Southern Missouri is home to more than 300 black bears and as spring rolls around, they will start leaving their dens in search of food. The Missouri Department of Conservation works to educate Missourians about safety when around the bears.
Every spring, the Missouri Department of Conservation starts its “Be Bear Aware” campaign. The campaign is aimed at educating Missourians about what to do to limit interactions with black bears.
Jill Pritchard, a spokesperson for MDC, said the best way to avoid the bears is to be aware.
"You know, just be aware of your surroundings. You know if you see evidence of a bear such as claw or bite marks on a tree or even scat, we’d encourage to avoid the area and if you do end up seeing them, leave the bear alone. Do not approach them and make sure they have an escape route."
The MDC says black bears are a non-aggressive species of bear and the best way to limit interactions is to put trash and food in sealed containers and make noise when hiking.