They’re native to the area, but unregulated hunting and habitat loss more or less pushed them out. The black bear once occurred throughout the state of Texas. There’s an estimated 750-1000 bears living in the state, but they can also be found in the neighboring states of Texas, Mississippi, and possibly even Southern Arkansas. [1] However, that doesn't mean they won't enter towns and neighborhoods. I live in the Barton Creek Wilderness Preserve and hike daily. Yes, there are black bears in Texas. Bear hunting of any kind has been prohibited statewide in Texas since 1983. Black bears were almost gone in Texas by the end of World War II because of unregulated hunting and habitat loss. Texas Hill Country reports black bear sightings have been on the rise in East Texas since 2010, with four confirmed sightings in 2016. It is a violation of law to kill a black bear in Texas, with penalties of up to $10,000, added civil restitution fines, jail time and loss of all hunting privileges. At first, they could be found here and there, but now black bears are poring up in unconventional places. Maine. Want to learn more about bears in a particular park? Tools. There was a time in West Texas when you didn’t see black bears in the wild. But over the decades, bears have come back west of the Pecos. They will try to avoid humans as much as humans try to avoid them. If they know of any easy food source they will use it, but they generally travel at night to avoid detection. I have never seen a bear, nor any evidence of bears. There are plenty of deer, coyotes, rattlesnakes, coral snakes, copperheads, scorpions, tarantulas, and the occasional fox. Bear Sightings Increase In Northeast Texas Habitat Exists For Population Tyler Morning Telegraph The question no longer appears to be if black bears will return to East Texas, but when will there be an established population. 13. Click on a dot on the map to see the park name, learn which species of bear are located in that park, and get a link to the park website. Residents are asked to report any black bear sightings to the TPWD at 1-800-792-1112. For years, black bears in Texas have been making a slow but steady comeback, one that has nothing to do with the coronavirus. To report information that could lead to the arrest of anyone killing a black bear, please call the 24-hour toll-free Operation Game Thief 1-800-792-4263. Last updated: April 4, 2017. Once commonplace throughout the state, the last known native bear in East Texas was believed shot in Polk County in 1950. The last reported killing of a black bear in Texas was on May 20, 1973 at a locality eight miles north of Silsbee. Photo: Chris Wynn. 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