Lincoln County has three reported black bear sightings since 2016

Published 10:00 am Friday, May 24, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Black bears once roamed the hardwood forests of Southwest Mississippi and across the state until overhunting and habitat loss threatened the species. Mississippi has seen a recovery in the native population over the last few decades. Mississippi’s bear program is actively working on a more exact figure for the black bear population.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks reports there have been 560 black bear sightings since 2016. Bear sightings tend to increase in the summer time as bears move to look for breeding opportunities and new home ranges.

Two species of black bears reside in Mississippi the Louisiana Black Bear and the American Black Bear. MDWFP has an interactive map found on the Black Bear Program page which shows where bears have been seen.

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Black bear sightings in southwest Mississippi are as follows, three in Lincoln County, one in Pike County, two in Lawrence County, two in Jefferson Davis County, three in Amite County, four in Walthall County, 10 in Copiah County, nine in Adams County, 16 in Jefferson County, 28 in Claiborne County, 23 in Franklin County and an estimated 35 in Wilkinson County.

Black bears become more active in the summer time as they start to breed and young males are kicked out of their mom’s home range. They are shy and secretive and by nature are not predatory.

Attacks by black bears are rare and there has never been a reported attack in Mississippi on a human. However, bears are large and powerful so humans should treat them with caution and respect.

You can report a bear sighting online to help Mississippi’s bear program in collecting data about the state bear population.