Black bear sightings increase in East Texas

Black bear sightings increase in East Texas
Black bears are currently a protected species in Texas. (Source: TPWD)

AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) -According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, since April, there has been an uptick in black bear sightings in Bowie, Grayson and Titus counties. The bears are thought to originate from the neighboring states of Oklahoma and Arkansas, or possibly Louisiana.

As the numbers increase, black bears find their way across state lines into Texas, signaling the possibility of its eventual permanent return.

“It is inspiring as a biologist to watch these animals make their return to Northeast Texas after being absent for a century or more.”
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologist, Penny Wilkerson

Most sighting reports come from game camera photos around game feeders dispensing corn or pelleted feed. “Bears do not generally pose a threat to pets or livestock. These critters are omnivores and are more interested in berries, grubs and acorns than anything else,” Wilkerson said.

Texas hunters should make sure that they know their targets as hogs and bears can look very similar from a distance. Black bears are currently a protected species in Texas.

Due to conservation efforts, the Louisiana black bear is no longer listed as a federally threatened species. Efforts in Oklahoma and Arkansas have increased and expanded bear populations.

TPWD is interested in documenting all sightings of bears and encourages reporting any sightings to a local biologist. Residents can find a local biologist and more information about bears and bear safety on the TPWD website. Residents are also encouraged to call the east Texas Region Office at 903-566-1626 extension 209.

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