(Fairfax, VA)-- For the first time in 50 years, sportsmen will have the opportunity to hunt black bears in Maryland. On behalf of America`s 17 million hunters, NRA applauds the announcement by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) establishing a lottery-style hunt in Western Maryland this fall. "We are pleased the state of Maryland recognizes the positive contribution of hunters to wildlife management and conservation," said Chris Cox, NRA`s chief lobbyist. "Thanks to the support of Governor Ehrlich and NRA members across the state, sportsmen and sportswomen can finally hunt black bears in Maryland after a lengthy prohibition." Hunting is an essential component of effective wildlife management. It reduces conflicts between people and wildlife, and provides incentives for the conservation of wildlife habitats and ecosystems on which wildlife depends. Hunting is especially vital in areas like Western Maryland, where black bear incidents resulting in property, automobile and agriculture damage have increased dramatically over the last few years. "After years of study, wildlife biologists and the DNR saw a prudent need to control the black bear population for the safety of Marylanders. This hunt provides the chance to contribute to wildlife management while enjoying a treasured American pastime," added Cox. "Hunting is also a vital element of our economy. Next autumn`s black bear hunt is an excellent opportunity to stimulate economic growth during these financially precarious times." The National Rifle Association is the nation`s leader in protecting the right to hunt for all law-abiding Americans. Along with approximately 17 million American hunters and many national conservation organizations, NRA is working to preserve the American hunting tradition for future generations. Hunters and sportsmen play a pivotal role in America`s economy and society, and have been leaders in promoting wildlife management and conservation. Since 1939, hunters and shooters have paid over $4 billion in excise taxes on sporting equipment. Hunters and fishermen fund nearly 75% of the annual income for all 50 state conservation agencies. And, hunters contribute $21 billion to the American economy each year. --nra--
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.