Black bear sighted in Franklin County, MDC urges “Don’t feed bears!”

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ROBERTSVILLE, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that a black bear has been spotted in Franklin County near the towns of Robertsville and Lonedell.

According to MDC Wildlife Damage Biologist Tom Meister, the department received a number of phone calls over the past weekend and Monday from residents in both towns reporting black bear sightings, along with some cell phone photos.  The two towns are approximately eight miles apart, with Robertsville along I-44 and Lonedell on Highway 30 to the south.

A photograph submitted by a Lonedell landowner taken the morning of June 7 shows the bear rooting through a garbage can.

“Bears are a part of the natural history of our state.  They are awesome animals to see and have around,” Meister said.  “We just don’t want them to have interactions with people.”

Black bears are not typically aggressive and usually do not pose a threat to humans.  However MDC urges area residents not to feed bears and recommends the following actions to help prevent possible problems.   

  • 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

“When people are leaving food out purposely or unintentionally which draws bears into their property, they can become habituated to people,” said Meister.  He also said that situation can lead to trouble and quite possibly the need to euthanize of the bear.

Meister said should a bear become a nuisance, the first course of action would be to use harassment techniques.  “Hopefully that will be enough to get him to be on his way,” he said.

MDC asks residents to report any bear sightings to department staff.  For more tips on dealing with bears, go to