Black Bear Task Force
Report and Recommendations
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources
March 28, 2003
E: BLACK BEAR TASK FORCE ISSUES AND CONCERNS
Negative impacts caused by bears scavenging in residential trash and
associated trash management, particularly around Deep Creek Lake.
Timeliness of DNR's response to bear complaints, effectiveness of
technical assistance, and customer satisfaction. What does a landowner
do when they have followed all of DNR's recommendations but the problem
about public safety, e.g. bear-vehicle collisions, harassing campers
and homeowners, and injury to humans and pets. The greater the bear
population becomes the higher the risk of dealing with potentially
aggressive bears. Humans are injured and or killed by black bears in
about agricultural damage caused by bears to include destruction of
beehives, killing of livestock, and destroying crops (sweet corn,
fruit trees, etc.).
about long term health and bear population viability.
that DNR via a public participation process has not identified a
black bear population objective for Maryland.
that we may not be making the best use of available data in making
management decisions regarding black bears.
about an apparent lack of conservation law enforcement relative to
the enforcement of existing black bear laws and regulations.
that there appears not to be an integration of public policy in
regards to the management of black bears as a public resource, e.g.
there is no black bear habitat conservation plan in place that has
about Maryland's Black Bear damage reimbursement program. With Black
Bear damage to agricultural crops ranging from $12K to $20K each
year, there is no reason that this fund should not be able to raise
enough money to compensate farmers for 100% of eligible bear damage.
about the overall impact of the relatively large proportion of DNR's
wildlife management budget that is expended on managing bears. The
bear resource is relatively expensive to manage and escalating bear
management costs have resulted in a reduction in other wildlife
program funding, e.g. wildlife habitat conservation and management.
charismatic public appeal for this species provides a unique
opportunity for alternative wildlife funding initiatives. It can be
understood why hunters are frustrated and do not want to continue to
pay the majority of the bear management costs when DNR is on record
as not supporting a bear hunting season.
not acknowledged by most citizens, restoration and ongoing
management (bear research and nuisance control) of the black bear in
Maryland has been accomplished with funding provided by hunters.
Concerned that hunting license fees and associated federal funds
generated from excise taxes on hunting equipment pay for most bear
management activities in Maryland; yet DNR is on record as not
supporting a regulated hunting season for bears.
Values (Economic, Sociological, Political) vs. Biological Considerations
that DNR, as the public agency responsible for the management of
bears, may not have an accurate perception of the desire, attitudes,
and values that citizens place on black bears.
diverse values and opinions associated with black bears provide a
unique management challenge for the DNR, there is concern that DNR
has failed to take a leadership position in managing this species.
It is unclear to the public of DNR's intention to manage this
species as either a "Game" or "Non-game"
wildlife species. The present classification of bears as a
"Game" mammal has instilled in the hunting community the
expectation that at some point bear hunting will be allowed in
Maryland. Traditional game management principles utilize regulated
hunting as an effective mechanism to regulate the population of a
game species at an acceptable level.
about the lack of public education in solving human-bear problems.
about irresponsible human behavior and the subsequent negative
consequences for both humans and bears.
that there is a lack of public education regarding the benefits that
black bears provide to society.
that although it is against the law, people continue to feed bears.
bears are a public resource. The decision making process should be
sensitive to the divergent recreational opportunities that bears
provide to include wildlife viewing, wildlife photography, potential
for regulated hunting, and intrinsic values.
TO TABLE OF CONTENTS