The massive male bear weighed 643 pounds
A Maryland woman killed a massive 643-pound state record-breaking black bear. Image by Jean Landry
Maryland’s 20th annual bear season began with a record-breaker.
According to a Maryland Department of Natural Resources Facebook post, a Garrett County woman killed a 643-pound male black bear, the largest on record for the state, on opening day, October 25, 2023.
The state’s previous record bear weighed 615 pounds, Maryland Department of Natural Resources game mammal section leader Jonathan Trudeau told McClatchy News in an email.
Trudeau said a bear the size of the one killed in Garrett County this year is “very uncommon.” He said it is “extremely unlikely” that another heavier bear would be harvested in 2023.
Maryland’s black bear hunting season typically lasts less than a week. The 2023 season ran between October 23-28, according to the department’s website. Four Maryland counties allow bear hunting during the season, including Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington.
The number of hunters who applied for the hunt has ranged between 4,716 applicants to 5,716 applicants over the past five years. But only between 800 and 950 permits were granted between 2018 and 2022.
Approximately 80% to 90% of hunters holding permits participate in the black bear hunt.