Most hunters dream of shooting something of epic proportions. A giant Alberta grizzly bear would fall into that bracket! Here is a story of two elk hunters that were out trying to coax in a lonely bull when their calling was so realistic (or sickly?) that is it attracted a big ole grizzly bear. I can not verify whether or not the story is real, but the giant bear photos look very much real!
These two hunters were calling elk in the Saddle Hills south of Woking , Alberta, when this big grizzly bear slipped in on the caller. The shooter spotted the bear about 8 yards from the caller and dropped him with 5 shots out of his 338 Win Mag. Continue reading
The range of the black bear once blanketed the state of Texas. Though black bear numbers began declining over a century ago, those numbers are now on the rise according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). As the saying goes, “where there is smoke, there is fire.” Increased wildlife management by government officials and landowners as well as protection over the years have created a more hospitable climate for bears. If you judge by recent reported sightings, the black bear is making a significant comeback in Texas. However, public interest in an animal often has a way of fueling additional sightings, especially during poor visibility conditions.
This is true not only with bears, but many other elusive and intriguing animals, such as mountain lions or sharks. In other words, some of the bear reports in Texas could be false. But maintaining these bear sightings with confirmed kills and photos helps piece together the bear population in the Lone Star State. Continue reading
Texas has been plagued by exceptional drought for almost an entire year and it’s taking a toll on native wildlife. Trees are losing their leaves, creeks and rivers have evaporated and the dry weather is driving black bears into urban areas searching for both food and water. In West Texas, the bears have been traveling out of their normal habitats for a couple of reasons. Not only has it been dry, but the place is literally burning up.
With fires scorching black bear ranges in the mountains of West Texas and Northern Mexico, and extreme drought making it hard to find water and food, the usually solitary bears have been on the move this summer, increasingly making their way into towns and cities. And where bears need to go is where the food is, be it dumpsters, gardens or even bird and deer feeders. Continue reading
Although most people do not realize it, the American black bear is found throughout North America, including the state of Texas. Black bear use habitats ranging from swamps to desert scrub, which is exactly where the bear recently spotted in West Texas lives. Black bear are seen quite often between Del Rio, Comstock, even as far east as Junction, and all the way west to Alpine and the city of El Paso.
Most black bears are found in forests, but they are omnivores and can make it anywhere. At least two subspecies of black bear are thought to occur in Texas: the Mexican Black Bear (Ursus americanus eremicus) and the New Mexico Black Bear (subspecies U. a. amblyceps). Both are found in West Texas in desert scrub or woodland habitats within scattered mountain ranges, predominantly the Chisos and Guadalupe Mountains. In addition, both subspecies of black bear are state-listed as endangered in Texas. Continue reading
Black bears are native to Texas, but many residents have never seen one in the wild. That is all changing this year. It’s also causing quite a stir, becoming a wildlife management challenge for the state wildlife department. The increased number of black bear sightings in Texas this year is part of a larger story in West Texas, where black bears have made a comeback in the last couple of decades.
“We used to have thousands of bears in the state of Texas,” said professor Louis Harveson of Sul Ross State University. “They (hunters) used to hunt in the Davis Mountains and harvest eight a day.” But unregulated hunting, among other factors, drove black bears to near extinction in Texas, where they are still a protected species. But in nature, wildlife populations tend to cycle. Continue reading
Black bear are big omnivores that are socially and economically important. Other than bear hunters and those that have nuisance bears in their area, many people in the state of Michigan probably pay the native black bears little attention. But not the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) , as they recently developed a Statewide Bear Management Plan. The plan was finalized last year to address the long term management of Michigan’s black bear population.
The mission of the DNR’s black bear management program is to maintain a healthy black bear population, but also one that provides a balance of recreational opportunities for residents and at the same time minimizes conflicts with the growing human population within the state. To fulfill this mission, the Michigan DNR has established 6 strategic bear management goals: Continue reading
According to experts, black bear were eradicated from Texas by the 1950s. However, bears would occassionally show up from time to time as they traveled into the Lone Star State—primarily from Mexico. Because there was no game law prohibiting them from being killed, the State of Texas formally made bear hunting illegal in 1983. Shortly thereafter, bears that moved north and into Texas were protected, begin to reproduce, and have been expanding their range north and eastward since.
Black bear have had a stronghold in the mountainous areas of the Trans-Pecos, but the animals have been moving into the Edwards Plateau more recently. They are showing up on game cameras placed out by hunters to track white-tailed deer. In fact, just last year one had to be chemically immobilized and moved out of the city of Del Rio, and another big bear was road-killed near Alpine. Then there was the shooting of a black bear in Menard County earlier this year:
“Ray Hernandez was checking for oil at a pump jack this summer on a vast stretch of ranchland in Menard County when his cell phone rang. It was a well worker at a pipe yard on the property, insisting that he’d seen a bear.
The June 23 sighting escalated swiftly into a bear hunt that ended with the crack of a rifle, a felled beast and a criminal charge against Hernandez, who decapitated the state-protected creature with a hacksaw and ferried home its head and paws.
The black bear that wandered onto the Central Texas cattle ranch that day is the first ever confirmed in that part of the state, according to Capt. Alan Teague, a game warden with Texas Parks and Wildlife. For Teague and others at the agency, it’s further proof that the stamped-out species is reclaiming lost territory.”