Black bear near Highway AT

The black bear, pictured above, was sighted near Highway AT June 24 near Union. Sightings could become more common because of the increasing black bear population in the area, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

JEFFERSON CITY — Four-hundred Missourians were drawn to participate in this year’s inaugural black bear hunt, slated to open Oct. 18. Those hunters were invited to attend special education programs to prepare for their hunt, but the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is now opening the educational opportunity to the public.

Learn about black bear hunting at the Sept. 30 virtual program “Black Bear Hunting Basics.” The online program will be held from 6-8 p.m. and will be hosted by experienced MDC instructors. Register for the event at

“This virtual program is not only for hunters who were drawn for the upcoming black bear season but for anyone who wishes to learn more about black bear hunting in Missouri,” said MDC Furbearer and Black Bear Biologist Laura Conlee.

During the Sept. 30 program, participants will learn about wildlife identification, habitats, regulations, safety, hunting strategies, equipment and game care.

Although this program is free, registration is required. To attend, use the link above. Registrants must provide an email address, so a program link can be sent to them.

To learn more about the upcoming black bear season, visit the “Bear: Season” webpage on To read more about Missouri’s black bear population, find the “American Black Bear” entry in MDC’s Field Guide on