According to data Lamp said he received from the DNR in the late 1990s, nearly 50 percent of those who passed the state's test in order to get a hunting license were 16 and under. Spiker said the number of resident junior licenses has ranged between 8,500 and 9,500 for the "last several years." It represents about 2 to 4 percent of the total number of licenses issued.

Lamp also believes most involved in the bear hunt do not live in Western Maryland, where many of the state's estimated bear population of 721 reside.

"If it's because these people need the meat to feed their family, that's one thing, but that's not the case," Lamp said. "There are people from everywhere who are trying to get the permits. I believe there are very few from Western Maryland, based on the probability of it."

It might come as a surprise but Lamp, who plans to conduct his annual one-man protest near his home in Anne Arundel County by spending part of the day with an anti-hunting sign and a small toy bear on College Parkway, is not completely opposed to the circumstances that led to Colton Lucas' kill last year.

"When it comes down to shooting a rogue bear, I can't see anyone complaining," Lamp said. "If they want to shoot a bear that is menancing people in a town, I have no problems with that. But if they're out there shooting bears in a barrell, that's wrong."

Kaitlin Zembower sees it differently. She understands what the state is trying to do in terms of reducing the bear population and can see how it wants to promote hunting with a younger generation. She sees the sport's popularity first-hand every day she goes to class.

"I think [Wildlife and Fisheries] is one of the fastest growing majors in the school, and there are a lot more women in the program," she said. "I think it shows a great future [for hunting and other outdoor sports]."

Her father will be out there Monday, having been invited by a friend who won this year's bear hunt lottery.

"It's a big deal," Jerry Zembower said.

For a different reason, Lamp would agree.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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