The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. Black bears are omnivores with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location

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'Bearmeister' Ready for Duty Should Missouri Bears Wander into Town

June 25, 2018 - 7:52 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The man in charge of bears for the Missouri Department of Conservation says he's ready to come to the St. Louis area, if the bears seen here lately become a hazard to humans.

Nuisance Wildlife Biologist Tom Meister is the "Bearmeister."  From his home in Union, Mo, he would be dispatched here with his truck and trailer hauling the bear cage. If noisemakers and rubber bullets don't work, he baits the bear cage with donuts and sprays it with bacon aroma.

“If it’s a nuisance bear we’ll take him to a release site somewhere in the national forest where there’s lots of woods and no people. The closest one here would be Mark Twain National Forest in Ozarks, south or Rolla, probably. I would take it that far just to make sure he doesn’t get in trouble,” he says.

Meister says bears can walk 20 miles a day, so the one seen in towns around St. Louis may be the same bear. Right now, he estimates there are 350 bears in Missouri. If it gets to 500, he says there could be a bear hunting season allowed in late November to cull the herd.

Meister says police and citizens do have the right to shoot a bear if they fear for their life or property, but he hopes it doesn't come to that.