Black bears are beginning a period of increased feeding activity in preparation for winter hibernation. During this time, bears may become more attracted to human-provided food sources and lose their natural fear of people, which can lead to dangerous encounters.

Keeping trash, pet food and birdfeeders in a place where bears can’t get to them is the best way to avoid problems with the omnivores. Marylander should also delay feeding songbirds until the winter months to avoid attracting bears.

Since bears may travel many miles in search of food, motorists traveling in Maryland’s western counties are reminded to watch for them crossing roads, especially during October and November. Bears will begin entering dens in mid-November, with most denned by mid-December.

To learn more about living with black bears, click here or contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife & Heritage Service at 410-260-8540, or in the western region at 301-777-2136.

To help manage populations, Maryland hosts an annual bear hunt in Garrett and Allegany counties from Oct. 26-29. DNR randomly selected 500 hunters this year from a record breaking 4,300 applicants.