The Missouri Department of Conservation has confirmed the presence of a black bear in a town just over an hour’s drive from Kansas City.
Several residents of the Walker, Mo., area in Vernon County reported seeing the bear this week. A state conservation agent confirmed the reports Wednesday after finding bear tracks in a cornfield.
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Missouri is home to an estimated 225 black bears in four separate populations ranging over 10 counties in south-central Missouri, according to the conservation department. A bear in Vernon County is unusual.
Conservation officials say most black bears avoid people and pose little threat to livestock. They should not be fed. It is illegal to kill a black bear in Missouri unless in self-defense.