The people's voice of reason

Black Bear sited in South Montgomery County

On Monday, Montgomery area cattle farmer reported the sighting of a black bear on their property near Snowden. Black bears are native to Alabama; but their population was nearly exterminated in the nineteenth century. Bears are making a population rebound in Alabama; but the recovery has been slow.

Most of the bear sightings in Alabama are of transient bears, usually young males, who are just wandering through the state. There are breeding populations of black bears in Southest Alabama in Baldwin and Mobile Counties. There is also a smaller population in northwest Alabama.

While bears are a game species with hunting seasons in other states and Canada, there is not a huntable population of bears in any part of the state. Killing a bear or a cougar is illegal in Alabama.

A Wetumpka man was arrested for illegally killing a black bear in Elmore County in September. Michael Watkins, age 32, of Wetumpka, Alabama, was arrested and charged with killing a black bear.

Matt Weathers is the Chief of Enforcement with the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR).

"Hopefully this arrest will send a message and deter future wildlife regulation violations related to Alabama's black bear population," said Weathers. "If you see a black bear, just leave it alone. We want them in Alabama."

Anyone shooting at or killing a black bear risks serious consequences... In Alabama, shooting at a black bear is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential minimum fine of $2,000. Other penalties for attempting to take a black bear include the loss of hunting and fishing license privileges for three years and possible jail time. ADCNR emphasizes that black bears are secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. To avoid attracting a bear to your home, feed pets just enough food that they can consume in one meal. Secure uneaten pet food, trash bins, bird and other wildlife feeders, as they are easy pickings for hungry young bears.

If you encounter/observe a black bear, WFF offers these suggestions:

• Do not be frightened

• Do not approach the animal

• Do not run from the bear; back away slowly

• Stand tall and upright and make loud noises

• Avoid direct eye contact with the bear

• Make sure the bear has an unobstructed direction to escape

• Never purposely feed a bear

The public is encouraged to report black bear sightings online at

Black bear sightings can also be reported to WFF district wildlife offices, or by email to Thomas Harms at

ADCNR promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. You can learn more at:


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