DONIPHAN, MO (KFVS) - Daniel and Saydie Cook have lived in Doniphan, Missouri close to the Current River for years, but they say they've never seen anything like what they came across on Sunday afternoon.
They say the large black bear was on the bank of the river near Hunter, Mo.
"We see deer, we see snakes, all of those other things, a beaver, but for a bear, that's unbelievable," Saydie Cook said.
It was a normal day out boating on the Current River for the Cook family until Jaylyn saw something unexpected.
"I thought it was just something on the beach but it was really a bear," Jaylyn Cook said.
Then, she pointed it out to her mother.
"[She was] slapping at me and I looked over and I was like 'Oh my goodness!' and I turned around to him to show him," Saydie Cook said.
Daniel Cook snapped 57 photos total and shared them on Facebook.
"They ask you if you're kidding," Saydie Cook said.
Another Doniphan local said the news about the bear is a little scary, but it won't stop her from enjoying the Current River.
"Now, if you'd seen a cougar, that might be a different story," Kimberly Tejeda said.
Jason Langston, a Missouri Conservation Agent in Ripley County, said bear sightings in this area are extremely rare. However, he said if you happen to see one, don't sneak up on it, make lots of noise, and leave it alone. He said you should also report it to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Daniel Cook agrees.
"Feeding them can cause more harm to the animal, it seems fun at the time but you don't need to," Cook said.
Conservation officials say usually bears are nocturnal and want nothing to do with people but this bear had gotten too used to campers feeding it.
"It wasn't scared of us," Logan Cook said.
That's why wildlife biologists say they plan to trap the bear and relocate it.
Still, the Cook family said they will keep an eye out.
"We'll definitely keep watching the bank, that's for sure," Saydie Cook said.
Again, Missouri Conservation Agents told us it is very rare to see a bear in this part of Missouri along the Current River and agents plan to relocate this bear very soon. Langston said this is the only bear that they know of in the area. He said it likely came to the Heartland from Arkansas.