Last updated: April 4, 2017. 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. Maine. 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. Wildlife experts share bear hazing safety protocols ‘Bears, in most instances, are not a danger to people,' expert says Yes, there are black bears in Texas. Once commonplace throughout the state, the last known native bear in East Texas was believed shot in Polk County in 1950. 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. 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. The map below shows the national parks where one or more bear species have been reported. They’re native to the area, but unregulated hunting and habitat loss more or less pushed them out. There are plenty of deer, coyotes, rattlesnakes, coral snakes, copperheads, scorpions, tarantulas, and the occasional fox. Residents are asked to report any black bear sightings to the TPWD at 1-800-792-1112. ... “There’s an old adage: a fed bear is a dead bear… I have never seen a bear, nor any evidence of bears. 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. Maine has a larger population of Black Bears than any other New England state by far with an estimated 24,000 to 36,000 bears living in the state. I live in the Barton Creek Wilderness Preserve and hike daily. Photo: Chris Wynn. Black bears were almost gone in Texas by the end of World War II because of unregulated hunting and habitat loss. There was a time in West Texas when you didn’t see black bears in the wild. At first, they could be found here and there, but now black bears are poring up in unconventional places. Black bear are the most timid and least dangerous of the bears found in North America. Tools. Texas Hill Country reports black bear sightings have been on the rise in East Texas since 2010, with four confirmed sightings in 2016. They will try to avoid humans as much as humans try to avoid them. But over the decades, bears have come back west of the Pecos. The last reported killing of a black bear in Texas was on May 20, 1973 at a locality eight miles north of Silsbee. Bear hunting of any kind has been prohibited statewide in Texas since 1983. 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