MDC Warns Missourians to be Bear Aware

Great black bear walking through the woods.

Great black bear walking through the woods.

Alton, Mo. – Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) warns the public to be bear aware in the spring and just year-round. They also gave some tips to avoid attracting bears and being conscious in bear country.

MDC says there are about 540 to 840 black bears that make their home in Missouri. Most of the bears are found in southern Missouri. Spring is arriving soon, and the black bears will be coming out of hibernation and will be looking for food to eat. MDC also said not to intentionally feed any bears that come to your property. MDC Resource Scientist and Furbearer Biologist Laura Conlee commented, “As black bears become active in the spring, they are on a mission to find food, keeping areas free of attractants and letting bears find natural foods is in everyone’s best interest. If you see a bear, let the animal be and enjoy the sighting, but be sure to not offer it any food.” She also said that a fed bear is a dead bear. [1]

Ways to Keep Bears Away

MDC offered some ways to keep bears away from possible food options. Put garbage in a secure building or a bear-proof container, clean your grills and store them inside, don’t leave pet food outside, don’t put birdfeeders out at least from April to November, or you can hang it up 10 feet above the ground, but the bear may still be attracted to it.

Tips Outside in Bear Country

You also need to be bear aware when outside hiking or just enjoying the view. Some tips when you’re out in bear country is making a lot of noise, so you don’t surprise the bear, keep your dogs on leashes, travel in a group if you can. If there are signs of a bear, leave the place, and leave bears alone, do not approach them and make sure they have a way to escape.

Be bear aware as you’re taking a walk, enjoying a particular view, or just doing stuff around the yard. You don’t want to meet up with a black bear or any bear.


  1. ^Grelle, Olivia. “Missouri Department of Conservation warns the public to be Bear Aware.”, 18 Feb. 2020, . (go back↩)

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