bear in north carolina

Are There Bears In North Carolina? Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Bears In North Carolina?

It may surprise you that a century back, North Carolina State was swarming with black bears. Sadly, there was a drastic decrease in the bear population during the mid-1900s. 

Rapid urbanization and the rise in city expansion brought bears closer to humans. This also led to increased hunting and killing of bears as a sport. And by the mid of 20th century, only a few bears were found in North Carolina state. Thanks to efforts by conservationists, the early 2000s saw the resurgence of the bear population in North Carolina. 

Below I’ve explained everything you need to know about the bears in North Carolina. 

Are There Bears In North Carolina?

As per credible sources, about 60% of the area in North Carolina is occupied by Black bears. Black bears are solitary creatures and are mostly shy and not aggressive. 

As most of their food is plant-based, the black bears prefer to live in woodlands and swamplands with thick forest covers.

What Types of Bears Are In North Carolina?

The only type of bear found in North Carolina state is the American black bear. It is important to note that when we say a Black bear, black doesn’t refer to the bear’s color. Black is the bear’s species name. Black bears have fur from brown color to blonde. Based on the location and the food consumed, some black bears also have cinnamon-colored fur. 

In North Carolina though, the Black bears have black fur with tan muzzles. Few black bears in North Carolina state also have a white blaze on their chest.

Black bears generally weigh around 200 to 400 pounds. But, based on the location, the black bear may weigh even more.

What Part Of North Carolina Has the Most Bears?

North Carolina is home to about 20,000 black bears. This was not the case in the mid-1900s. Extensive hunting, and conversion of land from wild to agricultural land, killed a substantial number of Black bears. 

Credits to the outstanding efforts by the wildlife commission and various government offices. Widespread awareness among the public has resulted in a healthy bear population across various counties in the state of North Carolina.

Black bears are omnivores. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that most of the bears in North Carolina inhabit the mountains and coastal areas where there is an abundance of meat, insects, and plant-based product. In particular, North Carolina’s Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula has the densest population of Black bears.

Are Grizzly Bears In North Carolina?

Grizzly bears are another species of bears found in the North American continent. These bears weigh from 150 to 400 pounds with male bears weighing more than the female bears. These bears also reach a height of 7-8 ft when standing.

They can be easily differentiated from Black bears due to the presence of a hump. The longer front claws which are double that of black bears also come in handy to differentiate the 2 beasts. 

Currently, there is no Grizzly bear population in North Carolina. However, as Black bears may also have brown fur, some people confuse them with Grizzly bears.

How Many Black Bear Attacks In North Carolina?

Are There Bears In North Carolina?

Black bears don’t pose a threat to humans and only attack when provoked. Exceptions do include especially when bear cubs and food is involved.

Black bears are reclusive and live a solitary life. However, mother black bears are very protective of their cubs. Therefore, if you see a cub, leave the place at once as the mother bear may perceive you as a threat and attack you.

As black bears’ diet mostly includes fruits, nuts, and leaves they don’t hunt humans for food. However, 20% of a Black bear’s diet consists of insects and ants. These bears, therefore, perceive the garbage and pet food as their own food and consume them. And when a human is near such a food source, bears will attack you.

As per statistics, there hasn’t been a single unprovoked attack in North Carolina. This doesn’t mean there are no chances for this in the future.

What County in NC Has Most Bears?

Unlike most states in the U.S., North Carolina inhabits Bears in all its counties. The number may vary due to many reasons like population density, availability of forests, shorelines, etc. 

Currently, as per reports Dare County has the densest population of Black bears in the state. This county has more amount of federal area. Federal areas do not allow bear hunting. This could also be one of the reasons why Dane County has the densest population of Black bears.

Also Check Out Our Guide On Bears In Texas

Can You Shoot a Bear In North Carolina?

It is illegal to shoot a Black bear in North Carolina unless you have a license/warrant. However, it’s legal to shoot a bear for self-defense, to save your pet, or to save your property when it is under attack from the bear.

Hunting of bears is allowed in the state of North Carolina. This is not the case in most other states. In states like Texas, it is illegal to shoot bears as they are designated as a threatened species in the state. Bear hunting is encouraged in North Carolina to control the rapidly growing population of Black bears in the state. 

Just because bear hunting/killing is legal in North Carolina, any encounter with a black bear shouldn’t be taken lightly. Unless you are prepared, taking down a black bear alone is next to impossible. Therefore, always be cautious and prepared.

Do Bears In North Carolina Hibernate?

All black bears living in North America hibernate during winter as there is a scarcity of food. However, the process may not be the same everywhere. 

Hibernation vastly depends on the bear’s habitat. It is important to note that, unlike rodents, Black bears don’t just hibernate the whole time during winter. 

Yes, the black bears create an inventory of food during fall and use it during the winter for survival. They live in the den most of the time and don’t move much. 

However, if needed, the black bears also eat the available plant-based products in the forest, some meat they get. It largely depends on the bear’s habitat and current inventory.

Also Check Our Guide On Bears In US


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

Thank You For Reading!

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