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Delegate Mckay debating Bees and Bears

February 18th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Delegate Mike McKay is leading the charge to offer  bees and their honey the same protections the state  provides to the growing bear population. McKay, backed by other Western Maryland lawmakers, is asking the General Assembly to extend the same level of protection to bees that it now gives calves, goats, chickens and other animals. A person defending himself, other people or livestock is exempt from a state law that makes shooting a black bear without a permit punishable by a $1,500 fine and six months in jail for a first offense.  Beekeepers deserve the same exemption, McKay told the House Environment & Transportation Committee. He said beekeepers invest hundreds of dollars in each colony. According the state Department of Natural Resources, bee colonies are reported to have been attacked by bears an average of six times a year. Breeding populations of black bears are found in Maryland's four westernmost counties — Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick. When there's a bear sighting east of Frederick, it makes news.

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