The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the conclusion of the 2009 black bear hunting season. The season opened Monday, October 26 in Garrett and Allegany counties. The hunt was officially closed Thursday, October 29, at 9 p.m. with 68 bears reported to mandatory check stations in Western Maryland.

Harry Spiker, Game Mammal Section Leader for DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service, said “The 2009 bear hunt was an unqualified success. Despite marginal weather conditions most of the week, our harvest range of 60-85 bears was met in four days. The hunt remains a safe, effective, well-regulated and scientifically sound tool for sustainably managing our bear population.”

Spiker added, “The new permit application preference point system proved effective this year. More than 3,600 hunters applied for one of the 240 available bear hunting permits and 81% of the permits were awarded to applicants with one or more preference points”.   

The average estimated live weight of the bears taken this year was 140 lbs. The largest bear of the season was a 409 lb. male taken by Wayne Chenoweth of Westminster, MD.

The hunt by the numbers:

Harvest goal: 60-85 bears
68 bears taken
60 from Garrett County, 8 from Allegany County
140 lbs. average weight
74% of the bears were taken on private land
4 bears were previously tagged and treated as nuisance bears
552 hunters participated in the hunt and 3,608 hunters applied for a permit  

For more information about Maryland’s black bears visit