Lee's Summit woman says she spotted black bear - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Lee's Summit woman says she spotted black bear

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LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -

A Lee's Summit woman says she spotted a black bear off Pryor Road.

And while the Missouri Department of Conservation won't rule it out, they have strong doubts that a black bear has been spotted in the Kansas City area for the first time since 2008.

But Kelly Greeninger says she is certain what she saw and that others who live near her in the Eagle Creek subdivision also saw the black bear.

"I saw like a little lumbering dark figure and it was daylight," she explained. "I didn't think twice about what it was. I knew it was a bear. I could just tell by the way it was lumbering."

She said the bear crossed Pryor and headed into a small ditch in a wooded area. This occurred on June 28. She said she tried to get a picture but couldn't since she was driving. The bear has proven elusive, but she shared the story on Facebook.

"I got on the neighborhood page and said, 'I know it's weird but I saw a bear. I know it was a bear, it wasn't a dog. I have a big dog at home.' My friend, Tammy [McCoy], got on and said, 'I saw it too,'" she recalled.

Her friend called the state agency, which is investigating but has been unable thus far to find evidence confirm the report.

"Anything is possible," said Bill Graham, spokesman for the conservation agency. "It does happen, but very rare."

Back in 2008, a young male bear wandered from his home territory. That is the last time one has been spotted in the Kansas City area, and it eventually went north to Iowa.

A bear has been seen this spring and early summer wandering through Barton, Vernon and Bates counties. The bear, which was spotted in Benton County on June 25, was seen in Morgan County by July 2.

Officials do not believe the bear that Greeninger saw on June 28 could be that bear.

Some brave souls have gone on nighttime hunts and looked for tracks, but there's been no sightings thus far.

"We have had no other calls in the area. Normally bear are out and about foraging for food. The fact we haven't had any other calls makes us skeptical," Graham said. "They're secretive when they can be, but there's only so much area for a bear to hide in Lee's Summit or Jackson County. We' expected if there is one we'd hear more about it."

Greeninger is convinced the evidence will come and she hopes to snap a picture the next time.

"I know I'm going to see it again. It's a big black bear," she said. "I figure it's just lost."

Missouri's black bears lived in the woods in the southern portion of the state. Arkansas has been adding black bears, which has resulted in some migrating into Missouri south of Interstate 44.

What should you do if you encounter a bear? Click here and here for tips on how to avoid a bad encounter.

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