Camden County couple wakes up to black bear in backyard

Black bear sightings are becoming more common in Mid-Missouri, and this week, a Camden County couple woke up to one in their yard. (MDC)

Black bear sightings are becoming more common in mid-Missouri, and this week, a Camden County couple woke up to one in their yard.

John Montemayor started his Tuesday off just as he does every morning, "Normally, I get up around 5 o'clock and come outside and listen for the birds," he said.

But what the Camden County man heard and saw was something unusual, "I took a couple minutes to really get it in my mind that it was the bear that everybody has talked about."

He was aware that several black bear sightings had been reported in the area, but it wasn't something he expected to see in his yard. "And I went in and woke my wife up and said 'You ain't gonna believe this, there's a bear in the back yard."

While John said the bear wasn't bothering anything, he said it was certainly not a cub, "I've seen black bears before. My brother lives up in Wisconsin and we have seen them up close and personal up there, and from that it was pretty evident that this was a larger size bear."

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, black bears are making a comeback in Missouri. Since 2010, they've tracked about a third of the black bear population with GPS tracking collars.

If you encounter a bear, the MDC recommends to be "Bear Aware".

  1. Never corner a bear; make sure it has an escape route.
  2. Back away slowly with your arms raised.
  3. Speak in a calm, loud voice.
  4. Do not turn your back to the bear.
  5. Walk away slowly but DO NOT RUN.
  6. Never feed a bear.

And while John said he may be more cautious. "When you go out at night, you'll think twice and look both ways."

A bear in his yard won't keep him from enjoying the outdoors. "The conservation says they're just as scared of you as you are of them."

All bear sightings should be reported to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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