Black Bear Conservation Program

Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp2017-2018 Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp winning design - by Steve Oliver
Winning entry for 2019-2020

"Explorer" by Rebecca Latham of Hastings, Minn.

Purchase Black Bear Conservation Stamps and Products

Black Bear Education Trunk
Now Available for Maryland Educators

What is the Black Bear Conservation Program?

The Black Bear Conservation Program began in 1996. Authorized by the Maryland General Assembly, the sale of black bear conservation stamps have generated funds that are used to compensate farmers who have reported damage to agricultural crops caused by black bears. Since 1996, an annual stamp design contest had been held and the stamp design changed each calendar year. Starting in 2020 however, we will be producing a decal to appeal to a broader audience and will be discontinuing the stamp design contest, as well as production of the stamp. The new decal can be displayed on your vehicle, water bottle, laptop computer or wherever else you can attach it. To order the decal, stamps from previous years and other items which support black bear conservation in Maryland, please visit the DNR Outdoor Store​

Why are there more Black Bears?

The growing black bear population is the result of several factors. Since the early 1900s, the quality of Maryland's wetlands and forest lands have been improving, following the end of decades of unregulated cutting of trees and destruction of wetland habitat in Western Maryland. Improving habitat conditions throughout the tri-state region prompted bear relocation efforts by the state of Pennsylvania. The success of this program, coupled with various bear management programs employed by West Virginia, helped generate a spillover of bears into Maryland during the 1970s and 1980s. The improving habitat conditions in Western Maryland invited black bears back to an area they had historically occupied. Public support of law enforcement efforts to thwart illegal hunting of black bears insured that black bears would succeed in their new habitat.

How has the department responded to nuisance bear complaints?

One of the objectives of Maryland's Black Bear Management Plan is to minimize bear-human conflicts by helping the public cope with nuisance bear problems in a manner that will be effective and have minimal adverse impact on the bear population. Department of Natural Resources has responded to these complaints by providing technical assistance and educational materials to landowners. Department of Natural Resources also provides electric fencing to beekeepers. Click here for information about Living with Black Bears.

Important information about black bears and humans.

During the spring and early summer months, black bears do become more active. This increase in activity is due to the fact that young bears (about 1 1/2 years old) are chased away by their mothers to find a home of their own. Also during June and July, black bears are breeding and older males will wander long distances in search of a mate. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Heritage Division warns that people who come upon black bears should treat them with respect and leave them alone! Bears usually pose no threat to humans unless they are harassed, pursued, cornered, or have cubs with them. The department has put together some safety tips concerning the black bear.

How Can I Help?

Black Bear Conservation stamps are available for a minimum contribution of $5 for each stamp. However, additional gift contributions to the Compensation Fund are welcome.

See the online store for details

Also, check out the department's other Black Bear Conservation merchandise at​​

For more information, contact:

Nancy Doran
Wildlife and Heritage Service
12512 Pleasant Valley Rd
Flintstone MD 21530