View Full Version : Black bears in southern AL?

May 22, 2012, 08:56 PM
I heard that someone hit a 300 lb black bear in Southeast Alabama not too long ago. I've never heard of bears in Alabama. Maybe they are starting to move here? Hopefully I see more because I've really wanted to bear hunt

Bud Helms
May 23, 2012, 03:54 AM
Black bear population has been thriving in Alabama ever since ... forever. But it does seem that there is some concern about their future in Alabama.

There is an Alabama Black Bear Alliance (http://alabamablackbearalliance.org/).



DISTRIBUTION: The American black bear is the most widespread inhabitant of all the North American bears. Their population was once estimated to be two million, but has been reduced to an estimated 700,000 animals due primarily to habitat destruction. Black bears inhabit forested areas scattered throughout North America. They can be found as far south as Florida and as far north as Alaska. The largest population centers and contiguous ranges of black bears are found in the northeast and western parts of the United States, northern Mexico, Canada, and Alaska. Black bears in Alabama are primarily limited to Baldwin, Mobile, and Washington counties. Reports of bears have been confirmed in several northeast counties but are suspected of being transient bears from other southeastern states.

Moving to the Hunting Forum ...

May 23, 2012, 06:23 AM
Wow, I've never seen any in AL

May 23, 2012, 07:16 AM
Florida is holding a strong bear population but we cannot hunt them...

I know persons who dropped hunting leases due to the bears being to much a nuisance to the deer or hogs they wish to feed...

One guy had tons of bears on cam and no hogs and 1 or 2 deer... He found a lease with less bear traffic so he could fill his freezer...

BTW, I am 30 miles from Florala, Al...


May 23, 2012, 07:25 AM
Ms used to be a bear hunting paradise and I imagine Al was about the same. Teddy Roosevelt hunted bear here but now they're few and far between. The fines for killing one are extreme to say the least.

May 23, 2012, 10:52 AM
Black bears have doubled the population in northern America in the last few decades. Black bears are NOT at all a threatened species and in fact are becoming much of a nuisance in many areas because of their growing population.

It is laughable reading the literature about black bears in Alabama from those that support the ABBA. I never "knew" that black bears are "very poor predators." Black bears exposed to suburbs are anything but "shy" as well. I am not impressed with the "Alabama Black Bear Alliance" at all. Just as we have a growing polar bear population and huge propaganda to "save the polar bear," will the black bear be the next poster child of the environmentalist's? Just asking.


May 24, 2012, 03:38 AM
I read the article by the state biologist and am inclined to agree with his summary. Black bears are not common in AL by any means, though a transient bear in the north east appalachian areas is occassionaly sighted, and others in the SE as noted in the article and the OP.

I've spent a bunch of time afield here in NW Alabama, over twenty years, , personal time on WMAs hunting, and on the job marking boundary and general patrol, and have never seen a bear, or any sort of bear sign.

I have seen "dumbed down" bears in other locales, used to humans and easy food. The black bears in Great Smokeys are sort of dumbed down to a degree, these days, but not as bad as 25 or so years ago.

In VA, I had many a run in on the trail. All those bears were truely wild and would not tolerate human contact.

May 24, 2012, 02:34 PM
Dear Bamaranger,

The numbers in the article from other source appear to be accurate. My take is the tone of the article that completely ignored the fact that black bear populations have doubled in north America in the last 2-3 decades which is well documented in numerous sources.

The fact that they are spreading back into alabama is also documented after being exterminated years ago in that state.

The other issue is his consideration that black bears are poor predators. Grizzly bears are considered apex predators, yet their diet is predominantly vegetarian just as black bears. Black bears are very capable predators and they are also scavengers and opportunist eaters. Black bears eat moose and elk calfs and have been known to ambush even adult moose and elk. They also eat a wide variety of insects as well in addition to the large amount of vegetation. In addition, they are very capable of catching trout and salmon. With the ability to outrun much of their prey, calling them a poor predator is a distortion of the truth in my opinion.

By any account, the linked article above I posted is a biased report. It would be nice to see a balanced report on black bears in Alabama without invoking sympathetic support through slanted opinions. We have much too much of that now in all of our "scientific" reports in multiple fields.

May 26, 2012, 01:28 AM
Hey Alaska,

The predator comment seemed pretty lame to me as well. And I also agree that black bear numbers are up overall, given my observations in PA, VA, NC and TN over the course of my lifetime and career.

My take on the article and the intent of my comments was that I agreed there were not very many bears in AL and they were not really causing any issues here.

I have never seen your state and hope to some day. I do own a vintage Bearcat .22 that went to Alaska, homesteading as I understand it.

Good shooting.

May 26, 2012, 02:02 AM
Thanks Bama, agreed that Ala is not a big bear state but it probably won't take too long from migration and locally.

Take a gander at Alaska some time. I grew up there and don't live their any longer. We are spend the majority of the year up in northern Idaho and I suspect that is as far north as my wife will ever get. Thankfully, it is a wild and rugged land as well. The bonus is not nearly as many mosquitoes as Alaska. :D

May 27, 2012, 09:26 PM
In SoCal, Black bears come down and use people's spas and pools around Pasadena...

May 30, 2012, 08:52 PM
Sure seen them in good numbers in Tallahassee Fla.& a few around bainebridge Ga. pretty close to ALA.

June 1, 2012, 10:48 AM
Can't imagine why you wouldn't have 'em. Florida is FULL of the things, I once counted 6 in a friends camp in the Ocala, sightings there and in surrounding counties are constant......one used to sleep on the caretakers front step......GFC caught that fella & relocated him after numerous complaints in a nearby town. Couple of years back we had one just north of Main St. in Daytona Beach......again a relocate & that particular one returned only to get smashed on I-95...road kills are a constant issue on E/W SR 40.

Both the National Forests in No. Fla. have similarly substantial populations and young males tend to strike out looking for territory.

Would that our do nothing, non managing GFC would do the right thing and open a season........they will, only after some kid gets eaten, just like the gator issue.

June 1, 2012, 12:14 PM
Sure seen them in good numbers in Tallahassee Fla.& a few around bainebridge Ga. pretty close to ALA.

I will try to post some pics later when I'm not at work:rolleyes:. A lot of people around here stopped putting certain feed out for deer like apple flavored and sweet feed, because the bear would gang up on it. I learned this the hard way.