Although we used to see them here more than we have in the recent past, one particularly LARGE mammal is moving back to Texas.

Once upon a time, black bears were more common in Texas. However, I don't know about you but I haven't seen one near my house in Tyler, Texas. Quite possibly that's because black bears were hunted to near extinction in the Lone Star State.

But, it looks like they're heading back. At least according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. And these are the people who KNOW.

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According to, "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 October 2023, a black bear was wandering around the streets of Uvalde, Texas. (That bear was quickly captured and moved to a more appropriate area.)

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

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, reports the data shows "in 2021, those numbers shot up to 80 confirmed sightings and to 154 in 2022."

To be clear, Dana Karelus, 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.

In light of this information, 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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