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Reduce Human Bear Conflicts

photo of black bear

Annapolis, Md. (June 12, 2012) — Bears are moving throughout Maryland. It is important to observe bears from afar and minimize human-bear interactions by reducing sources of food that humans unintentionally leave available to the bears. Bears will readily take advantage of human-provided food sources. Those living in, or visiting bear country can help keep Maryland’s black bears wild by being proactive and exercising good judgment.

“Keeping bears wild is a community effort that benefits both bears and people,” said the Maryland Department of Resources’ (DNR) Game Mammal Section Leader, Harry Spiker. “A few simple precautionary measures can make all the difference.”

Trash and birdfeeders are two food sources that often lure bears into residential areas. Trash should be locked in bear-proof containers or inside a building until the day pick-up. Additionally, rinsing trashcans with ammonia will help to eliminate any food odors that might attract a bear. Outdoor grills can also be an attractant to bears and should be stored indoors when possible or thoroughly cleaned regularly to remove food residue.

Homeowners should remove birdfeeders from April through November to avoid attracting bears. Songbirds will not suffer from the change, because there are many wild food sources for birds during this time of year. For those who insist on feeding birds during this time, be sure to bring the feeders in at night when most bears are active. For more on how to avoid bears encounters call the Western Region DNR Service Center at 301-777-2136 or visit

   June 12, 2012

Contact: Sgt. A.A. Windemuth
410-260-8003 office | 410-713-8449 cell

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 247 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, the NRP provide a variety of services in addition to conservation, maritime and law enforcement duties throughout the State of Maryland. These services include homeland security, search and rescue, emergency medical services, education, information and communications services on a round the clock basis. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at