Bellah captured this image of a bear near Hurley

A man who has hunting property near Hurley recently captured images of a bear on the property with a game camera.

When Zach Bellah, 27, who utilizes the property along Bluff Road and Long Tom Hollow Road to hunt deer and turkey, recently set out corn and a 25lb apple block to attract wildlife to the area for next season - he had no idea there was also a bear on the property.  "Who knows how long that bear's been up there.  There were never any signs of a bear up there before that that I saw," said Bellah.

Conservation agents told Bellah the image of the bear he captured is a "Cinnamon bear."  Bellah says agents told him Cinnamon bear sightings are extremely rare in southwest Missouri, however, a few days after Bellah's bear was photographed on May 28th, a Cinnamon bear was hit by a car and killed near Verona.

This bear was hit near Verona (courtesy Zach Bellah)

"They're (conservation agents) hoping it's not the same bear....that's an awful long way from here for it to have gotten in such a short period of time."  A bear was also photographed a few weeks ago on the Jack Henry property near Monett. 

Conservation agents told Bellah that there has been an uptick in calls about bear sightings in Stone, Barry and Christian counties and they are mapping those sightings in an effort to find a range for the animals.

The bear, which is caught on film digging three holes that measured about 3 feet wide and 8 inches deep, was intrigued by the clicking sound of the game camera and at times would come right up to the camera to investigate the sound. 

"In the back of my mind I always thought something like this could happen when I would go up there at night to set out feed and check on stuff," Bellah said.  "I think it's pretty neat.....I'm not going to scare it off or anything, but if I do happen to see it, I'll cross my fingers and hope it goes the other way."