Mo. Dept. of Conservation encouraging public to ‘Be Bear Aware’ this summer

The Missouri Department of Conservation is reminding people to be bear aware this summer.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 1:46 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Conservation is reminding everyone to “Be Bear Aware” this summer.

According to a release from MDC, now is the prime time for seeing young male black bears on the move.

MDC Southeast Regional Administrator Matt Bowyer said only one species can be found in the state, the American black bear, though multiple color phases can be found in Missouri other than black, including brown, red or cinnamon.

“Young bears begin to wander seeking food and new areas to settle,” said Bowyer. “This time of year we are likely to see a bear, or two, as young males naturally wander in search of a new place to call home.”

MDC’s ongoing bear research indicates the Show-Me-State is currently home to around 800 black bears, and that population is growing by 8 percent each year.

Bowyer noted, while generally not aggressive, black bears are driven to find food, and they can become accustomed to obtaining food from humans.

MDC offered some tips to avoid issues if a bear has been sighted in the area:

  • Store garbage, recyclables, and compost inside a secure building or in a bear-proof container or location
  • Regularly clean and disinfect trash containers to minimize smells that could attract bears
  • Keep grills and smokers clean and store them inside
  • Don’t leave pet food outside. Feed pets a portion at each meal and remove the empty containers
  • Refrain from using birdfeeders in bear country from April through November. If in use, hang them at least 10 feet high and 4 feet away from any structure. Keep in mind that even if a bear cannot get to the birdseed, the scent could still attract it to the area
  • Use electric fencing to keep bears away from beehives, chicken coops, vegetable gardens, orchards, and other potential food sources

You can find more tips on being bear aware here.

Report bear sightings and submit photos online here.

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