Missouri Bear Numbers May Be RisingSTL - SWI, Bear Hunting Magazine
The population of black bears in Missouri could be growing, with anglers, hunters and campers reporting more frequent sightings.
The Missouri Department of Conservation recently wrote a Black Bear Management Plan.
A scientist with the department, Jeff Beringer, said he believes the bears probably migrated from the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains in west and northwest Arkansas.
Firm population estimates aren't available yet, but some believe a few hundred bears could be living in Missouri.
"Our goals are to learn more about bears in the state," Beringer said. He also stated that he is interested in "trying to promote bears as a success story."
The native bears were likely wiped out by the early 20th century. Beringer said it's possible they survived in remote pockets of the Ozark Mountains, but most didn't last with the combination of unregulated hunting and large-scale deforestation.