JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) said black bears are on the move this summer.

According to MDWFP, summertime brings on increased activity in the life of bears for two main reasons:

  • Mid-summer is breeding season, and male bears roam larger areas than normal in search of suitable mates.
  • Cubs born the previous year are now 17-18 months old, leaving their mom in search of a new home range. Females tend to stay close to where they were born, but males may wander up to 100 miles or more in search of a home range not already occupied by a resident male.

The MDWFP Black Bear Program began in June of 2002 at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The initial focus of the program was to conduct research on Mississippi black bears in an effort to learn more about this endangered species.

The Black Bear Program is now within the Wildlife Bureau of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and continues to conduct research and educate the people of Mississippi about the state’s black bears. Another primary objective of the program is the prevention of conflicts between bears and people.

If you are experiencing problems involving black bears or want to report a recent bear sighting, contact MDWFP at (601) 432-2199.