Black Bear Population By State: 2023 Statistics [Data]

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Video what state has the biggest black bears

two black bears playing Black Bear Population By State: 2023 Statistics [Data]

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is the most common type of bear in North America. Its range expands from the Nearctic regions to Mexico and Central America.

Black bears can be found in almost all 50 states. Population distribution is homogenous in some areas and sparse in other regions.

Whether you’re curious about how many black bears are there in your state or wonder what your chances are of encountering one during a hike, here are the latest statistics and trends of black bear population by state.

Key Facts

  • The total population of black bears in the United States is estimated at around 428,671 and 499,740. These numbers exclude Wyoming, whose population size is unknown.
  • Alaska counts the largest black bear population in the US, estimated at around 100,000.
  • There are no established populations of black bears in 9 states, but sightings of bears wandering from neighboring states are frequent.
  • Black bears can be harvested in most states, but special regulations may be in place in some areas.
Map showing black bear population by state
Click to enlarge

The table below shows the estimated number of black bears in each state*:

*All figures in the table were provided by/sourced from Wildlife Department reports, scientific papers, news outlets, and other official sources cited throughout this article. Data is correct as of January 2023 and is intended to use as a reference only. Black bear population data is subject to change and can be updated by the relevant authorities at any time.

**Sighting report frequencies are based on the number of sighting reports received by governmental departments and other authorities from residents/tourists in each specific state. They are not an indicator of population density and should be used as a reference only.

Black Bear Population Trends By State

female black bear Black Bear Population By State: 2023 Statistics [Data]

Alabama

  • Estimated population size: 300 to 400
  • Hunting permitted: No

Historically, black bears are native throughout the entire state of Alabama. Habitat degradation and over-harvest lowered their number to near-extirpation, but the situation improved over the last few years.

Today, authorities estimate the adult population of black bears in Alabama at 300 to 400 animals.

Despite the low numbers, sightings can potentially occur anywhere throughout the state. In 2022 alone, there have been reported 14 sightings between April and September.

There have been 14 sightings between April and September 2022.

Alaska

  • Estimated population size: 100,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Hunting license, harvest ticket, registration ticket, or drawing permit required.
  • Hunting season: Year-round

The northernmost state of the USA, Alaska brags with the largest population of black bears. According to estimates, there are around 100,000 bears in the state.

Sightings are very common in the warmer months, typically from April or May to September. The cold climate of the state translated into a long denning period, generally between October and April. However, black bears are not true hibernators and encounters are possible on warmer days regardless of the season.

Black bear harvesting is permitted in Alaska. The hunting season is open year-round in most counties.

In some regions in Alaska, black bears can coexist alongside polar bears and grizzlies.

Arizona

  • Estimated population size: 2,500 to 3,500
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and black bear tag required.
  • Hunting season: Summer/Fall, Winter

The only bear species still found in Arizona, black bears were nearly extinguished in the state due to flexible harvesting rules and year-long hunting seasons.

More stringent laws were established after 1954, leading to an improvement in the population trends.

Today, harvest trends and studies estimate an adult population size between 2,500 and 3,500 animals. Most black bears in Arizona are concentrated in the north and eastern half of the state.

Arkansas

  • Estimated population size: 3,000 to 4,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and black bear tag required
  • Hunting season: Fall, Winter

While wildlife numbers are difficult to count in forested habitats, the current population of black bears in Arkansas is estimated between 3,000 and 4,000 individuals.

According to trends and frequent sightings, experts also believe that these numbers are increasing.

With a population considered stable, Arkansas allows black bear harvesting in fall and winter seasons. The actual season dates can vary from zone to zone.

California

  • Estimated population size: 30,000 to 40,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear tag required
  • Hunting season: Summer, Fall

Despite its geographic location, California has the second-largest population of black bears in America. The population size is estimated between 30,000 and 40,000 individuals.

The vast majority of black bears are found in the northern portion of the state, in the Sierra Nevada region. Two other populations are scattered in Monterey and Riverside counties, in the Los Padres National Forest.

Throughout the state, the hunting season coincides with the deer season. The bag limit is one adult bear per license year.

