During the nineteenth century, Arkansas was “The Bear State” because of its large population of black bears. Black bears were important to early Arkansas settlers who depended on bear meat, hides and oil for subsistence. Due to generations of unrestricted killing, only about 50 bears remained in Arkansas by the 1940s. In 1959, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began one of the nation’s more successful large mammal reintroductions by restoring black bears to the Ozark and Ouachita mountains. More than 3,500 black bears are now thriving in Arkansas, thanks to ongoing management by AGFC wildlife biologists.
Busvlogger recently had the opportunity to go behind the scenes on a bear den survey with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Their work is inspirational and adorable.
Please Note: Arkansas state law prohibits and levies a stiff fine for placing bait to attract bears for any reason, including observation and photography. American black bears are not teddy bears and observers should remain at a respectful distance from them.
Header Photo Courtesy Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.