Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

DNR black bear den survey proves productive

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — Last month, as he does every March, Garrett County resident Harry Spiker checked on black bear sows and their cubs as they slept in their dens.

Spiker is a game mammal section leader for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He is also Maryland’s principal black bear biologist coordinating bear research and management activities statewide. Since he lives and works in Garrett County, he also helps with bear management and nuisance issues locally.

“We maintain a sample of radio-collared sows (female bears) to track population growth and the overall health of the bear population,” Spiker said. “We try to maintain approximately 20 bears with radios across the four western counties. Since bears give birth every other year, that usually has us working about 10 bear dens per year but there are fluctuations as some bears may die, move away, den in unreachable places, etc.”

To read the full article click here.

Memorial Day Weekend: A Holiday for ALL Garrett County Visitors!

Memorial Day Weekend kicked off Deep Creek Lake’s summer tourism season! However, it was not just humans enjoying the lake.

Take a look at some of the black bear sightings from the weekend!


Click here to see a family’s new swimming buddy.

Black Bears Swim Sky Valley-Deep Creek Lake

Some cool video from local resident Logan Marks (http://www.loganmarksmedia.com) of black bears swimming & playing in Deep Creek Lake at Sky Valley. He shot this from his kayak ‘whilst holding his poodle’ and camera gear.

Sky Valley CubsI was trying my best to get photos, but I did shoot a few clips. Sorry for the wobbly video. It was pretty challenging to get steady shots on a kayak whilst holding a 3lb poodle and a camera with a 70-200 lens.

Posted by Marks Media on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Maryland black bear hunt yields record 95 bears


(AP) – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says hunters killed a record-high 95 black bears during last week’s four-day hunt.

The total is one more than the number of bears killed in 2013.

Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto says the results show that Maryland’s bear population is healthy. He says hunting is an essential tool for slowing the growth of the population.

Read More Here:  http://www.wmdt.com/news/more-local-news/Maryland-black-bear-hunt-yields-record-95-bears/36211822

Seasonal Black Bear Sightings Increase in Suburban Areas

While black bears are typically found in western Maryland (Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties), sightings in suburban areas are not uncommon this time of year.

In May and June of each year, 1 ½ year-old bears disperse, sometimes more than 100 miles, to find a suitable territory of their own. In recent years, DNR has confirmed black bear sightings in Montgomery, Carroll, Baltimore, Howard, Harford, Cecil, Anne Arundel, and Prince George’s counties. Sightings typically peak in late June and early July, but may persist throughout summer months. These juvenile bears, which can weigh anywhere between 65 and 200 pounds, eventually move on to more attractive bear habitat.

DNR advises that black bears may be seen any time of day and are typically not aggressive. Below are precautions and tips when dealing with bear encounters.

Read More Here:  http://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2015/06/24/seasonal-black-bear-sightings-increase-in-suburban-areas/#more-8748

Baby boom boosting Maryland's black bear population

GARRETT COUNTY, Md. —A baby boom is boosting the black bear population in Maryland, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

DNR officials estimate that 750 bear cubs were born in western Maryland this season.

As the ice melts on Deep Creek Lake, teams from the DNR are carrying out a rite of spring in western Maryland, tracking newborn black bears.

But before bear biologist Harry Spiker can count cubs, he has to tranquilize the mother bear. Veterinarians give the sedated mother, called a sow, a checkup.

“We look at how healthy the sow is, number of cubs, how healthy they look, and it gives them an idea of the health of the whole population here,” said Ellen Bronson, a senior veterinarian from The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Read More Here:  http://www.wbaltv.com/news/baby-boom-boosting-marylands-black-bear-population/32030480

Black Bear Activity Increases in the Fall

Baby Bear

Cooling fall temperatures signal black bears to begin a period of increased feeding activity to prepare for hibernation. During this time bears may be attracted to human-provided food sources ─ such as trash, pet food and birdfeeders ─ and lose their natural fear of people, which can lead to dangerous encounters and conflicts.

Keeping trash and pet food in a place where bears can’t get to it is the best way to avoid problems with bears. Citizens should also delay feeding songbirds until the winter months to avoid attracting these animals.

Read More Here:  http://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2014/10/10/black-bear-activity-increases-in-the-fall/

Couple injured in motorcycle crash with bear

From Staff Reports

Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — A Westminster couple was injured Tuesday when they were thrown from their motorcycle after striking a bear on Herrington Manor Road, according to the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office.

William Wantz, 59, and Debra Wantz, 58, were both taken to the hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries following the 11:15 a.m. crash.

Police said William Wantz was riding a 2007 Harley-Davidson with Debra Wantz as a passenger when the bear entered the southbound lane. Wantz was unable to avoid striking the 75-pound bear, which was killed.

Southern Garrett Rescue Squad and Oakland Volunteer Fire Department  responded.

More here.

DNR Urges Western Marylanders to Be Mindful of Bears

Bears are beginning to leave their winter dens and search for food now that their long winter slumber has come to an end.  Since natural foods are scarce in the early spring, they often seek out human-provided sources. Those living in, or visiting bear country can help keep Maryland’s black bears wild by being proactive and exercising good judgment.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges residents to clean or remove anything outdoors that may smell like food. This includes:

  • locking garbage in a bear-proof trash container, or keep it inside a building until the day of pick-up;
  • rinsing trash containers with ammonia to eliminate food odors;
  • storing cooking grills inside or keep them clean of food residue; and
  • removing birdfeeders from April through November ─ there are many wild food sources for birds during this time period.

For more information on living and camping around bears click here or call the Western Region DNR Service Center at 301-777-2136.

Keep up to date with DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service on Facebook and Twitter @MDDNRWildlife.

More here.

Growing Black Bear Population Leads To Increased Hunt

GARRETT COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A growing black bear population means more bears are being hunted this week in Maryland.

Alex DeMetrick reports like the bears, the hunt is spreading.

As Deep Creek Lake settles into autumn, trucks pull in and out of a Department of Natural Resources check-in station carrying dead black bears. There is no restriction on size or age during the annual hunt, but there is a promise.

“What we promised all along–we would never wipe out the bear population with this well-regulated hunt,” said Paul Peditto, DNR.

Nine years ago, when the hunt started, there were 500 bears in Maryland. Now it’s estimated at 1,000, so the harvest quota is up. Thirty bears were taken the first year of the hunt in 2004. This year, between 95 and 130 will be taken as their range has spread from Garrett and Allegany counties east into Washington and Frederick counties.

More here.