Black bears were common in central and west central Texas and then -- over-hunted and underfed -- they disappeared. The drought has brought them back. The sightings began last year.
Mike Krueger, district leader of the Edwards Plateau Wildlife District, said that severe drought conditions and a lack of available food and water in the bears’ natural habitat appears to be driving the animals to travel outside of their normal range and modify their behavior.“We’re getting a few reports of people seeing bears during daylight hours, and that’s unusual,” Krueger said. “It’s the associated water around homes, and the food, the pet food, the smell of cooking — all those things could attract bears.”In early August, a 2-year-old black bear was killed in Kerr County, north of San Antonio. The bear approached a man walking with his dogs, who said he felt threatened and shot the bear in self-defense. Killing black bears is illegal in Texas, because of the animals’ protected status.
Officials with Parks and Wildlife said that recent sightings in Central Texas were often of young bears, turned out by their mothers to establish new home ranges. The bear killed in Kerr County weighed only 103 pounds.
Krueger urged clemency for the animals. “We need to encourage everyone to be more tolerant of bears," he said. “We recommend people try to scare bears away, or go to a safe place and call us. But killing a bear should be a last resort unless a person is truly threatened.” ...Texas Tribune
That was last year. Now the warnings are out: the bears are here. That guy in Kerr County "just happened", I guess, to have his shotgun during a dog walk. He's a few miles away from where I live and, to tell the truth, he worries me more than the bears do.
Anyone who feeds deer during the winter (and the drought relapse) is going to have bears around looking for stray grains of corn and protein pellets. Everyone feeds the deer -- it's a requirement of citizenship here. Those of us who are lucky enough to have full water tank for the cattle will also see bears. And remember, neighbors, the bears are protected.