Missouri advises residents to be ‘Bear Aware’ this Spring

Missouri Advises Residents To Be Bear Aware This Spring 1
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JEFFERSON, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation estimates there are 800 black bears in Missouri, with most of them being in the southern region. MDC Black Bear Biologists advise residents to stay ‘Bear Aware’ this Spring.

Biologist Nate Bowersock says it is important that people remove bear attractants from their property, such as bird feeders, trash, barbeque grills, pet food, and food waste.

“As black bears become active in spring, they are on the search for food,” said Bowersock. “Keeping areas free of attractants to allow bears to find natural foods on their own is in everyone’s best interest. If you see a bear, leave the animal alone and enjoy the sighting, but be sure to not offer it any food.”

Bowersock adds that intentionally feeding bears can be extremely dangerous.

“When bears lose their fear of humans, they could approach people in search of food or become defensive around food sources or territory they associate with people, which can make them dangerous,” said MDC Wildlife Damage Biologist Josh Wisdom. “When this happens, the bear cannot be relocated and has to be destroyed. A fed bear is a dead bear.”

Beware the Bear

Though they might seem harmless and cuddly, bears can pose a risk to residents within the city and certainly in the wild.

The MDC says food is usually a bear’s main motivator when it comes to interactions and conflict.

Here are some tips to avoid attracting black bears to food sources:

  • Stash and latch trash. Store garbage, recyclables, and compost inside a secure building or in a bear-proof container until trash pick-up day.
  • 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 bird feeders 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 feeder, 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.
  • Keep campsites clean and store all food, toiletries and trash in a secure vehicle or strung high between two trees. Do not keep food or toiletries in a tent, and do not burn or bury garbage or food waste.

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