Colorado

  • Estimated population size: 17,000 to 20,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Licenses by draw
  • Hunting season: Fall

In Colorado, the black bear population size is estimated between 17,000 and 20,000. This species inhabits virtually any forest in the state, including riverside cottonwood groves and areas near human settlements.

Hence, sightings are incredibly frequent. According to the state’s Park and Wildlife department, there have been reported over 3,700 sightings and bear conflicts in 2021 alone.

This was a 28% decrease compared to the previous year, but still a lot more than most other states.

Connecticut

  • Estimated population size: 1,000 to 1,200
  • Hunting permitted: No

With one of the smallest black bear populations in the USA, Connecticut is one of the few states where hunting or otherwise harvesting a black bear is illegal. Self-defense is the only acceptable reason to take down a bear in this state.

Which may come in handy, considering that despite the low population numbers, sightings and conflicts are very frequent.

In fact, in 2021, there have been 8,600 bear sightings in Connecticut. To put things into perspective, there are only 1,000 to 1,200 black bears in the state. The paradox is likely the result of habitat decline.

Delaware

  • Estimated population size: 0
  • Hunting permitted: No

While there is no breeding population of black bears in Delaware, you shouldn’t think the state is bear-free.

In fact, black bears from neighboring states often wander through Delaware’s forests and could make their way into towns.

To avoid conflicts, authorities advise to avoid approaching the bear, lock the garbage in a secure trash container, temporarily remove bird feeders, and discontinue the use of garden compost piles if you live in an area near forests or national parks.

Florida

  • Estimated population size: 4,050
  • Hunting permitted: No

Florida is the only state with a black bear population over 600 that doesn’t have a regulated hunting season. Undeniably, this is good news for animal lovers and the 4,050 black bears residing in the state.

Due to Florida’s warm climate, the denning period in the region is often delayed or it could miss altogether. Breeding usually occurs between June and August, with the cubs being born around late January or early February.

In all seasons, black bear sightings are common in Florida. Due to expanding development, black bears wandering through residential areas are more and more common.

Georgia

  • Estimated population size: 5,100
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license required
  • Hunting season: Fall, Winter

Similar to many other states, Georgia had a thriving black bear population in the past, that became nearly exterminated due to habitat loss and unregulated hunting.

However, thanks to the state’s sound wildlife management practices, Georgia’s black bear population numbers recovered in the last decades. Today, the state has around 5,100 adult black bears.

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Populations occur in three distinct regions, including the north Georgia mountains, the Ocmulgee River drainage, and the Okefenokee Swamp. In all three areas, natural range expansion has been documented in recent years.

Hawaii

  • Estimated population size: 0
  • Hunting permitted: No

Hawaii joins the list of states with no black bears. Not only are there no black bears in Hawaii, but there are no bears whatsoever in the state. In fact, Hawaii doesn’t have any large predators or snakes. This makes camping so much safer compared to all other states.

Idaho

  • Estimated population size: 20,000 to 30,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear tag required
  • Hunting season: Spring/Summer, Summer/Fall

With a healthy population of black bears, Idaho is one of the most permissive states as far as hunting is concerned.

The Wildlife Department typically approves two hunting seasons per year, usually from late spring to early summer and late summer to early fall, when the bears are not denning.

Hunters can use baits, electronic calls, or pursue bears with hounds, although restrictions may apply.

Illinois

  • Estimated population size: 0
  • Hunting permitted: No

Illinois is the first of three states with no black bear population in the same part of America, but like Delaware, it isn’t bear-free.

Black bears from Michigan, Minnesota, and Missouri often cross the state line into Illinois. In recent years, there have been multiple confirmed sightings of black bears in the state.

Indiana

  • Estimated population size: 0
  • Hunting permitted: No

Joining Illinois, Indiana is another state with an extirpated population of black bears. However, even if there is no known breeding population in the state, sightings might occur.

They are very rare, though. Only a handful have been confirmed since 1871.

Iowa

Bordering Illinois but surrounded by Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, Iowa is one of the states with the highest number of black bear sightings for an area with zero breeding populations.

There have been 46 confirmed black bears sightings in the state since 2002.

