Just this past week I read an online article posted on a local news channel’s website about an alpaca farmer in Rogersville, Mo., who shot a bear on his property. The article stated that the man’s herd dogs had the bear cornered. When the man heard the commotion he went outside, shotgun in hand, and saw that the bear was angry and pawing at his dogs. That’s when the farmer took matters into his own hands and shot the bear.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) bear sightings and nuisance complaints in Missouri have increased significantly over the past 10 to 15 years. From the news stories I’ve read this must be true.
A man in Hurley, Mo., in Stone County, boarding Arkansas, recently emailed another news channel pictures from his game camera. His game camera captured images of a bear feeding on corn from his feeder. According to his camera the bear hung around for three days before moving on. This comes as no surprise to me since the location is so close to Arkansas. Like any wild animal looking for food, bears will migrate.
Last May, in Lebanon, Mo., where Ozarks Farm & Neighbor – Missouri is headquartered, there where three bear sightings. MDC believed it to be the same bear all three times and even said that the bear had ear tags indicating it was part of a bear tracking study. It was reported that the bear posed no real threat other than to beehives and birdfeeders. Also, last year a small bear was spotted right in town, roaming the streets.
I, myself, think it is fascinating. Bears were once native to Missouri and I think it is great to see them returning. From what I have read MDC is uncertain how many bears live in Missouri and they currently consider the population to be vulnerable.
I was talking to a friend of mine who works for MDC and has for many years about the increasing number of bears in Missouri. The first thing I asked him was, are they a threat to livestock? He assured me they aren’t. In fact he said they eat mostly nuts and berries. He said that raccoons and opossums pose more of a threat because they carry rabies. He suggested for people to put up cat food at night and that will keep from attracting all those nuisances.
In my research I found some tips for preventing conflicts with bears. These tips include bear proofing garbage containments, use proper food storage for both pet and livestock feed, become educated and seek information, no public feeding of bears and if you raise bees use an electric fencing around the beehives.
Although there is a bear season in Arkansas, populations in Missouri aren’t sustainable enough to constitute for a bear season. However, shooting a bear to protect your life and property is legal, just be sure it is actually a threat before you go around killing our growing bear population.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here