Maryland Black Bear Trophy Killing Starts Monday!
On Monday (10/26/15), Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) once again allowed Maryland’s black bears to be trophy hunted. There are no quotas on the total number of bears the hunters can kill.
Even the baby bears, called cubs, are legal. Some killed in the past were under 6 months old.
Children can hunt too, wielding high-powered rifles as weapons assuming they have the proper licenses. Five year olds have passed the necessary Maryland “Hunter Education Requirements.” In addition, hunters may use bows and arrows as killing instruments: A practice requiring them to hit the bear with an arrow, then wait and track it after it suffers from its wound while "bleeding out", assuming the hunter can even find the bear at all after it runs away hurt.
DNR has ignored the wishes of the majority of Marylanders, who oppose bear hunting (according a survey conducted by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies). DNR has also refused a $75,000 offer from HSUS to pay farmers for alleged crop damage caused by black bears in return for not opening bear hunting season at all.
DNR has yet to produce any scientific evidence supporting a need for holding these generalized bear hunts. Instead, virtually all of the written documentation points to requests by hunting lobby groups asking DNR for a bear hunting season.
Bear hunting in Maryland represents a classic example of how the less than 2% of Marylanders who hunt, have a stranglehold on our statewide elected politicians, and our DNR policies and philosophy about wildlife management in our state. Time for change is long overdue.
You can email Governor Larry Hogan here. Express your outrage over this killing. Tell him that you will spread the word, and that animal issues are a top priority for you at the polls! Together we can save our bears – they have nobody but us!
Some background: here is how bear hunting started up again in Maryland.
Historically, after hunters killed practically all of Maryland’s black bears, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) closed bear hunting season in the early 1950s, and placed our state’s black bears on the endangered species list in 1972.
Decades later, a small population of black bears rebounded in Western Maryland residing in an area of almost 2200 square miles! Like clockwork, when Robert Ehrlich became governor, with Maryland’s sportsmens’ groups supported by the farm bureau clamoring to kill our bears, Ehrlich gave back to his political supporters – the hunters.
Governor Ehrlich ignored a 12-7 vote of the Maryland Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review committee’s decision against reopening bear hunting season and allowed bear hunting to go forward, over pleas from local animal welfare supporters, letters, television messages, rallies, public debate, and requests by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).