Bear spotted in Ashland, Missouri just south of Columbia

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Picture of Ashland bear paw print

Picture of Ashland bear paw print from the Ashland Police Department.

ASHLAND, Mo. — Police in central Missouri made a surprising find this morning: a large paw print made by a bear.

Police said several residents and an officer all reported sightings of the bear early June 10. A picture shared to social media shows a wet spot on the ground in the shape of a paw with long toes.

“We can “bearly” believe we’re making this post, but despite the puns, this is no joke!” Ashland police wrote.

As Missouri’s black bear population grows, sightings have become more frequent. Though the majority of the state’s bears live in south-central Missouri, some have been seen more north. One was recently spotted on a porch in a rural town just south of St. Louis.

Missouri is, for the first time in modern history, implementing a bear hunting season this year. The goal, in part, is to keep the bear population under control.

Ashland police told residents to clean their grills, lock up their trash and keep a close eye on pets and children outside.

“Finally, report any sightings to Boone County Joint Communications by calling 311,” their post states.

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