PHOTOS: Black bear spotted near highway in Missouri

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Highlandville, MO- A black bear was spotted near highway 160 and 65 Tuesday afternoon, June 9, 2020.

Monica Miller was on her way home when she snapped a picture of a black bear roaming around near the highway.

Shane Walker was hiking at Busiek State Park when he heard what he believes is the same black bear from the Facebook picture captured yesterday afternoon along Highway 160.

“It’s interesting, yesterday I was on the other side of the creek right next to the highway and I was messing around just kind of seeing what was around there. And I heard a *grunt* *grunt*. Originally I thought, oh that’s kind of neat, and then this being spring I thought okay momma bear might have cubs. I better back on out of here, so I made a bunch of noise, and in a very manly and not cowardly fashion backed out of the area as fast as I could.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation estimates that there are somewhere between 540 to 840 bears in the state of Missouri, with many residing here in southwest Missouri. Officials from the state conservation department believe the bear spotted yesterday was a young male who was sent away from his family, and he was looking for a new home. Even though black bears were nearly gone from Missouri by the 1930’s, they have been making a comeback to the area in recent decades.

Media specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, Francis Skalicky, says those wanting to camp or hike in the area have no need to worry. “If they see you, they will probably go their own way, they’ll back away. It’s not like they’re stalking you, trying to hunt you down. They want to be away from you, so there’s really no reason to be afraid of bears, but you do have to respect them. They are large mammals, and so because of that you shouldn’t try to entice them in any way to come around your campsite, to come around your home. That’s where problems can start.”

Photos taken by Monica Miller

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