Black bear sighting near Pleasant Hill

A black bear has recently been spotted on a trail camera near Pleasant Hill. 

The photo reportedly came from a trail camera near 58 Highway and Purvis Road, southeast of Pleasant Hill and north of the Rock Island Spur of the Katy Trail.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has confirmed the photo, which was being shared on social media, is legitimate.

The city of Pleasant Hill also confirmed the photo, and suggested a couple of takeaways for local residents. Those takeaways were that black bears aren’t interested in humans, and alert them of your presence by making sound to scare them off.

The MDC reported last month there was a bear struck and killed on I-55 in the St. Louis area. The MDC said Missouri is home to about 900 black bears – a population which is growing by about 9 percent each year.

According to the MDC:

Research shows the population is expanding its range too, which might explain the uptick in sightings in recent years. As the population grows and expands, bears are showing up in areas further north. Additionally, late spring/early summer is prime time for bears to be on the move. Young bears begin to wander seeking food and new areas to settle and adult males begin moving large distances in search of females.   

These creatures are part of our state’s natural history, and many people enjoy the thought of seeing one of these impressive animals.  While generally not aggressive, like any wild animal black bears are driven to find food.  It takes a lot of calories to fuel an animal that typically weighs several hundred pounds, and as they emerge from hibernation in spring, they’re especially hungry.  Bears are attracted to a variety of food sources this time of year.

Food, or rather the lack of it, is key to avoiding conflicts with bears.  The last thing homeowners should do is tempt them with any sort of food source, whether it be intentionally or unintentionally.  Feeding bears is dangerous as it makes the bears comfortable around people. It can also lead bears to cause significant damage to property while searching for a meal.

A bear that grows accustomed to obtaining food from humans can become a problem which could result in an increased number of encounters, bolder behavior, property damage, and even the euthanizing of the bear. Tempting a bear to stick around high population areas with ready food sources also increases the chance of a fatal vehicle encounter

The MDC suggests the following tips to avoid issues if a bear has been sighted in the area.

  • Store garbage, recyclables, and compost inside a secure building or in a bear-proof container or location.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect trash containers to minimize smells that could attract bears.
  • Keep grills and smokers clean and store them inside.
  • Don’t leave pet food outside. Feed pets a portion at each meal and remove the empty containers.
  • Refrain from using birdfeeders in bear country from April through November. If in use, hang them at least 10 feet high and four feet away from any structure. Keep in mind that even if a bear cannot get to the birdseed, the scent could still attract it to the area.
  • Use electric fencing to keep bears away from beehives, chicken coops, vegetable gardens, orchards, and other potential food sources.


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