Maryland Black Bear Conservation Program
The Black Bear Conservation Stamp Program began in 1996. Authorized by the Maryland General Assembly, the stamp generates funds that are used to compensate farmers who have reported damage to agricultural crops caused by black bears. Stamps may be purchased for a minimum contribution of $5.00 and are available on the department's website, or through any of the Department of Natural Resources Service Centers located throughout Maryland, or by calling 1-800-873-3763.
Why are there more Black Bears?
The growing black bear population is the result of several factors. Since the early 1900s, the quality of Maryland's wetlands and forest lands have been improving, following the end of decades of unregulated cutting of trees and destruction of wetland habitat in Western Maryland. Improving habitat conditions throughout the tri-state region prompted bear relocation efforts by the state of Pennsylvania. The success of this program, coupled with various bear management programs employed by West Virginia, helped generate a spillover of bears into Maryland during the 1970s and 1980s. The improving habitat conditions in Western Maryland invited black bears back to an area they had historically occupied. Public support of law enforcement efforts to thwart illegal hunting of black bears insured that black bears would succeed in their new habitat.