http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/4097720.html Support growing for bringing bears back to East Texas Associated Press TYLER -- Momentum is building to bring bears back to East Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, along with and a group of government officials and landowners called the East Texas Black Bear Task Force, are gauging public opinion on a plan to repopulate forests with the reclusive animal. If enough public support is mustered, state officials said they may act on a proposal to place 30 female bears into parts of East Texas. Supporters include hunters and conservation groups, while opponents say the bears are dangerous and could discourage development. In either case, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department believes it could be a decade before a decision is made. "We've got eight or nine years to try and get into a position where we can reintroduce females with the caveat that there has to be public support for it," said Nathan Garner, a regional wildlife director for the state agency. Repopulating efforts in neighboring states have been so successful that Arkansas and Oklahoma have allowed limited bear hunting in some areas. There are an estimated 3,500 bears in Arkansas and as many as 700 in Louisiana. The current black bear population in East Texas is unknown, though discussions about Stephen F. Austin conducting a population study have taken place. Most of the recent sightings in the piney woods are believed to be solitary males wandering from neighboring states. A proposal called the East Texas Black Bear and Conservation Plan, published last year, lists four areas that the report says are suitable for bear habitats: three along the Neches River and one on the Sulphur River. A male bear's home range can stretch as far as 100 miles. "We would love to have them back here in the wild," said Rusty Goates, vice president of the Newton County Landowners and Leaseholders Association and a member of the bear task force. "The serious hunters are going to be for it." A Michigan State University survey of Southeast Texas residents found that most shared a favorable attitude about reintroducing bears, though not everyone was so sure. "I don't feel that people in East Texas would take well to stocking bears," one survey respondent wrote. "There would be many shot on site." http://www.countryworldnews.com/Editorial/ETX/2005/et0224bears.htm They are coming for you Trickblue.