Kansas

  • Estimated population size: 0
  • Hunting permitted: No

Despite its large expanses of green and over 5.2 million acres of forests, woodlands, and trees, Kansas has no breeding population of black bears.

Sightings are also rare, even if bears from neighboring states have been spotted throughout Kansas on occasions.

Kentucky

  • Estimated population size: 500 to 1,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and appropriate valid bear permits depending on season.
  • Hunting season: Summer, Fall, Winter

Kentucky is one of the states with a recovering black bear population. The story is similar to the other areas: deforestation and unregulated hunting led to the extirpation of black bears in the region.

Yet, when massive logging ended, the forests recovered and bears found their way back into the state.

Today, Kentucky has a population of breeding black bears between 500 and 1,000, and the numbers are expected to grow in the near future.

Louisiana

  • Estimated population size: 750 to 1,000
  • Hunting permitted: No

Louisiana’s official state mammals, black bears currently roam most areas in the state. The black bear population size in Louisiana is similar to that of Kentucky, but the difference is the subspecies.

Black bears in Louisiana belong to an endemic subspecies, Ursus americanus luteolus. These mammals became nearly extinct, but conservation efforts helped increase their numbers.

Louisiana’s black bears are a protected species and are illegal to harvest.

Maine

  • Estimated population size: 24,000 to 36,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear permit required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Maine’s black bear population, estimated between 24,000 and 36,000 animals, is the highest in New England and the third-highest nationwide.

The species features a homogeneous distribution within the states, and sightings can occur in most suburbs and countryside towns.

However, even if the chances of seeing a black bear are rather high, conflicts are minimal. Abundant natural resources and a low population density make residences unappealing to bears. Most conflicts occur in early spring and can be avoided by removing bird feeders and securing garbage in a locked bin.

Maryland

  • Estimated population size: 2,000 to 2,250
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear hunting permit required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Maryland is a true example of black bear population restoration. In 2003, the state counted fewer than 500 individuals. However, in recent years, their numbers quadrupled, and there are now over 2,000 black bears in Maryland.

Populations are mostly concentrated in the Washington, Allegany, Frederick, and Garrett counties, where adult and subadult bears are often seen roaming.

Massachusetts

  • Estimated population size: 4,500 to 5,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear permit required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Massachusetts’ black bear population also reflects habitat restoration and the return of wildlife.

These mammals were once abundant in the state, but they were nearly exterminated by the mid-1970s. At the time, the population was estimated at fewer than 100 individuals.

Things have changed in the past decades. Adult bears from neighboring states migrated to Massachusetts and established new breeding populations in the state. Currently their estimated number is over 4,500. And according to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, their range is expanding.

Michigan

  • Estimated population size: 12,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear permit required. Bear permits are limited and only available through a drawing.
  • Hunting season: Fall

According to official sources, Michigan’s black bear population is estimated at 12,000. Unofficially, it is believed the numbers are higher and the actual population size nears 20,000 individuals.

Regardless of the actual number, the state’s population of black bears is healthy and well established.

Most breeding groups are located in the Upper Peninsula (around 10,000 bears). The remainder is scattered across the Lower Peninsula.

Minnesota

  • Estimated population size: 12,000 to 15,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and area permit required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Minnesota also brags with a robust black bear population, official numbers estimating it between 12,000 and 15,000.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes boasts large forested areas and national parks where these mammals can thrive.

In fact, black bears have no natural predators in this range. Their biggest threat and the main cause of mortality is hunting – over 3,000 black bears are harvested annually in this state.

Mississippi

  • Estimated population size: 40 to 50
  • Hunting permitted: No

Mississippi has one of the lowest black bear population densities despite black bears being common in the surrounding regions.

Despite the very low numbers – around 40 to 50 adult bears – the state has two distinct populations.

American black bears occupy the northern half of the state. The southern half is home to Louisiana black bears, a population most likely established by bears migrating from the neighboring state.

Missouri

  • Estimated population size: 540 to 840
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and specific black bear management zone permit required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Missouri’s black bear population is one of the smallest in the USA. There are between 540 and 840 bears in the state, according to the Wildlife Department’s estimates.

