Black bears becoming more common in state
Wildlife officials, with the assistance of volunteers, are actively monitoring the growing black bear population in Mississippi, according to retired banker and black bear expert Wayne Winter of Clarksdale.
Although numbers in the state are still low, the population has tripled within the past 12 years, from 20-50 total black bears in 2002 to 150 to 200 this year. Many of Mississippi’s bears have crossed the river from Arkansas, where they number over 6,000, living primarily in the Ozarks region and the White River Refuge, Winter told Tunica Rotary Club members recently.
Trail cameras have helped wildlife officials learn where to set traps. The bears’ keen sense of smell lures them to the baited traps. After a bear is safely inside the trap, he is tranquilized and his eyes covered.