JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — A bear was spotted in a yard outside of Festus, Missouri Wednesday. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says that Missourians should be bear-aware as the spring turns to summer.

Human and bear interactions can have serious consequences. Try to avoid bears, if possible. Never corner them and make sure they have an escape route.

The Missouri Department of Conservation also says that you should never feed a bear. This may cause them to lose their fear of humans and encourage them to explore places like campsites and homes. It can also make them aggressive if they don’t get the food they’re looking for. This can be dangerous for everyone.

Missouri has a growing bear population. The state started to allow a limited hunting season in 2021. The deadline for applications is May 31.