The warmer days of spring and the landscape’s annual greening up bring with it increased activity by black bears throughout the state. Although our bears do not truly hibernate, they do exhibit a period of torpor or decreased activity during the winter months. This is primarily because of a lack of adequate food resources to sustain them and also because females are denned up giving birth to cubs during this time. As bears become more active, they are actively searching for food, which can conflict with humans living in bear-occupied areas of Mississippi.
The six bear-wise basics are:
- Never Feed or Approach Bears
- Secure Food, Garbage and Recycling
- Remove Bird Feeders When Bears Are Active
- Never Leave Pet Food Outdoors
- Clean and Store Grills
- Alert Neighbors to Bear Activity
These are all preventative measures which, if implemented, usually will prevent any potential human-bear conflicts. Remember, bears’ activities are normally guided by their desire to find a readily and easily available food source. Over 90% of a black bear’s diet is plant material (grass, forbs, berries, nuts, acorns) and in early spring most of these resources are not yet available on the landscape.
To learn more about bears, please visit www.BearWise.org and if you would like to report a bear sighting, please visit http://www.mdwfp.com/wildlife-hunting/black-bear-program/.
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