As a journalist, I take no position on the hunting of animals.
As a scaredy-cat, I do know with two kids running around my house that I am generally opposed to black bears strolling through my neighborhood, even if they often aren’t as dangerous as grizzlies.
Black bears certainly do enjoy living around here, with our tasty combination of lush forests and high-end garbage. They have turned up recently in Fairfax County and Bethesda, perhaps fleeing the upcoming bear hunt in Maryland.
Not prepared? I understand. I’m here for you. Here are some facts I learned about our bears and the upcoming hunt from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources:
* A lottery for 260 bear hunting permits in Maryland started last month and ends Sept. 1.
* The black bear is the largest mammal native to Maryland. (Sorry, Terps.)
* Where do they live? Statewide — until European settlers made themselves comfortable starting in the 1600s. (Anyone remember the gentrification of Maryland?) Now the bears mostly live in Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties. They do not pay taxes.
* Our bears were endangered in the 1960s and 70s. Today the population is considered healthy and thriving.
* It is against the law to hunt bears on Sunday. Also, Chick-fil-A is closed Sundays.
* If a bear takes refuge in a den, hunters cannot chase or disturb him. The same goes for me if I take refuge in my basement.
* “Bait, scent attractants or electronic calls” — prohibited.
* Actually, the account doesn’t belong to the bears because I doubt they would have tweeted this the other day: “Do you have black bear hunting in Maryland on your ‘bucket list’? It should be.”