Missouri Department of Conservation employees gather behind a bear caught Oct. 3 at the Gist Ranch Conservation Area in Texas County. Front row, from left, James Harlan, Gary Oakley, Lynn Shepherd; back row, Travis Mills, Bryant Chilton and Jeff Crites.

The bear that was trapped in Texas County by the Missouri Department of Conservation early last October is one well-traveled animal.

Prior to being lured into an MDC trap by the succulent smell of a Krispy Kreme donut, the 146-pound male had already been caught twice in Webster County and was known to have spent time elsewhere in the Ozarks.

An electronic tracking collar the bear now wears after its capture last fall in the Gist Ranch Conservation Area near Summersville emits a signal every three days. By tracking the signal, the MDC has watched the bear move around in a rather large piece of real estate.

Texas County MDC agent Travis Mills said after it was released in October, the bear went south, in the Dora area. A couple of months passed during the winter when it was likely “denned up,” but it reappeared in late February and began working its way north. By March, it was near Edgar Springs.

As of April 28, the bear was back down near Willow springs, having passed through the exact same area in which it was captured in October.

“When you look at the layout, it’s almost like he has a direct path he follows,” Mills said. “He’s been bouncing around, and sometimes he’ll stay in a confined vicinity for several days. But then he’ll just take off. We’ll learn more, but he’s apparently establishing a home route, so to speak, where he’s comfortable traveling.

“But how he got back to pretty much that same exact location at Gist Ranch where we turned him loose with the collar is amazing. How they could have that good a sense of direction built into them is mind boggling.”

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply