Discover Nature NotesMore posts

Be Bear Aware

Mar 28, 2016

Black bears are making a comeback in Missouri’s forests. To know and understand them helps to appreciate and protect them.

Wild black bears are secretive, shy and afraid of humans. They are not normally aggressive towards people. Bears are active spring through fall. In the winter they hibernate in hollow dead trees, rock crevices, caves, or in deep brush piles.

Black bears can appear brown or tan, cinnamon or black. As omnivores, they eat everything from grasses and berries to fish and small mammals. They will eat your garbage or stored foods if you don’t keep it indoors. Feeding bears usually results in the bear having to be destroyed.

To be bear aware, stay alert and avoid surprises while in the woods. Make noise, travel in groups and keep dogs leashed. If you encounter a bear, raise your arms and back slowly away. Do not run or turn your back.

Keep clean campsites by storing food and toiletries in a vehicle trunk or up at least 10 feet high, strung between trees. If you are lucky enough to see a bear, leave them alone and help keep them wild.

Beware of Bears

  • When hiking in the woods:
    • Stay alert and avoid confrontation.
    • Make noise so you don’t surprise a bear – clap, sing, or talk loudly. Travel in a group if possible.
    • Pay attention to your surroundings and watch for bear sign such as tracks or claw or bite marks on trees.
    • If you see a bear, leave it alone! Do not approach it. Make sure it has an escape route.
  • 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.

Get more bear aware tips from this helpful guide from the MDC.

Recent Posts

Longear Sunfish

The Color of Fish

May 26, 2020

Fish use color for blending into their surroundings, selecting mates, and self-defense. They can also change their colors and patterns by mood. Learn more about the how fish use color in this week's Discover Nature Note.
 

Gray Tree Frog Calling

Amphibian Noisemakers

May 17, 2020

Discover the sounds and skills of Acris crepitans and Hyla versicolor, more commonly known as cricket frogs and gray tree frogs. They perform an outdoor suite while munching on pesky insects that are not so sweet. Learn more in this week's Discover Nature Note.
 

Backyard naturescape

Landscaping for Wildlilfe

May 11, 2020

Liven up your backyard for some wild company. You can create a mix that invites birds, butterflies, turtles, and other animals to your outdoor space. Learn some landscaping tips to add song and life to your outdoor space in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Field Guide

Discovering nature from A-Z is one click away

Recipes

You had fun hunting, catching or gathering your quarry—now have more fun cooking and eating it.
Check out the recipes