Are There Bears In Arizona? Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Bears In Arizona?
Are There Bears In Arizona? Everything You Need to Know

Arizona is known well for its desert basin, range region, and Grand Canyon, which is one of the most tourist favorite places to visit in the world. It may not surprise you that Arizona also inhabits bears. 

Currently, the only types of bears found in Arizona are the Black bears. Black bears are also found in other places in the North American continent. Like other states, Arizona has a healthy population of these black bears. Due to the sheer number, though rare, there have been some sightings of black bears throughout the state. 

Let us consider the Great Canyon. Even here, there have been various sightings of black bears in the north rim and south rim area of the park. 

Below I’ve explained everything you need to know about the Bears In Michigan.

Are There Bears in Arizona?

Yes. Arizona does have bears. Like most states in the country, a healthy population of Black bears lives here. However, they are the only type of bears found in Arizona. 

There was a time when grizzly bears, the biggest in the bear family, roamed the high terrains of Arizona. As black bears can come in diverse colors from brown to blonde, many people confuse them to be grizzly bears.

In the early 20th century, as people started occupying more land for farming and ranching, the Grizzlies were driven away to protect the livestock. Moreover, due to their size and aggressiveness, grizzlies were also widely hunted and as a result, throughout the United States, there has been a drastic reduction of the Grizzly bear population.

So, if you spot a brown, 6ft bear in Arizona, it is a Black bear. Though black bears are smaller and less aggressive than Grizzly bears, it is not safe for people to be light-hearted when spotting one. 

Where Are Bears Found in Arizona?

The smallest in the family, black bears are shy and reclusive. They are called black as a species but are also found with brown, blonde cinnamon-colored furs. Being omnivores, they mostly consume only plant-based food which occupies about 80-90% of their diet. Insects and meat make up the remaining portion of their diet.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that these bears are found across forests where there is an abundant supply of plant-based food sources. You can also find these bears in swamps and lower parts of mountains where there is enough flora for them to sustain. 

Having said that, do not be surprised if you find one in your backyard. Black bears can smell food from miles away and will consume anything plant-based or meat-based. 

Therefore, to avoid visitation from the not-so-friendly black bears, secure any and every food source outside your house. Be it pet food or garbage, store them in containers and if required install electric fencing around your property.

Also Check Our Guide On Bears In US

How Common Are Bears in Arizona?

Black bears are quite common in Arizona. Their range is between 7 to 15 square miles however, they will travel farther if they need to find food/water. There have been recent sightings of bears in metro areas in search of food. However, it is rare, most of the black bear sightings have taken place in the white mountains.

It is estimated that there are about 3,500 bears living in the state. Considering the population, there is about 1 bear for every 2000 people.

This means, occasionally, you may spot a Black bear if you travel to Arizona. However, this is rare. Though most bears live near human habitat, people seldom encounter them and it’s good to keep it that way.

Can You Hunt Bear in Arizona?

Are There Bears In Arizona?
Are There Bears In Arizona? Everything You Need to Know

Now to the most important question. If by the worst luck, you encounter a black bear and it comes towards you, can you kill it? 

Yes. It is legal to kill a black bear in Arizona for self-defense. However, you cannot hunt it or kill it as a sport. Special permits and permissions must be availed from the state department to hunt a black bear in Arizona.

Bears in general avoid humans except when food is involved. Therefore, if there are frequent incursions of black bears and a loss of fear towards humans, you can issue a complaint to the state department, and the bears will be euthanized or relocated. However, note that such bears have a low survival rate in the new location as they must now compete with other bears for food.

How Many Bear Attacks Per Year in Arizona?

Though rare, there have been few bear attacks in Arizona. Only 10 bear attacks have been reported in the last 70 yrs. in the state of Arizona, with one attack killing the victim. 

Therefore, it is safe to say that there is less than one bear attack per year in Arizona state. Yes, it is rare, but it is always safe to follow precautions provided by state and local authorities to avoid any bear encounters. 

This solitary animal weighs about 200 to 400 pounds and reaches a height of 6-7 ft when standing. Therefore, do not take them lightly and think that you could fight one of them. 

Also Check Out Our Guide On Bears In Michigan

What Is the Biggest Bear Killed in Arizona?

Though Black bears are the smallest bears in their family, there have been reports of catching one weighing 899 pounds in Arizona. The 899-pound black bear was shot in the December of 1921 on the Maqui reservation. 

As black bears consume a lot of plant-based food like leaves, fruits, and insects in the fall to create inventory, it does not come as a surprise that a bear weighs 899 pounds. Additionally, the bear was caught just at the onset of winter, when they have the maximum inventory stored to help them sustain and survive through the lean winter.


And that was everything you need to know about the Bears In Arizona. I hope this article was informative and your queries were answered.

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