BRANSON, Mo. -

Missouri is known for is black bears, but you don’t usually see them in your back yard. The Missouri Department of Conservation confirms one woman did see a black bear staring back at her in a yard on Bee Creek Road in the Branson area.

Conservation experts says the Ozarks is the natural habitat for black bears - wooded areas with a lot of shrubs around. But they've also been getting reports of sightings in neighborhoods in Ozark County.
The conservation department says they normally get more reports around this time of year because it's mating season for the bears.

So far, the state has no reports of any black bears attacking people, but there is something you can do to make sure that doesn't happen if you see a bear.

Tim Russell, wildlife regional supervisor, says "They're just looking for food. There's really no danger unless you react in a wrong way. You want to give the bear some room, just talk gently, back off, you don't need to run, just back off, give the bear some space.”

He also suggests keeping food indoors or getting an electric fence around your yard to keep bears away.

At last count the Department of Conservation says there were 300 black bears in the state.