Bears here are not afraid of people.
First off, Welcome to the Forums!!!
It's nice to have another Ozarker here. What part of the NF do you live in?
Stu, you're the only person I've ever heard say that black bears are a problem anywhere in the Ozarks. I've spent a lot of time in the Ozark NF, weeks wondering around each side of Push Mountain Rd, weeks within the Richland Creek Wilderness and the Buffalo River Wilderness areas, and a lot of time in others parts of it too.
I know a lot bears are killed in Arkansas each year. 431 were killed in 2012, and that same year there were 130 reports statewide for nuisance bear calls logged by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which I consider pretty low.
I'd love for you to chime in on the discussion going on here in the Backcountry Health & Safety Forum.
I've been telling people here just about the exact opposite of what you're saying, and you seem to have a lot more experience with black bears here than I do, so I'd like to hear more about those experiences, as I'm sure others would too.