Maryland's black bear hunt lottery now open amidst surge in local sightings

Yogi, Paddington, and Winnie aren’t going to like this.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for the 2023 black bear hunt lottery, which gives prospective hunters a shot at winning one of 950 permits to hunt the bears in Alleghany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties over a six-day stretch in October.

This will be Maryland’s 20th black bear season, and it comes as local bear sightings have exploded. 

Throughout the region in recent months, there have been bear sightings in Stafford, Gainesville, D.C., Frederick, Rockville, and elsewhere too.


Several black bear sightings reported in Arlington County

Arlington County’s animal shelter and humane society has received several reports of black bear sightings, according to officials.

"It has definitely generated a little bit more interest," said the DNR’s Jonathan Trudeau.

In Maryland, the number of permits issued for each black bear hunt varies from year to year, with the DNR setting the numbers on a two-year cycle. So in this case, the number of permits for the 2023 season was set in 2021.


FOX 5 asked Trudeau whether more bear hunting permits may be handed out in future years given all the recent sightings.

"It’s really tough to say what’s going to happen," he replied. "You know we have a lot of information out there that we need to review and consider before we make any decisions such as that, but we do have a very healthy black bear population that can support a highly regulated harvest."

For more information on the 2023 black bear hunt lottery click here.