Despite the low numbers, though, black bear hunting is legal in the state.

The season is usually very short – only a few days in October – and the activity is much more restricted than other states. Harvesters are also legally obligated to use any part typically used for human food from any type of game harvested, including bears.

Montana

  • Estimated population size: 13,000 to 17,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and valid black bear license
  • Hunting season: Spring, Fall
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There’s a well-established black bear population in Montana, estimated between 13,000 and 17,000 individuals. The broad difference in the interval is the result of counting difficulties and the fact that some populations may actually be established in neighboring states – black bears don’t usually migrate, but the species exhibits long distance movements.

Black bears aside, Montana also brags with the largest population of grizzly bears after Alaska.

Due to the presence of two different species in the same habitats, the state’s Wildlife Department requires hunters to pass a bear identification test before issuing a license.

Nebraska

  • Estimated population size: 0
  • Hunting permitted: No

Neighboring Iowa, Nebraska’s black bear population is equally numerous – which is, not at all. The last black bear in this state was taken in 1907, and the species is still extinct. Sightings might occur, especially in the north and south of the state.

Nevada

  • Estimated population size: 500 to 600
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear tag required
  • Hunting season: Fall, Winter

Nevada is not exactly a land of forests. Yet, Nevada’s black bear population is larger than Nebraska’s, with an estimated 500 to 600 animals.

Similar to other states, Nevada had a thriving black bear population in the past, but these mammals were extirpated by the early 1900s.

They were reintroduced in the 1980s, the new population establishing in the western part of the state.

New Hampshire

  • Estimated population size: 4,800 to 5,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear hunting permit or bear tag required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Found in all ten of the state’s counties, the black bear population in New Hampshire is one of the most thriving in the country.

There are around 5,000 breeding black bears in the state, and the numbers seem homogeneously distributed throughout the territory.

Yet, the chances of running into a black bear in your backyard are low. This is one of the states with the lowest number of conflicts, even though sightings are becoming more and more common.

New Jersey

  • Estimated population size: 3,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and special black bear hunting permit required
  • Hunting season: Fall, Winter

The largest land mammals in New Jersey, black bears are an integral part of the state’s natural heritage. The Garden State’s black bear population has been increasing since the 1980s, these mammals expanding their range in all 21 counties.

Not only that, but sightings are becoming more and more frequent.

Conflicts are relatively low, but these bears do wander through towns and suburbs. Hikers should also pay attention, especially during the breeding season which typically peaks between June and July.

New Mexico

  • Estimated population size: 8,000 to 9,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear license with tag required
  • Hunting season: Late summer, Fall

New Mexico’s relationship with black bears has always been a closed one, the mammal being the state’s official animal.

However, the black bear population in New Mexico is not as large as in other states, counting under 10,000 animals.

Black bears roam around 13% of the state’s territory. They are typically found at higher elevations in forest woodlands with grass meadows, within a few miles of areas occupied by humans.

New York

  • Estimated population size: 6,000 to 8,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear tag required
  • Hunting season: Fall, Winter

New York’s black bear population is estimated between 6,000 and 8,000 animals, but that’s only in the areas open to hunting.

Thus, the state might actually have a larger population of black bears, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that sightings are common.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, most black bears in New York are concentrated in the Adirondack and Catskill regions, even if their territory is constantly expanding.

North Carolina

  • Estimated population size: 15,000 to 20,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license or big game privilege license. Additional Bear Management e-Stamp required.
  • Hunting season: Fall

North Carolina is one of the best examples of wildlife conservation done right. Black bears were once restricted to the state’s remote areas and had very low population numbers.

Since the mid-1990s, the state has concentrated its efforts in the conservation of this species. Today, the black bear population in North Carolina exceeds 15,000, the animals roaming over 60% of the state’s territory.

North Dakota

  • Estimated population size: 0
  • Hunting permitted: No

Due to sightings in recent years, people often believe that black bears are residents in this state. The truth is, all those bears are visitors. There is no breeding population of black bears in North Dakota.

In an attempt to attract these mammals to the area, the state bans black bear hunting.

