Black bear spotted in Grayson County - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Black bear spotted in Grayson County

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A black bear was seen in Bells, Texas, on May 11, 2018. (Photo courtesy Rhonda Meller Kaczor) A black bear was seen in Bells, Texas, on May 11, 2018. (Photo courtesy Rhonda Meller Kaczor)
Confirmed Texas black bear sightings 2006-2016. (TPWD) Confirmed Texas black bear sightings 2006-2016. (TPWD)

BELLS, Texas -- Kristian Cole had an unexpected visitor in her yard Friday afternoon: A black bear.

"It surprises me just because we're in Texas," Cole said after having a bear encounter in Bells, 12 miles east of Sherman. "I know there are probably bears in northern Oklahoma, closer to the Colorado border over there."

Texas Game Warden Shane Bailey said the young black bear was also spotted at Carpenter's Bluff. As you might expect, black bears are not a common sight in Grayson County.

"We've seen them in southwest Texas and northeast Texas, but this is the only one I know about that's been around here," Bailey said.

Cole said the bear she was was not aggressive, and the game warden said that's to be expected.

"Most bears will just leave you alone if you leave them alone," Bailey said. That's what we're telling the public: Just let it be."

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says male black bears can range over 20,000 acres, while females are generally limited to 5,000 acres.  They will eat almost anything that's available, although up to 90 percent of their diet is vegetarian: Nuts, fruits, berries and plants.

A map of confirmed black bear sightings in Texas over a 10-year-period ending in 2016 showed that while the animals had been observed in the northeast corner of the state, none had been seen in Grayson, Cooke, Fannin or Lamar counties.

Oklahoma State University says black bears "are becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the landscape of eastern and southeastern Oklahoma."

Texomans out enjoying the Denison Dam area aren't too worried about a run-in with this bear.

"It'll probably have me looking over my shoulder a little more, but I think it'd be pretty cool to see one," said Troy Guter.

The game warden is urging people not to feed the bear and to give them a call if you see it.

"Try not to ... take your scraps out to the backyard, because bears are attracted to scraps," Bailey advised, adding that black bears are protected in the state.

"Please don't shoot the bear. You can defend yourself in Texas, but please don't shoot this bear," he said. 

There is a $10,000 fine for violations.

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