A great adventure in state and inexpensive. I've been fortunate to go on several hunts as either a permitee or sub and have had a great time and taken bears (all on public land.) The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for this year’s black bear lottery. Successful applicants will receive a permit valid for the four-day hunting season, taking place Oct. 23-26 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties. The department will issue 750 hunting permits that can be used anywhere within the zone, which includes all of those four counties. The annual bear hunt is an important management tool used to slow the growth of Maryland’s black bear population into more suburban communities and counties. “Maryland’s closely regulated, sustainable bear hunt is now in its 14th year,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “This hunt has been helping us achieve our goal of limiting the increase in our bear population while guaranteeing a secure future for this remarkable species.” Hunters may apply for the lottery online, by phone at 855-855-3906 (weekdays, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.), or in person at a regional service center or one of more than 250 hunting and fishing license agents across the state. Each hunter’s Department of Natural Resources ID number will serve as their lottery number. All entries must be completed by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31, and accompanied by a $15 nonrefundable application fee. Only one application per person will be accepted; duplicates can result in disqualification of the application and forfeiture of all fees. The drawing will be held Sept. 5. The Black Bear Damage Reimbursement Fund is also open for voluntary contributions by hunters when they apply for their permits. The fund directly reimburses Maryland farmers who have suffered agricultural damage caused by black bears. Since the fund was started 20 years ago, it has paid out more than $130,000 in eligible claims to farmers.