Ohio

  • Estimated population size: 50 to 100
  • Hunting permitted: No

Ohio is another state committed to protecting black bears, which are an endangered species in this state. Yet, sightings are common.

The state’s small black bear population is estimated between 50 and 100 individuals. Yet, over 200 sightings were reported in 2021 alone. The likely reasons are the proximity of bears to human settlements and bears wandering from other states during the breeding season.

Oklahoma

  • Estimated population size: 2,500
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear license required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Statewide, there is an estimated population of 2,500 black bears in Oklahoma. Sightings are common, with routine calls happening mostly in the northeast and southeast parts of the state.

To ensure a healthy and thriving population, the state allows black bear hunting.

Season dates may vary from year to year, but generally run between September and November. Hunters may harvest one bear per season and cannot use baits or chase bears with dogs.

Oregon

  • Estimated population size: 25,000 to 30,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and bear tag required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Oregon is home to one of the largest populations of black bears in North America.

They roam most of the state’s territory, although populations are mostly concentrated in the Cascade Range, Blue and Wallowa mountains, and the west area of the state to the Pacific Ocean.

With a thriving population, Oregon is one of the most permissive states as far as hunting is concerned. Hunters may harvest up to two bears per season (an additional general fall season tag required), and the hunting season typically runs from August to December.

Pennsylvania

  • Estimated population size: 18,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. General hunting license or mentored hunting license as well as a black bear license required.
  • Hunting season: Fall

The black bear population has increased substantially in Pennsylvania since the 1970s, from around 4,000 to around 18,000.

This makes it easy to spot black bears in the wild, and also eases harvesting for hunters.

However, a large population of black bears also makes it easier to run into conflicts. Sightings are common in the state, and conflict reports are also on the rise.

Rhode Island

  • Estimated population size: 5 to 10
  • Hunting permitted: No

A polar opposite compared to Pennsylvania, Rhode Island is one of the states with the smallest black bear populations.

According to the Environmental Department, a small population of black bears has taken residence in the Ocean State in recent years, with a population estimated between five to 10 breeding individuals.

South Carolina

  • Estimated population size: 1,000 to 1,600
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license, big game permit, and bear tag required
  • Hunting season: Fall
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South Carolina is home to over 1,000 black bears, and the numbers are on the rise. The state has two distinct black bear communities, the largest one located in the Upper Piedmont area.

A smaller population of black bears settled in the coastal plains of the state.

Black bear hunting permits are mostly released for the Upper Piedmont area, where black bear harvesting can help establish a healthy population.

South Dakota

  • Estimated population size: 0
  • Hunting permitted: No

Officially, there is no population of black bears in South Dakota. However, sightings are common and some speculate that this species has found a home in the state.

Whether that’s true or not is yet to be confirmed, as sightings can be the result of bears wandering through South Dakota from neighboring states.

Tennessee

  • Estimated population size: 6,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting permit and special black bear licenses required
  • Hunting season: Fall, Winter

With the Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee brags with the perfect habitats for black bears.

In fact, the black bear population in Tennessee is around 6,000 animals, most of them living in the aforementioned National Parks.

Black bear sightings are common, as is to be expected. Not only could you see them roaming through the suburbs, but hikers may run into a black bear during the warm season.

Texas

  • Estimated population size: 36 to 40
  • Hunting permitted: No

Texas has a tiny population of black bears, with around three dozen of them believed to breed in the state.

The surprising fact is that they are divided into two distinct populations with members that belong to two rare subspecies, the New Mexico Black Bear (Ursus americanus amblyceps) and the Mexican black bear (Ursus americanus eremicus).

Both populations can be found in the western side of the state, roaming the scrub forests and woodlands.

Utah

  • Estimated population size: 4,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and black bear pursuit permit
  • Hunting season: Spring, Fall

Nestled between Nevada and Colorado, Utah has a stable population of black bears. Sightings have been reported throughout the state, but a higher density of bears is estimated to live in the wild areas of the Zion National Park.

