(Black) If you are practicing social distance in the forests of southeast Missouri, make sure you are bear aware.

This is the prime time of the year to encounter a black bear.

Reynolds County Conservation Agent Kaleb Neece says this is the time black bears emerge from their dens and he says they are hungry right now.

Neece also wants to remind you to leave new-born wildlife alone.

Wildlife biologists estimate Missouri has between 300 and 400 black bears.