The once-common animals were hunted out of the region by the 1950s. They've increasingly been spotted over the last decade as male bears wander in from Louisiana and elsewhere searching for new territory. Bears have been spotted 16 times since 1991. Now the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is debating what to do about the bears' return. They're even considering a controversial plan to build the population by releasing up to 30 mother bears and cubs into the wild, though approval isn't likely. "Once people understand bears are primarily vegetarians, bears are scared of humans, and they're not grizzly bears, they're not polar bears â nine times out of 10 they're going to support it," Hunt said. Bears are returning to Texas now because other states have successfully managed their remaining populations or reintroduced the species. Louisiana, for example, brought in bears from Minnesota in the 1960s. But Texas probably isn't going to actively reintroduce bears into the state. The state's bear plan is "driven by the fact we're going to have bears whether we want them or not," Garner said. For example, the migration of black bears from Mexico has led to a natural comeback in the Big Bend region of West Texas.