MDC warns bears are roaming St. Louisans

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Bears are out in the spring and early summer, and the Missouri Department of Conservation wants all Missouri residents to be cautious.

MDC said bears are commonly seen in counties like Jefferson, Franklin, Washington and Crawford, but a little over a year ago a male black bear was spotted in Richmond Heights in St. Louis County.

“Incidents like this remind us that black bears are becoming an increasing part of the St. Louis regional landscape, sometimes even in densely populated areas,” MDC said.

The department said Missouri is home to about 800 black bears and the population is growing at 8 percent annually.

“Only one species can be found in this state — the American black bear — although several color phases other than black are found in Missouri, so a bear’s fur can be brown, red, or cinnamon,” MDC said.

According to the department, bears are not typically aggressive. Their movement patterns are determined by the search for food and mates.

“Food, or rather that defect of which is key to avoiding conflicts with bears,” MDC said. “The last thing homeowners should do is tempt them with any type of food source, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Feeding bears can be dangerous as the bears thrive around humans. It can also result in bears doing significant property damage while looking for a meal.”

MDC suggests the following tips to avoid problems if a bear has been sighted in the area.

  • Store trash, recyclables, and compost in a secure building or in a bear-proof container or location.
  • Clean and disinfect trash receptacles regularly to minimize odors that could attract bears.
  • Keep grills and smokers clean and store indoors.
  • Do not leave animal feed outside. Feed pets one portion at each meal and remove empty containers.
  • Do not use bird feeders in bear country from April to November. When in use, hang them at least 10 feet high and 4 feet from any structure. Keep in mind that even if a bear can’t reach the bird seed, the smell could still lure it into the area.
  • Use electric fences to keep bears away from beehives, chicken coops, vegetable gardens, orchards, and other potential food sources.

These suggestions will also help reduce problems with other animals.

MDC also offered tips for safety when hiking and camping.

  • Never intentionally offer food to a bear!
  • Keep campgrounds clean and store all groceries, toiletries, and trash in a secure vehicle or high between two trees.
  • Do not store food or toiletries in a tent, and do not burn or bury trash or food waste.
  • Make noises, like clapping, singing, or talking loudly, while you’re hiking to avoid surprising a bear.
  • If possible, travel in a group.
  • Keep dogs on a leash.
  • If you are hiking or camping in bear country, be sure to take bear spray with you. Read the directions carefully, and keep bear spray on your belt or backpack waistbelt, not buried in your backpack, within easy reach.
  • Pay attention to the surroundings. If there are signs of a bear such as tracks or droppings, avoid the area.
  • Leave bears alone! Don’t approach them and make sure they have an escape route.

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/mdc-warns-st-louisans-bears-are-on-the-move/ MDC warns bears are roaming St. Louisans

Nate Jones

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