With reports on the news of black bear sightings in Southwest Missouri, the Sun decided to check with the local office of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Our normal go-to person at MDC, Lana Wilson, said she hasn’t received any bear sighting reports in probably five years. Back then, one was sighted south of Walker Corner. The next day, it was spotted in a field west of Hwy. C headed north. Later it was spotted in the Ketterman area.

She said that “teenage” males get pushed out of the family groups and sometimes head north looking for new territory.

She said that black bears are not aggressive and normally would not injure a human unless cornered.

She said that bears look for an easy meal so people should not put food in their trash or intentionally feed a bear.

As she spoke with the Sun on the phone, she was watching a red fox across Main Street in Lions Club Park. She said a way to repel a nuisance animal is with cayenne pepper. She said a lady called about dogs digging under her yard fence. She told the lady about the deterrent. Later the lady called back and said it worked.

Armadillos are prone to dig up freshly planted flowers. A few mothballs strategically placed around the flowers works wonders. Cayenne pepper might, too.

Lana said that cayenne pepper mixed with bird seed keeps squirrels out of bird feeders but doesn’t affect the birds.

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