A black bear spent a few hours lounging in the tree of Jimmy “Pop” Johnson’s front yard before heading off into a cornfield in the Satartia area.
“He stayed up in that tree for probably about four hours,” said Johnson, who first spotted the bear while letting his dogs out. “I think he started to get hot and wanted some water. He then just eased on down it and ran off into the cornfield.”
Johnson lives about three miles outside of the town of Satartia. He was letting his two seven-week-old dogs outside when he noticed the black bear.
“The bear just started walking out of a corn field,” he said. “My dogs started charging at him, and he just ran up the tree. My dogs are little bitty things, but they got him pretty upset.”
The young male black bear sat across a tree limb of the pecan tree for a few hours before easing down, heading across the road back into the corn field.
“I have never seen a bear around here,” Johnson said. “I have heard folks say they have seen one though.
Chad Dacus, with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said black bears, particularly young males, are very mobile this time of year.
“Momma Bear has told them it’s time to go,” he said, with a laugh. “These young males are out looking for a female and food.”
Dacus said the bears typically roam off of rivers or creek bottoms.
“They will stop to have a meal like corn,” Dacus said. “But then they keep on moving.”
Dacus said black bear sighting s have increased in central Mississippi. There have been recent reports from Clinton and Simpson County.
“In the Delta, they are normally spotted around Lake George and Panther Swamp,” Dacus said. “Bears frequent those big tracks of timber.”
Dacus said the bear spotted by Johnson was more than likely coming from the Lake George area.
“However, once a bear has been spotted, put those trash cans up,” Dacus reminded. “Don’t leave cat or dog food out. It may get to a point where you want to bring in those bird feeders. The scent from the bird seed when it gets wet attracts bears as well.”
But Dacus also warns not to shoot at a bear if one is spotted in your area.
“Bears are protected in the state of Mississippi,” he said. “You are not allowed to shoot at them or shoot them at all.”
Dacus said to report a bear sighting call the MDWF at 601-432-2400 or its hotline at 1-800-BE-SMART.
Johnson said he has been getting many phone calls since the word has got out about his bear sighting.
“People from all over have been calling about that bear,” Johnson said, with a laugh.“They will be seven to ten miles away, and they are telling ladies not to jog. That’s how fast word gets out around here.”