Here is an article we read about a bear in Maryland….what if this were your home?  Surprise!

Cumberland Times-News

March 16, 2011

Bears under Deep Creek porch

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

— SWANTON — Time sharing has an added wrinkle along the shoreline of popular Deep Creek Lake.

During the summer months, the owners live in the attractive home in the Stilwater subdivision. From December through March, a 327-pound mother bear hibernates beneath the back porch where she gave birth to three cubs — two females and one male.

“We know this bear well. We first put a radio collar on her in 2001. Sometimes she can have an attitude,” said Harry Spiker of the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service on Tuesday morning.

Spiker said the bear is extremely large for a female bruin in Maryland. She is 13 and has borne cubs on a regular basis every other year.

“This is her home range,” Spiker said as he stood in a parking lot at Deep Creek Lake State Park assembling his crew and all of the necessary equipment. “She is used to being around people, but we get very few calls about her being a nuisance.”

Spiker said the sow, when visited at her various dens during past winters, has often snapped her jaws, huffed and even bluff-charged him.

Tuesday, the agency crew went to the home first to drug the bear as media representatives and others waited at a safe location.

Once more, this bear was not going to make things easy.

“It took four doses (of tranquilizer),” said Jim Mullan, a regional wildlife manager. “The fourth dose was to make sure she stayed sedated while we worked on her.”

Sometime between the first dose and the fourth, however, the sow left the open space beneath the porch and ran about 200 yards into a wooded area near the development where she was eventually retrieved.

“These bears will get a better physical exam today than I do when I go to the doctor,” Spiker said earlier in the day.

All four were weighed and measured. The sow was 5 feet, 10 inches from her nose to her tail. The cubs weighed 5 to 6 pounds each.

Each newborn bear received metal ear tags and a microchip beneath the skin of the back. Should the cubs be encountered later in their lives, a sweep of the scanner will read the chip and positively identify the animal.

For example, the scanners are used on road-killed bruins or on bears brought to a check station by a successful hunter.

Fred Meyer, whose home is near the back-porch denning site, is a rarity in the Stilwater subdivision: He lives there all year long.

“I had no idea there were bears next door until this morning when the DNR arrived,” Meyer said. Meyer’s daughter Erin Martysz, who was visiting, had just enough time to hug and snuggle a cub before leaving for the airport and a flight back to her home in Austin, Texas.

“The homeowner didn’t know until recently that the bear was there,” said Clarissa Harris, an agency biologist. “He told us that he had come to the home during the winter and when he walked out onto the back porch he thought he heard a strange noise. That was the sow and maybe her cubs right below him.”

Cubs are typically born in the den in January and then emerge with the mother as spring arrives.

Rather than return the bear family to its below-porch home, the wildlife crew had created an artificial den in Savage River State Forest to which they would transport the bears.

This was the fifth bear den visited by the wildlife crew this year. Spiker will visit another six or seven dens, using telemetry equipment to detect the beeps of radio collars around the necks of denned sows.

This winter marks the first time a denned bear in Frederick County was checked. She had three cubs. A sow in Washington County had two and one in Garrett County had four.

“That’s right on our long-term average of three cubs per sow,” Spiker said.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at

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