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 seasonal nomadic activity is what is responsible for bear sightings that have been documented recently across Mississippi. This time of year, bears can be easily attracted to open garbage containers, pet food, bird feeders, livestock feed, or barbeque grills. Any one of these attractants might keep a bear coming back and could create a nuisance situation. If a bear has been sighted in an area, particularly a suburban or residential area, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is asking for the public’s cooperation in securing or temporarily removing any of the above attractants from around their homes while a bear is present in the vicinity. The best way to avoid problems with black bears is to take precautions that reduce this attraction. 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. For more information regarding bears in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com/bear or call us at (601) 432-2199. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline.