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SUNSET HILLS, Mo. – A viewer in the Sunset Hills area in St. Louis County captured this photo of a black bear.

Earlier in the week there were reports of bear sightings in Fenton. A post on Facebook said there were some in the Romaine Creek area.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says they have seen an uptick in bear sightings in Jefferson, Franklin, and Crawford Counties recently.

According to Missouri Department of Conservation Biologist Laura Conlee, this is the prime time of year when bears are on the move searching for food and looking for areas to settle. Adult male bears move large distances to search for potential mates. She says it’s important that people remove bear attractants from their property, such as bird feeders, trash, barbeque grills, pet food, and food waste.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is warning residents to be on the lookout for black bears who make their way to Missouri in the springtime.

They say the bears come from Wisconsin looking for food and potential mates. Illinois has seen its fair share of wandering black bears through the years because of neighboring states.

The department says if you happen to see a black bear this spring or summer, you should give them plenty of space, do not feed them, and do not approach them.

You can report bear sightings in both states. In Missouri, you can fill out a form on the MDC website. In Illinois, you can report sightings on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources site.

Learn more about what to do if you see a black bear by visiting