Black bears (Ursus americanus) are common in Massachusetts with an estimated 4,500 bears residing in the state. They live throughout western Massachusetts and as far east as the I-95 corridor in the northern part of the state.  Black bears are omnivores and most of their diet consists of plants. In Massachusetts they are most often found in forest and wetland habitats.

Map of Massachusetts showing established and expanding bear ranges
Range of black bears in Massachusetts

Image credit:  MassWildlife

Historically, much of the forested land in Massachusetts was cleared for agriculture. With reduction of habitat and hunting for the fur trade, black bears were nearly extirpated from the state by the mid 1800’s. The few remaining bears were isolated to a small population in the Berkshires. However, over time, many lands previously used for agriculture are now forested again. With more habitat, the black bear population grew and continues to expand eastward across the state.

Black bear in a corn field

Photo credit: MassWildlife