Records of Black Bears in Kentucky
Black bears once ran rampant throughout the United States. However, their population was greatly reduced when they started losing habitats due to humans moving in. Historically, it is noted the black bear essentially left Kentucky in the early 1900’s. This was mainly influenced by logging companies, railroads, and unregulated hunting.
Over the last 20 years, the black bear has proven to be a wildlife success story, by becoming the most widespread species in the world. As the oak forests grew and matured after the substantial timber efforts, the bears were able to recolonize their old habitats.
Prior to the forests maturing, the bears who filtered into Kentucky had access to open tracts of high quality habitats. As a result of reforestation, Kentucky is now experiencing a large influx of bear population in numbers and range.