Western Maryland counties were opened up to hunting. The vast majority (13o) were killed in Garrett County, where hunting was already allowed before this year. That would’ve been a record on its own.
Despite black bear sightings in Baltimore County and other suburban locales around the state, hunting is still not allowed there. But the hunt is designed to control the population, as bears tend to wander if there isn’t enough food to go around in their natural habitat.
Nevertheless, the practice of hunting has critics. Nationally, a hunter’s killing of the Northern New Jersey black bear Pedals, who walked like a human on two legs, set off controversy. Maryland Votes for Animals also opposes the annual weeklong hunt, calling it a “trophy hunt.”
“A trophy hunt is utterly out of place and time, and it reflects very badly on the DNR and on the State of Maryland. Bears are a welcome natural resource to be protected. They should be allowed to live out their natural lives as best they can. They ask nothing of us in return,” a petition stated.
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