Vermont

  • Estimated population size: 3,500 to 5,500
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and early bear season tag required
  • Hunting season: Fall

The size of the black bear population in Vermont is subject to debate. Official numbers from Vermont Fish and Wildlife say there are between 3,500 and 5,500 black bears in the state.

However, the Agency of Natural Resources claims there are at least 4,600 black bears in Vermont, and more likely up to 5,700.

These discrepancies are likely the result of wildlife counting difficulties in forested areas. Moreover, bears from surrounding states and even Canada could be sighted in Vermont.

Virginia

  • Estimated population size: 18,000 to 20,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and black bear permit required
  • Hunting season: Fall, Winter

Virginia has one of the biggest populations of black bears, even though their numbers were alarmingly low at midcentury.

Conservation efforts and changing ecological conditions made it so that black bears are now thriving in the state.

Today, there are an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 black bears in Virginia.

Washington

  • Estimated population size: 25,000 to 30,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and black bear permit required. Hunters that choose to hunt in areas located in grizzly bear recovery areas must pass an online bear identification test.
  • Hunting season: Spring, Fall

With over 25,000 black bears in Washington, the state sits atop most other areas as far as the population size is concerned.

But black bears are not the only ones to reside in the Evergreen State. Grizzlies are also common, and there are also designated grizzly recovery areas.

Thus, hunters who want to harvest black bears in Washington may have to pass a bear identification test.

West Virginia

  • Estimated population size: 12,000 to 14,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license unless hunting on your own property
  • Hunting season: Fall, Winter

West Virginia’s black bear population is estimated between 12,000 and 14,000 animals, most of them living in Fayette and McDowell counties.

This is one of the few states where harvesting black bears doesn’t require any special permits. Hunters need a valid hunting license when hunting on public or private properties that they don’t own. If you plan to hunt on your own property, no license is required.

Wisconsin

  • Estimated population size: 24,000
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Valid hunting license and class A bear license required
  • Hunting season: Fall

Wisconsin’s black bear population is about twice the size of West Virginia, and sightings are common across the state.

As the population keeps rising, interactions and conflicts are also becoming more frequent.

To avoid having your property destroyed or putting yourself in danger, it is recommended to avoid bird feeders and backyard compost piles in periods when bears are active. Clean camping practices are also a necessity.

Wyoming

  • Estimated population size: Unknown
  • Hunting permitted: Yes. Black bear hunting license required
  • Hunting season: Spring, Fall

With the Yellowstone National Park situated northwest of the state, Wyoming is home to a thriving population of black bears. The only problem is that nobody knows how many.

This is the only US state that doesn’t provide a population estimate, perhaps due to the fact that most bear conservation efforts here are focused on grizzly bears.

That said, there is no apparent shortage of black bears in the state. These mammals can be harvested two times a year, and attracting bears with baits is legal.

Black Bear Identification

Black bears are the only bear species occurring in most US states. Yet, this species might coexist with grizzlies and even polar bears in some areas.

Despite the name, the first thing to keep in mind is that black bears can be brown or even tan colored.

The main difference between a black bear and a grizzly is the size.

Black bears are relatively small, reaching a shoulder height between 50 and 75 inches. They have tall, pointed ears and a straight back with no shoulder hump.

Grizzlies have a shoulder hump and are taller.

When looking at tracks, black bear tracks have shorter claws and the toes look more separated. Grizzly claws are longer.

What To Do In Case Of Encounter

If you come across a black bear while hiking or camping, or if one makes its way into your neighborhood or yard:

  • Stay calm, pick up small children immediately, and wave your arms slowly to alert the bear of your presence.
  • Don’t make any loud noises and don’t scream. The bear may think it’s the sound of a prey animal.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements and don’t run. Black bears are much faster than you.
  • Make yourself look as large as possible.
  • Try to move back slowly and escape to a secure place, such as a car or building. If that’s not possible, put as much distance as possible between you and the bear without startling it.
  • Don’t abandon your backpack. It could provide protection in case of an attack.
  • Don’t climb a tree. Black bears are agile climbers.
  • If you spot a black bear in the distance, leave the area or take a detour.
  • Never put yourself between a black bear and its cub. The mother will likely attack if she perceives you as a danger to her cub.
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>