Bear struck and killed in Maries County

Jeremy Deardeuff of Meta hit a black bear Monday morning on Highway 133.

A motorist struck and killed a Black Bear near Meta in Maries County Monday morning. The bear was killed; the driver was uninjured.

According to Sgt. Dan Crane of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the motorist, identified as Jeremy Deardeuff of Meta, struck the bear at highway 133 and Maries County Road 206.

Crane said the bear was a young male, about two to three years old.

The population of Black Bears has been increasing in Missouri in recent years, according to Lori Eggert of the Missouri Black Bear Project. She says Missouri has not actively tried to reintroduce the bears into the wild, but Arkansas has, and some of those bears make their way into Missouri.

According to the project, black bears reached their lowest population in Missouri during the 1940s, but never disappeared from the state altogether. Instead, they became extremely reclusive and shy of humans.

Eggert says Black Bears are not aggressive toward humans, and if you come into contact with one, you should draw yourself up to your full height and back away slowly.