There is no open season for Black Bears in Alabama
Historically, Alabama’s black bear population only occurred in the southwest portion of the state, primarily in Mobile, Washington and Clarke counties. The bears of this region of the state are of the Florida subspecies, Ursus americanus floridanus, and while in low numbers here, are quite abundant throughout many areas of Florida.
In recent years, black bears have steadily immigrated into northeast Alabama from northwest Georgia, primarily to DeKalb, Cherokee and Etowah counties, and have established a small, but viable population in that region of the state. While these bears look very similar to the Florida bear, they are classified as a different subspecies, the American Black Bear, Ursus americanus americanus. In addition to these core areas, sporadic bear sightings have been documented in other areas throughout the state, which may indicate that Alabama’s black bear populations are slowly increasing.
The Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division is currently working with Auburn University to conduct research on black bears within the state. Data collected will yield information on black bear population size, density, basic demographics, confirmation of the subspecies, and will provide insight on the mechanics of re-colonizing large carnivores. This information will also help with future black bear management practices for our growing population.
For information on bear research or questions about Alabama's black bear population, contact the Wildlife Section's Large Carnivore Coordinator:
30571 Five Rivers Boulevard
Spanish Fort, AL 36527