JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Delta has fallen in love with bears, or the idea of them at least. Every year Rolling Fork has the Great Delta Bear Affair, a few miles from where President Theodore Roosevelt had his famous bear hunt that ended up giving us the Teddy Bear.
For a long time, there were few if any bears left in the Delta, but over the last couple of decades, they’ve started popping back up. You hardly every see one, but sightings are becoming more common.
Stephanie McGarrh sees them all the time behind the levee on the river side in Bolivar County where she hunts. Sometimes they are far away. Sometimes they are close by.
Stephanie was getting video of a buck down below with her iPhone early one morning when she heard a noise overhead and saw something sleeping in the branches up above her. Obviously, it’s too big for a raccoon. Instead, it was a Delta bear in the same tree where she was sitting in her deer stand.
A decision made mute quickly when the bear decided it would make the move, very noisily down the back side of the tree. He only paused a moment at the base of the tree to look back up.
On the other hand, Stephanie was thinking she’ll take a bright spotlight, the kind that can search all the way to the tops of the trees with her before she climbs into a deer stand before daylight again. The big winner? The deer that got away.
A hundred years ago there were no deer in Mississippi. Now, they’re all over the place, and it seems like the bear population is catching up, too. So fall evenings when we drive, watching out for deer, now we need to watch out for bears, especially along the river.