Bear population on the rise in Missouri

Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On Monday, June 28, a bear was hit by a vehicle on Highway 60 near Republic.

Sightings of bears have increased in the Ozarks.

Summer marks three major events for most bears in the area: Mating season, juvenile male bears finding new homes, and preparation for hibernation.

The increase in bear population has contributed to the first-ever Missouri regulated bear hunting season, which begins in October.

There was yet another bear sighting in Chesterfield this weekend. A Ring camera picked up some video of a bear outside of a home. Also over the weekend, a bear was spotted in Wildwood, Missouri. It is unclear if this is the same bear.

The bear spotted in Wildwood came right up to a family deck on Sunday morning. It’s not what Sara Dayley expected to catch on camera when her alarms rang.

“My cameras were just beeping left and right and I said, ‘That’s weird.’ It does it during a storm because the wind blows and the trees will catch some of the activity, but it was quiet at 4:30 in the morning,” she said. “So, I looked at (nest camera video) and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute.’ I looked at it like three or four times before I realized it was a bear on my deck.”

She’s surrounded by trees, but she’s not exactly in the sticks.

“We are so close to 109. We see deer and they’re very used to humans. They’ll walk past you and not even blink, but like a bear? I was shocked,” she said. “I went upstairs and woke up my 9-year-old, oh my god! You’re never going to believe what happened on the deck!”

Just last week, the Missouri Department of Conservation reported Missouri is home to 800 black bears with about a 9% annual growth population.

In May, FOX 2 reported on a bear in a Richmond Heights tree. Police and conservation tranquilized it, loaded it into a truck, and returned it to the wild.

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