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MONROE COUNTY, Ill. – So far this year, we have seen bear sightings across many Missouri communities. Sightings are now being reported across the river near Waterloo, Illinois.

“The Mississippi River to something like a bear or deer is not that big of deal,” Illinois Conservation Police Officer Don Schachner said. 

The bear population is making the plunge from Arkansas to Missouri, and now to Illinois. One lonesome bear has even found itself a home outside of Waterloo. 

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department is working to capture the large bear, seen near Old Baum Church Road Thursday morning in the Chantilly Village area.

“I look over out of my shoulder and there’s a bear staring at me in the window,” said Alan Eggemeyer, homeowner. “At first, I was like, ‘Well, that’s just the dog,’ usually its tail just runs by the window. Then it dawned on me to take a look again. My wife had taken the girls to camp and had taken the dog with her, so the dog wasn’t here.” 

Eggemeyer took out his phone and captured it all on camera. 

“I have those lever handle doorknobs, ya know, he put his nose right underneath and it was like, ‘Oh goodness, I hope he can’t open that door,’” he said.

Eggemeyer then got a phone call from his wife.

“So she’s calling me, she’s in the driveway, returning. And she said, ‘There’s a bear in the front yard!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I just had it on the back porch, so please don’t come down here.’” 

The sheriff’s department and the Illinois Conservation Police are working to capture it and encourage all residents to stay inside. They also urge people to keep their pets inside.

“In 22 years, I’m pleased to say this the first one I have been able to confirm,” Schachner said. “This one’s legit, no question it’s legit. Leave it be. Let it do its business. Its goal is not to sit there on your front porch and grab you when you come out the door. It’s out snooping around looking for food.”

This is the only sighting conservation police have confirmed in the area. They do not know where the bear went after its visit to the subdivision. They say if you encounter a bear, don’t try to scare it. Leave it be, and don’t leave out food and trash.    

If you spot the bear, the sheriff’s department said you should dial 911.

They also said:

  • DO NOT feed it
  • DO NOT approach
  • DO NOT shoot it
  • DO NOT leave dog or cat food outside
  • DO NOT put trash cans out until the day of pickup