Once upon a time in Texas, black bears had been a hunting target to the point where their presence was almost nil. However, they're back according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

According to Chron.com, "Since 2000, confirmed black bear sightings in the state have increased sixfold."

There have been more sightings in the Western Texas Hill Country, including the counties of Kaufman, Menard, and Kimble. In fact, earlier in the month of October, a black bear was wandering around the streets of Uvalde, Texas. (That bear was quickly captured and moved to a more appropriate area.)

What happened to the black bear population in Texas and why are we seeing so many more since 2000?

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Back in 2000, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reported 25 sightings of black bears in Texas, and the majority of those were out west in the Black Gap Region, which is the area where Big Bend National Park is located. Since then, Chron.com reports the data shows "in 2021, those numbers shot up to 80 confirmed sightings and to 154 in 2022."

Dana Karelus is a mammologist with TPWD told the Killeen Daily Herald she believes the reason we're seeing more black bears in Texas again may be due to the drought. This condition may have prompted black bears to migrate in search of food or water.

Because of this, the TPWD is asking Texans to report black bear sightings so we can get a better look at the actual numbers of black bears who have returned and/or are returning to the Texas area.

Hey, at least we're not talking about grizzly bears, right?

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