Black bear sighting in Bloomfield, Mo.

Black bear sighting in Bloomfield, Mo.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Conservation says bears are becoming more common and widespread across the southern half of Missouri, and recently, they’ve been spotted in the Heartland.

This past week, a Bloomfield resident caught a black bear snacking on his back porch and has the photos to prove it.

“Well, he showed up Saturday night, and the last five nights he’s been here on my back deck.”

Bloomfield resident Robert Johnson said, at first, he would leave food out for the bear, but stopped after he was advised not to.

“Conservation called and more or less said don’t be putting anymore feed out because he’s going to get used to coming to it and being around people. And that makes him more dangerous because he’s going to get used to people,” Johnson said.

Johnson said even though his wife was able to take pictures, he was still afraid of the bear.

“It’s probably a 300-pound bear is what everybody says, you know, but he’s beautiful,” Johnson said. “He’s a golden brown and he’s just plumb beautiful.”

The wooded area adjacent to Johnson’s home is where the bear lives during the day, but just days ago he got the trash out of a neighbor’s bin and spread the trash across his property.

“He didn’t do it at her dumpster, he carried it across the road and got over here where nobody can see him. Pretty smart bear,” he said.

“It’s not uncommon for us to get bears,” said Missouri Department of Conservation Supervisor Matt Bowyer. “Typically, young, male bears are leaving where they were raised and kind of moving out looking for new territory. And they can travel long distances.”

Bowyer said bears are opportunistic feeders who are always looking for a good meal.

“They’ve been in hibernation for the winter, they’re coming out of that now, and they’re very hungry,” he said.

So, if you’re out and happen to stumble across a black bear, Bowyer said, “Make sure that you’re not threatening it. Make sure that your backing away from it. Don’t bother it. You can report any bear sightings to the Missouri Department of Conservation, and that address is MDC.MO.GOV slash Bear reports.”

Bowyer said that although bear attacks do tend to happen, it’s not common in Missouri.

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