Bears are looking for food. MDC reminds people that a “fed bear is a dead bear.” With spring underway, Missouri’s growing population of about 800 black bears have left their winter dens with some wandering great distances in search of food, territory, and mates. With bears active and on the move, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds people to “Be Bear Aware.” Missouri is home to only black bears, but the name can be misleading. Black bears sometimes have brown, cinnamon, and red coats. While most Missouri black bears are found in the forested parts of southern Missouri, primarily south of Interstate 44, MDC research shows their numbers are growing and their range is expanding northward. With a growing population of bears and expanding range comes an increased potential for human-bear interactions and conflicts.