Black Bear Season Now Closed In Maryland - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Black Bear Season Now Closed In Maryland

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MARYLAND - The 11th annual Maryland black bear hunt ended Thursday with a total of 69 bears harvested. For the first time, the hunt was carried out as a four-day season instead of being guided by a predetermined quota.

?Harry Spiker, DNR's lead bear biologist, said he was pleased with the results despite the final total, which was below last year's record of 94. The hunt was complicated by cold, wet and windy conditions coupled with a generally poor acorn crop—a primary bear food source–this fall.

“Despite those factors we were well within our 10-year harvest average for this hunt,” said Spiker, the Game Mammal Section Leader. “We will review the results from this season and incorporate the data into decisions that might further improve the success of this effort in coming seasons.”

?Paul Peditto, director of DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Service said he was pleased with the outcome under the new format.

“More than 1,000 hunters enjoyed the opportunity to pursue this great game animal in the wilds of western Maryland this week. A few took home a bear and some excellent game for the table. All of them carried home the memories of time afield with friends and family. By any measure, that makes this hunt a success,” Peditto said.

Bonnie Kelley, 71, of Accident checked in the first bear of the season on Monday.

Kelley shot the male bear, 219 pounds field dressed, on private land off Rock Lodge Road in Garrett County, at about 8:30 a.m. 

The bear was tagged as a cub by biologists two years ago in Savage River State Forest, about six miles from where Kelley killed it. Biologists estimated the live weight at 259 pounds.

After years of research, population study and public outreach, Maryland officials revived the bear hunt in 2004 after a 51-year moratorium.

Kelley, a long-time hunter who served on both the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission and the state's first black bear task force, was overjoyed to take part in a season she helped foster.

“I'm thrilled to pieces,” Kelley said. “The bear population is healthy and growing. It is good to see the state's biologists doing such a wonderful job managing the species.”

The 2014 Maryland Black Bear hunt by the numbers:

– A total of 3,631 hunters applied for a permit and 450 permits were issued, representing 1,061 hunters.

– The heaviest bear checked in weighed 418 pounds, and was taken by Garrett Hoffman of Swanton. The average weight was 143 pounds.

– A total of 52 percent of the bears were taken on private land; 45 percent of the successful hunters were from Garrett and Allegany counties

– Hunters checked in 57 bears from Garrett County and 12 from Allegany County.

Peditto said the 2014 black bear hunt “remains? a highlight of the great work carried out by our bear team, our land managers in the state parks, state forests and wildlife management areas, and the men and women of Natural Resources Police. The hunt is a flawless model for safe, sustainable scientific wildlife management and has met every goal we set more than a decade ago.”  

NRP said there were no hunting-related injuries reported. Officers cited six people on the first day of the season for illegal bear hunting.

David Matthew Bishop, 43, of Hagerstown, and Mitchell Gaynes Bishop, 18, of Mount Airy, were charged with hunting bear with the aid of bait. David Bishop also was charged with bear hunting with improper ammunition. Mitchell Bishop also was charged with bear hunting with a handgun producing less than 700 pounds of muzzle energy. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1,000.

Arthur Tracey Jerin Jr., 61, of Falling Waters, West Va., was cited for hunting bear with the aid of bait. 

Wessley Darrell Ringgold, 59, of Lusby, was charged with hunting bear with the aid of bait.

Adam Grant Rounds, 25, of Grantsville, was charged with hunting bear with the aid of bait.

All violators are scheduled to appear in Garrett District Court on Dec. 11.

In Allegany County, Jesse Bates Walls Jr., 66, Chestertown, was charged with hunting bear with the aid of bait. He is scheduled to appear in Allegany District Court on Dec. 11.
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