A Maryland lady shot a 643-pound black bear on the opening day of the state’s brief bear looking season, and officers at Maryland’s Division of Pure Assets (MDNR) say it’s the heaviest hunter-harvested bear on document. 

The hunter, recognized solely by her first identify, Melissa, shot the bear on October 23 close to her house in Garrett County, in accordance with an MDNR tweet posted October 25. “This Garrett Co. male bear is the biggest bear ever harvested throughout Maryland black bear season and is a brand new state document,” MDNR reported. The earlier document was a 615-pound Garrett County bear tagged in 2007.

The bear was one in all 24 taken on the opening day of Maryland’s six-day season, which permits looking within the 4 western counties of Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington. The overall take for the season, which ended October 28, was 103—the identical as final 12 months. The typical estimated dwell weight of bears killed this 12 months was 166 kilos, in comparison with 177 kilos final 12 months. 

“It is a bear that we’ve been getting experiences about for the final 12 months or two, a really massive bear that native residents have been getting both images on their path cameras or that they had been seeing,” Jonathan Trudeau, Recreation Mammal Part Chief for the MDNR instructed Area & Stream. “It’s a bear the locals knew was within the space, and she or he was simply very lucky to be out on the primary morning of the hunt. She was in a position to get a very good shot, and it didn’t go very far.”

Maryland relaunched its bear season in two counties (Allegany and Garrett) in 2004 after a 51-year hiatus. In 2016 Frederick and Washington counties had been added to the hunt. The variety of permits and bears harvested has steadily elevated from 200 and 20 that first 12 months; this 12 months 950 permits had been granted in a lottery drawing that drew about 4,500 candidates.

The historical past of bears in Maryland follows a well-recognized sample: The considerable inhabitants that existed when settlers arrived was almost worn out by unrestricted looking and clearing of forest habitat for farming that started within the 1600s and 1700s and continued into the early 1900s. By 1954, when the state suspended bear looking, solely a small variety of animals held on within the western a part of the state. Aided by forest restoration and strict conservation measures (together with itemizing on the state endangered species checklist in 1972), bear numbers bounced again. In Garrett County, bear density numbers improved from 12 per 100 sq. miles in 1991 to 64.5 per 100 sq. miles in 2011. The state is now house to an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 black bears.

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“The black bear hunt is only one index that we use to watch our inhabitants,” Trudeau says. “We use a few different indices to watch our inhabitants traits comparable to nuisance complaints and issues of that nature, and what our hunt and people different indices counsel is that Maryland has a really wholesome black bear inhabitants that seems to be increasing and rising, very similar to many different components of the Mid-Atlantic area.”

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