Maryland DNR reminds of increased black bear activity this fall

13 October 2023- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds residents that black bears are beginning a period of increased feeding activity in preparation for winter hibernation. As the leaves change and the weather cools, bears become more active as they search for food.

During this time, bears will travel across roads more frequently. They also can become more attracted to human-provided food sources and lose their natural fear of people, which can be dangerous for both people and bears.

Residents and visitors should note that keeping bird feeders, pet food and trash in a place where bears can’t get to them is the best way to avoid problems. Marylanders should also delay filling songbird feeders until the winter months to avoid attracting bears.

“Fall is a great time of the year to see bears, but it is still up to Maryland residents and visitors to keep these bears wild,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Karina Stonesifer said. 

Black bears in Maryland are concentrated in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties, but are known to roam into other northern and central counties. 

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 being inside dens by mid-December.

More information about living with black bears can be found online or by calling 410-260-8540 or 301-777-2136.