In recent weeks, several areas across Mississippi have experienced higher than normal black bear activity. During spring and summer, after a few months of inactivity, these bears resume their normal life cycle and begin roaming in search of food.
This activity is what is responsible for bear sightings that have been documented recently.
And if you see one, don't panic.
"If you want him to leave, bring in your garbage and bring in your cat food," said Jim Walker with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. "Don't try to get an autograph. Don't try and do a photo-op. Leave the bear alone and he will more than likely be on his way."
Under no circumstance should anyone feed a bear. Not only is it against the law, but bears will quickly lose their natural fear of humans as they learn to associate people with food which can lead to property damage.
If you would like to report a bear sighting you may call the MDWFP Wildlife Bureau at 601-432-2199 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or 1-800-BE-SMART after hours.