Not to be the bearer of bad news but wrestling with a bear could end badly.

The Salem Police Department, in southern Missouri, is warning the public to avoid wrestling with black bears. On Facebook, the agency said bear wrestling is illegal in Missouri.

“YES THIS IS REAL,” the department said on Facebook.

The department said it received phone calls about a bear roaming the area.

The offense of bear wrestling is a class A misdemeanor in Missouri.

According to a state statute, a person commits the offense of bear wrestling if he or she:

•Wrestles a bear;
•Permits bear wrestling to be done on any premises under his or her charge or control;
•Promotes, conducts, or stages bear wrestling;
•Advertises bear wrestling;
•Collects any admission fee for bear wrestling;
•Purchases, sells, or possesses a bear which he or she knows will be used for bear wrestling;
•Trains a bear for bear wrestling;
•Subjects a bear to surgical alteration for bear wrestling.

Facebook followers had some fun with the police department’s post.

“Listen i am probably gonna wrestle the bear just have a warrant ready,” said one person.

“I just want to apologize to everyone for being the reason behind this post being necessary. FYI: I won. The bear’s name was Bartholowmew and he didn’t stand a chance against me,” said another person.

“See? This is what I’m talking about! Government overreach interfering with an individual’s right to die in one of the worst ways possible! Shame on you Salem, PD,” said a follower.

Missouri has an estimated 800 black bears, found south of the Missouri River, and primarily south of Interstate 44.

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