Tag Archives: bears in texas

Black Bear In Orange, TX (My Thoughts)

News of a possible bear sighting in my home town of Orange, TX has garnered many responses.

I have written more than 50 articles on black bears in Texas since 2000, several of which are posted here at Higher Calling Wildlife®.

Here are a few links to our past Texas bear articles.

In 2007 I started a conservation project to raise awareness to the fact they are illegal to kill here and to get people bear aware so they can stay safe through Texas Fish & Game magazine.

Bears returning to Texas is a passion of mine.

The author photographed this bear in Yellowstone in 2021.

Now let’s tackle the elephant in the room-the photo.

My gut feeling on photo when I saw it Thursday was it looked like a bear. I would like to see the head but I spoke with the gentleman who took the photo and he said he saw the head and believes it was a bear.

He seemed very credible to me as he described several attributes of bear movement and that he actually saw the full animal-unobscured by brush.

My thoughts were it’s either a bear or one of these really (for lack of a better term) fat feral hogs that pops up every once in awhile based on the photo-which I will not share here.

These massive hogs caught on a game camera set by Bobby Elder could be mistaken for a bear if the head was obscured. The author has seen hogs like this in recent years taken from a landfill area in Southeast TExas.

I believe the gentlemen who took the photo has had more than his share of mean-spirited comments about the photo and I don’t want to contribute to that.

The bigger point is this is a moment to get educated about a large carnivore that has already begun a good comeback in West Texas, parts of South Texas and are starting to pour over into Northeast Texas.

Here are some things people need to know about bears in East Texas.

1. Black bears are native to Texas. They are supposed to be here although like many things were extinct locally. Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma all have bears and they have been proven to cross into East Texas. Louisiana has an expanding bear population in the south-central part of the state and two weeks ago issued a public comment period for a Louisiana black bear season (limited) in 2024. Subadult males in particular move great distances so while it’s rare to have one show up in our area, they should be here.

2. There have been zero bear stockings in Texas! While Louisiana in the distant past brought in bears from other states to help their herds genetic diversity, Texas has never stocked bears. These are not stocked bears.

3. Yes, black bears are potentially dangerous but feral dogs for example are far more likely to attack. Don’t freak out because of a potential bear sightings in Orange. With expansion in Louisiana it will eventually become more commonplace. I predict we’ll have fairly regular Southeast Texas sightings in a decade.

4. Read our article posted above to learn about what to do in the RARE instance of a black bear attack. Don’t worry about your dogs and cats being attacked. The hundreds of coyotes we have in Orange are a far bigger threat. And so are the roadways! Keep them in a fence.

5. They are a state-listed threatened species and illegal to kill. Leave them alone and don’t feed any bears you might come across. A fed bear ends up being a dead bear because they get too accustomed to people and have to be euthanized.

People who literally have no idea about wildlife should refrain from making public comments. I have heard things about black bears and Texas that are absolutely false.

People need to know bears are in Texas and although a rare sighting in Southeast Texas do show up.

I’ll leave you with this bear poster we started sending out through Texas Fish & Game back in 2007. You can get a .pdf of this by shooting me an email. I’ve been following the return of the bear to Texas for 20 years. It’s time people stop laughing about the idea of bears in Texas and get a clue.

The ugly side of wildlife social media rearer its head on this bear story and I propose we rejoice because wildlife got news coverage. Plus, there’s a very good chance a bear crossed into Orange County, TX.

How cool is that?

Chester Moore

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Wildlife Wednesday: TX Bear Sightings Increase In A Big Way

The big increase in bear sightings across my native state of Texas inspired Higher Calling Wildlife to focus heavily on black bears throughout our launch year of 2019.

This year there have been many more sightings, especially in West Texas. In fact, there were closures in some areas of Big Bend due to high bear activity.

This South Texas black bear photo was submitted to us by a hunter that was surprised to see this on his game camera.

In the podcast we did with Stephen F. Austin University officials, we learned in the eastern third of Texas, the best migrational routes in terms of undisturbed habitat for bears to preoccupy Texas comes from Oklahoma.

My close friend and research partner Todd Jurasek got some incredible game camera videos of black bears in the Kiamichi Mountains in Southeastern Oklahoma, showing the Sooner State has a burgeoning bear population in some areas.

Check out the clips by clicking on the links below.

Oklahoma Black Bear 1

Oklahoma Black Bear 2

Oklahoma Black Bear 3

People in states that have had large bear populations for decades like Oregon, Montana, and Alaska understand these animals.

But all forest-loving Americans need to become bear aware and realize these apex animals are increasing in the southern and eastern portions of the country.

Enjoy the above clips. Bear coverage in Texas and non-traditional bear states will continue.

Rogue Waves!

The latest episode of my Dark Outdoors podcast is up and it talks about dangerous rogue waves in Texas bays. You don’t want to miss hearing these firsthand testimonies of fishermen that encountered waves up to 15 feet in Texas bays.

Click here to listen

Ever seen a 10 foot wave that went across an entire bay?

How about a 15 footer with a sheer wall that hit a 15 foot boat?

We have these stories and more from eyewitnesses/survivors, plus some information from a boating group trying to raise awareness to this growing issue.

We explain what is causing these waves and show how they can make the outdoors experience go dark-very dark.

Permit in Texas

While we’re talking about bears in Texas, we might as well talk about something unusual on the aquatic side of things.

Permit are stunning sea flats-dwelling species that get big. They are said to be the moodiest of flats slam species (includes bonefish and tarpon) and will often ignore the most perfectly placed lure or fly.

Permit are indeed present in Texas in small numbers.

permit in Texas

Rider Colvin caught this juvenile permit while fishing with Capt. Brian Barerra in the South Padre area. Catches like this are rare in Texas.

Jared Guinn caught the Texas state record in the Gulf of Mexico in 1993. It only weighed 1.50 pounds. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence of permit close to this size caught in the Galveston Bay complex in recent years, from very informed anglers.

One of Capt. Brian Barerra’s young clients (pictured above) caught a permit in the South Padre area. It wasn’t a monster but in a very real way, it was the catch of a lifetime.

Have you ever caught a permit in Texas? We’d love to see the photo. Email photos to chester@chestermoore.com.

Gulf temperatures have been gradually warming and species like permit and even bonefish have been showing up in small numbers on the Texas Coast.

Duck Counts Are In

There has not been a duck population/pond count since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delta Waterfowl has put out a graphic of the numbers in comparison to the 2019 numbers (when they were counted last time). There is some interesting data here that reflects interesting trends in habitat conditions.

We will address that on an upcoming episode if the Higher Calling Wildlife® podcast and post it here.

Chester Moore

Email Chester at chester@chestermoore.com

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