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Black bears reported throughout the Heartland

Black bear sightings have been reported throughout the Heartland this week.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:46 PM CDT
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BOLLINGER COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - Black bears have been spotted across the Heartland.

Jeremy Baker, a Bollinger County resident, got a notification from one of his outdoor cameras detecting movement on his property. He was startled when he opened his phone and saw photo of a bear standing in his backyard.

“I opened it up and there he stood,” Baker said. “I had heard they had been around several years ago, but I hadn’t ever seen one on my camera until then.”

Nate Bowersock is a black bear fur bear biologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation. According to him, bear sightings are a fact of life for Missouri residents, especially from April to November.

“We live in bear country,” Bowersock said.

In the event of a chance encounter, it is important to keep your composure.

“The big thing is staying calm, put distance between your bear as quickly as possible, don’t run, running is the worst thing you do, just slowly step backwards,” Bowersock said.

“Bears are just searching for food, so if you do see a bear in your neighborhood, it’s important to make sure you’re keeping the outside clean,” Bowersock said. “You’re keeping garbage contained, if you have grills or smokers outside try to clean them up after you use them because that decreases smell.”

However, if you do see a bear, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website allows you to report it.

“It’s helpful for us just to get an idea of where bears are,” Bowersock said. “If bears start hanging out in an area and maybe start getting into garbage or something that’s another way for us to track that so we can help alleviate the issue.”

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