Black Bear travels 400 miles to a Cape Girardeau County family's driveway

Black Bear makes surprise visit to Cape Girardeau County family's home
Published: Jun. 7, 2016 at 2:14 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A family in Cape Girardeau County got an unexpected visitor last week when a black bear wandered onto their driveway.

While it can be surprising to see black bears in the Heartland, this particularly bear's journey is even more shocking.

Phillip O'Kelly says his daughter was sitting on the porch, Friday morning, when she saw something walking toward the home which sits near the Lake Girardeau Conservation Area.

"A little black bear came through the path right through there," O'Kelly said.

By the time he got outside, the commotion of family members trying to get a view spooked the bear back into the woods.

"When they scared him and then he turned around," he said. "It was very neat to see it."

It's when the O'Kelly's called the Missouri Department of Conservation to report the sighting that they found out how far the bear had traveled.

With a tracking tag and collar, agents say the 3-year-old male covered about 400 miles across the state.

It started in the southern Ozarks in Christian County, then traveling to the St. Louis area in Warren County, before coming down to Cape Girardeau County.
"He wasn't aggressive," O'Kelly said.

Conservation agents say the male was likely looking for a mate. They say bears will generally avoid humans unless they begin to associate them with food.

Agents say it's important to make sure trash is secured and there are no scraps lying around outside in order to not attract black bears.

As for O'Kelly it was a sight he won't soon forget, as short as it was.

"Would have been nice to see him a little longer, get a picture, but you don't always see that."

The Department of Conservation says Missouri is home to about 400 bears mostly in the southern region of the state.

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