Video: Bear Scouting Location for New Den Causes Stir in Fenton

Jun 13, 2022 at 2:06 pm
click to enlarge A black bear spotted in Fenton is likely looking for a place to start his home. - Courtesy Justin Mathenia
Courtesy Justin Mathenia
A black bear spotted in Fenton is likely looking for a place to start his home.

On Saturday, a Fenton man heading out to run errands encountered a bear in his subdivision.

Thirty-three year old Justin Mathenia was pulling out of his street onto Saline Drive, near Gravois Bluffs, when he spotted the black bear running through several of his neighbors' front yards.

He said at first he thought it was a deer, then did a double take. "I thought, 'Holy shit that's a bear,'" he tells the RFT.
"The crazy thing is that I live maybe 200 yards from a shopping complex," he says. "I could hit a golf ball from my house to the Target in Gravois Bluffs."

Mathenia grabbed his phone and took some video of the bear. When it ran out of sight he headed back into his neighborhood. Some of his neighbors were outside with their kids and dogs, and he wanted to warn them it might be a good idea to go inside for a while.

After giving them a heads up, Mathenia again headed out to run his errands when he spotted the bear moseying down Kohnen Drive. Mathenia managed to snap a few photos before the bear ducked into a neighbor's yard and back into the woods.

Mathenia says he later reached out to the Missouri Department of Conservation who said the bear looked like a young male who was likely trying to find new territory in which to establish itself.

Mathenia notes that a lot of people who have seen his photos have remarked the bear looks under-nourished. But the Department of Conservation told Mathenia that young black bears are often lanky. "They said he's fine, just looking for a home," Mathenia says.

It appears the bear has ultimately decided against putting down stakes near Gravois Bluffs. Mathenia says that after posting his video to social media, someone reached out to say they later saw the same bear a few miles away in George Winter Park near the Meramec River.

It's unknown if the Gravois Bluffs Target's middle-of-the-pack ranking influenced the bear's decision to build its den elsewhere.