Attitudes Toward Management Of Black Bears In Maryland
48% of respondents ‘reported that they know a little about black bears in Maryland’ and 2% of respondents ‘reported that they know a great deal about black bears in Maryland’ (the latter being highly concentrated in the Western Region).
55% of respondents ‘believe black bears are rare in Maryland,’ 29% ‘believe black bears are common,’ and 3% ‘believe black bears are abundant.’ However, among Western Region respondents 53% believe black bears are common, 24% believe they are abundant, and 18% believe they are rare.
‘The mean of respondents’ estimate of the number of black bears living in Maryland is 1661.’
44% of respondents ‘believe the black bear population in Maryland is at about the right level’ (most common answer) but 47% of Western Region respondents ‘said that the black bear population in Maryland is too high.’
92% of respondents ‘have never encountered a black bear in the wild in Maryland’ but 65% of Western Region respondents have.
74% of those who encountered a black bear in Maryland ‘described their encounter as a very or somewhat positive experience.’ Of those who described their encounter as negative, 44% ‘said the black bear was aggressive.’
98% of respondents ‘have not had problems with black bears in their neighborhoods or around their homes in the past 2 years’ however 24% of Western Region respondents have.
Those who had problems with black bears in the past 2 years cited problems with birdfeeders (36%) and garbage (29%). 93% ‘did not contact anyone as a result of the problem.’
61% ‘strongly or moderately support allowing the black bear population to expand naturally into other parts of Maryland.’
91% of respondents ‘agree that most problems with black bears in Maryland can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions’ and 23% ‘agree that black bears will kill many livestock and pets in Maryland.’ 52% ‘moderately or strongly disagree that black bears in Maryland are dangerous to humans’ (while 35% strongly or moderately agree).
92% ‘support requiring people visiting or living in black bear habitat to practice good sanitation practices and trash management.’
57% showed ‘support for depredation permits for black bears that cause damage to livestock or pets,’ 44% supported them for ‘black bears that cause damage to personal property or crops,’ 20% supported ‘allowing private citizens to kill bears that are causing damage to personal property or crops without first obtaining a depredation permit from the Maryland DNR.’
65% ‘support regulated hunting as a way to control black bear populations in Maryland’ and 29% oppose it. 59% ‘strongly or moderately support passive management of black bears’ while 35% oppose it. 29% get their information from the newspaper, 17% from television, 16% from word-of-mouth, 14% from magazines, 12% from the Internet (minus DNR’s website), 9% from family and friends.