Black bears are an exciting part of Missouri’s natural history, and they’re making a comeback in the southern part of the state. Follow these guidelines to Be Bear Aware – stay safe in bear country, and keep our bears wild.
Store all food and toiletries like toothpaste and deodorant in a secure vehicle or strung high between two trees.
Store garbage securely in a vehicle or strung high between two trees. Never burn or bury garbage or food waste.
A fed bear is a dead bear
Never feed a bear!
Feeding bears makes them lose their natural fear of humans, and teaches them to see humans as food providers. They will learn to go to places like homes, campsites, and neighborhoods to look for food, instead of staying in the forest.
A bear that has gotten used to getting food from humans may become aggressive and dangerous. When this happens, the bear has to be destroyed.
Help bears stay wild and healthy, and keep yourself and your neighbors safe. Don’t feed bears.
Be Bear Aware on your property
Never feed a bear, on purpose or accidentally.
Don’t leave pet food sitting outside. Feed pets a portion they’ll eat at each meal and remove the empty containers.
Store garbage, recyclables, and compost inside a secure building or in a bear-proof container until the day of trash pick-up.
Keep grills and smokers clean and store them inside.
Don’t use birdfeeders from April through November in bear country. If you must, hang them at least 10 feet high and 4 feet away from any structure.
Although black bears are native to Missouri, they were nearly wiped out during settlement. Now they're making a comeback. Use this section to follow our black bear research project, report bear sightings, camp safely in bear country, and control nuisance bears.