News from the DNR Office of Communications

Avoid Springtime Conflicts With Bears

Annapolis, Md. (March 31, 2011) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would like to remind people that black bears are currently coming out of hibernation. Those living in, or visiting bear country can help keep Maryland’s black bears wild by being proactive and exercising good judgment.

“Being bear-aware can allow citizens to avoid bear related problems before they develop,” said Harry Spiker, DNR’s game mammal section leader. “Keeping them wild is a community effort that benefits both the bears and people.”

After their long winter slumber, bears leave their dens and begin looking for food. Natural foods are scarce in the early spring and bears will often take advantage of human-provided food sources if they are available. Generally, this creates problems for both the bears and people.

Trash and birdfeeders are two food sources that often lure bears into residential areas. Trash should be locked in a bear-proof trash container or inside a building until the day of trash pick-up so that bears cannot access it. Rinsing trash cans with ammonia after they are emptied will help to eliminate any food odors that might attract a bear.

Homeowners should also remove birdfeeders from April through November to avoid attracting bears. Songbirds will not suffer as there are many food sources for birds during this time period. If you insist on feeding birds during this time you should bring the feeders in at night when most bears are active. This will not only prevent bears from eating the birdseed but will also prevent them from destroying the feeder.

Outdoor grills can also be an attractant to bears and should be stored in a building when possible or thoroughly cleaned regularly to remove food residue.

For more information on living with black bears please call the Western Region DNR Service Center at 301-777-2136 or visit us online

   March 31, 20111

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at