Before you know it, we will be moving outside again as the weather begins to warm up. The summer months mean cookouts – as in food cooked outdoors – and sometimes left outdoors, attracting critters.

That includes black bears, who are always down for a snack.

Last spring and summer, there were several black bear sightings in southeastern Massachusetts, a trend that has increased in recent years.

READ MORE: SouthCoast Could See More Black Bears in 2024

While black bears are common in central and western Massachusetts, they were rare in these parts until recently.

MassWildlife biologist Dave Wattles told, "Male bears are looking to establish new territory," allowing them to "avoid competing with other male bears for dominance and food."

There are as many as 5,000 black bears in Massachusetts, and Wattles said it's possible the bears that have found their way to southeastern Massachusetts "will decide to become permanent residents."

MassWildlife says, "Male black bears generally range in weight from 130 to 600 pounds and females from 100 to 400 pounds."

Largest Black Bear On Record In Massachusetts Weighed This Much
Courtesy Jennifer Diglaw
loading... says Athol, Massachusetts native Jim Mundell shot a 650-pound black bear in 2015, that fell short of the state record.

Cambridge Day reports, "The largest black bear ever taken in Massachusetts is estimated to have weighed about 700 pounds." No details of the catch were immediately available.

That's nothing compared to the 780-pound black bear taken down by 51-year-old Brad Jones of Greenville, North Carolina, in December 2023. WITN News says the weight may be a world record for a black bear.

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MassWildlife suggests you bear-proof your property to avoid attracting black bears and other unwanted critters. There were several sightings in New Bedford and Fall River, so this is not a problem exclusive to the suburbs.

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States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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