Black bear hunting in Maryland is generally restricted to the western region of the state. The mountainous terrain and untouched wildlands in this area is ideal habitat for bear, and offers excellent hunting opportunities. A challenging hunt, black bear roam vast areas with intense awareness of their surroundings. For a hunter to take a wild black bear is a true achievement.

105697583Black bear are located primarily in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick counties. Populations are highest in Garrett and Allegany counties, with numbers continuing to rise throughout the western region of Maryland. Although evidence of a breeding population is confined to the western four counties, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources receives several bear sightings and complaints in central and southern Maryland counties each year. Bears are the largest mammals in Maryland. Adult bears usually weigh between 125 and 400 pounds, although bears weighing 600 pounds or more are not uncommon.

  • October (Exact Dates Change Yearly)

Black bear season is open only for a few days in October, and only to lottery winners. Lucky winners of licenses will be allowed to hunt in Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick Counties.

For information on seasons, sizes and bag limits, click HERE.

Obtaining a black bear hunting license involves an application process and a lottery system. Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources issues a limited number of permits that are valid within designated bear hunting areas (Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties). Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Bear Seasons and Regulations page for more information.

Obtaining a black bear hunting license involves an application process and a lottery system. To apply, each applicant must pay a $15 nonrefundable application fee and may only enter once. Applicants must possess a valid Hunter Safety Certificate or have held a hunting license for at least 37 years to apply. Hunters will be able to apply through their DNR COMPASS account (account application/registration can be found at or via telephone at 1-855-855-3906. Each successful applicant may designate up to two sub-permittees who will be allowed to participate in every aspect of the hunt. Only one black bear may be harvested per hunting party.

A detailed overview of black bear hunting regulations can be viewed on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ website, and will be provided to all lottery winners.

Money generated from the sale of licenses goes directly to the conservation, protection, and preservation of Maryland’s natural habitat and cherished wildlife. Maryland DNR works tirelessly to maintain a healthy population of bear and the regulations needed to sustain hunting in Maryland. Changes in regulations, dates, and requirements vary year-to-year. Please check with DNR frequently for the most up-to-date information.