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Missouri's Growing Black Bear Population Means 'It's All Bear Country'

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Bear Den Survey
Noppadol Paothong
Missouri Department of Conservation
Missouri Department of Conservation furbearer biologist Laura Conlee conducts a black bear cub survey with colleagues during the spring season in Willow Spring, Missouri.

As Missouri’s black bear population continues to grow at a rate of 9% annually, bear sightings are more likely — even in major cities like Kansas City and St. Louis.

That means all Missouri residents should be prepared to come into contact with bears, especially while hiking or on vacation in southern parts of the state. Missouri might even institute a bear hunt this October.

Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Mackenzie Martin is a producer for Up To Date, Real Humans By Gina Kaufmann, and other podcasts at KCUR Studios. Reach out to her at or on Twitter @_macmartin.