You're more likely to come across a wild black bear in Texas these days. Here's why and what to do if it happens.

Fall is the bears last shot at chowing down before they hibernate and their hunger will drive them all over the place according to Texas Parks & Wildlife. (TPWD)

Since hunting them was outlawed in the 80's, the bear population has slowly grown. 154 black bear sightings were confirmed in Texas as of October, up from 80 in 2021 and 25 in 2000.

If they find easy pickings like pet food or deer feeders, they get used to them and their fear of humans fades away which can lead to dangerous situations.

Individuals enjoying the outdoors are encouraged to stay alert and stay together, keep dogs leashed, double bag food and trash while hiking or camping, camp safely and know what to do if you see a bear.

Bear-proof garbage containers are a great option that many communities have deployed to reduce bear encounters. TPWD biologists encourage keeping trash bags in a secure location until the morning of trash pickup and feeding pets inside or limiting pet-food portions to an amount that can be consumed completely at each feeding.

. - TPWD

Don't give it any cocaine either.

If a bear approaches you, raise your arms, backpack ... whatever ... to make yourself look bigger. Rocks, slingshots and air horns may also scare it off.

If you're super close to a black bear, TPWD says to talk in a calm manner while backing away, not to make direct eye contact and for sure don't run. Bears love a good chase.

If attacked, fight back aggressively with anything available. Let the bear know you are not easy prey and DON'T PLAY DEAD. (TPWD)

For more bear safety tips, click here and here.

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Granted a few of these exotics are regulated and will require permits.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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