Black Bear Sightings Increase This Time Of Year

DNR Bear expert says these animals are looking for food and a place to stay.


This is the time of year when it’s not unusual to see a bear in your back yard or your community. Harry Spiker with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources says these black bears are juveniles, and they have been kicked out of their dens by their mothers. These animals are looking for food and a place to stay.

“Bears are territorial and they kind of get bumped from one spot to another because not all bears want to share their food resources,” he says. “May and June is the peak dispersal time for those teenagers if you will. And that leads into June and July when the bears breed.”

Spiker says black bears have been detected mostly in western Maryland, Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett Counties. In past years, he says bears were usually found in the Gambrill Park area of Frederick County, but they’ve been spotted in other parts of the county, and in other parts of the state.

One way to keep bears off of your property is not leave food in the yard or on the back porch. “Lock your trash until the day of pickup. Take it out the morning it’s going to be picked up, not the night before” he says.

In addition, Spiker says remove any bird feeders. “If you feed your pets outside, just give them enough food for that meal so it does lead to an attraction for the bears or other critters, raccoons and such,” he says.

And if you encounter a black bear, don’t panic, and don’t crouch down. “So you want to stay up. A lot of people crouch down to take pictures, and they get quiet. And that’s the wrong response. You want to talk to it in a firm voice,” Spiker said. “Treat it like you would a stray dog. Don’t stare it in the eye. And if you need to back out, just back out the way you came.”

He says many black bears tend to avoid humans.



By Kevin McManus