Maryland Black Bear Hunting Season

Update:  As of October 28, the total bear harvest is 86 bears (33 males, 53 females). The county breakdown is Garrett with 60, Allegany at 15, Washington checking in 7 and Frederick with 4. The largest bear of the season was harvested Friday, October 28, a male with an estimated live weight of 427 lbs.


Black Bear hunting season is open for six days beginning Monday, October 24, 2022 through Saturday, October 29, 2022. Designated as a “Maryland” season, the black bear hunting zone is only available in Western Maryland ie- Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. The goal of the hunt is to slow the growth of western Maryland’s growing black bear population.

Only one black bear may be harvested by a permittee/sub-permittee hunting team.

The following are the Garrett County public lands where hunting is allowed:

Deep Creek Lake State Park 

Deep Creek Lake State Park has a 1,200 acre hunting area. The rugged terrain, mature forests, upland bogs, and dense cover offer excellent bear hunting opportunities. Hunting is permitted in the park’s backcountry areas. The managed hunting areas are posted. For more information call 301-387-5563.

Mt. Nebo Wildlife Management Area

Dominated by mixed hardwood forest in various age classes, this 1,863-acre tract is located in southwestern Garrett County. Mount Nebo Wildlife Management Area protects two red spruce bogs, a unique type of wetland habitat. More than 18,000 years old, these are among the oldest peat bogs in eastern North America, complete with wild cranberries and a host of rare and endangered plants. Many trails and old roads provide user access to the area.

Cunningham Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Cunningham Swamp Wildlife Management Area is located in central Garrett County. This 258 acre tract encompasses the majority of the Cunningham Swamp, a rich wetland with exceptional habitat for wetland and bog related species. There are open fields and upland forest habitats within the boundaries of the management area as well. There is exceptional cover here for everything from ruffed grouse and American woodcock to black bears and white-tailed deer.

For more information about Garrett County Wildlife Management Areas, please call 301-334-4255.

Potomac-Garrett State Forest

Boasting the headwaters of the Potomac River, this 9,915-acre forest tract, found in southeastern Garrett County off Maryland State Route 135, is characterized by rugged mountain terrain and mixed oak and hemlock forests. This forest features the highest point in any Maryland State Forest – Backbone Mountain, elevation 3,200 feet. Information about this area may be found by calling 301-334-2038.

Savage River State Forest

Savage River State Forest, at over 54,000 acres, is the largest property in the state forest system and preserves a strategic watershed in Garrett County. Many roads are open to vehicles and several hiking trails offer access to this giant tract of property. The forest is classified as a mixed hardwood forest and more than 11,000 acres of it has been designated as wildland. For information about Savage River State Forest contact the forest office at 301-895-5759.

Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River

The Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River corridor, also known as the Youghiogheny Natural Environmental Area (NEA), is located in western Garrett County and contains 1,200 acres of property that may be hunted. The terrain can be rugged and access points are limited, but there is excellent bear habitat along this river corridor. For more information about accessing this area, please call Deep Creek Lake State Park at 301-387-5563.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources shared an overview of the black bear hunt since 2004 (after a 51-year hiatus). In 2004, 20 black bears were checked in on the opening day of the hunting season. In 2021, 950 hunting permits were issued and hunters, challenged by a notable increase in natural food availability, harvested 54 bears during the season.