The dead black bear, killed after walking into traffic on U.S 61 South in Warren County just north of the Claiborne County Line. The Post Gibson Reveille
A black bear tagged and collared this month has died after being struck by a vehicle on U.S. 61 south of town.
Brad Young, black bear biologist with the MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said the bear was collared November 1, just north of the Big Back River, and died near the same spot a week ago.
"Unfortunately, it walked out into southbound traffic" at about 7:30 p.m. November 14, Young said. "It looked like it was headed toward the Big Black."
The bear was hit about 4 miles north of the Claiborne County line, at the Big Black River. Young said the bear, which was about 5 years old, could have lived to be 20 or 25.
"He was about 210 pounds when we caught him two weeks ago," Young said. "He was healthy."
Terry Miles is a game warden in Claiborne County and was the first on scene. He said it heavily damaged the car, which was driven by Vivian Rushing, who could not be reached today.
He said the bear was the first hit by a vehicle on U.S. 61 in several years.
"We had one hit about seven or eight years ago, just across the Big Black on the other side in Claiborne County," Miles said.
Young said bear-crossing signs then were placed to alert drivers. However, because it was dark and between hills, the bear was likely not visible, Miles said.
Young estimated at least a dozen black bears are roaming Warren County and David Island, just northwest of the Claiborne County line.
"Obviously, that area around the river has a lot of habitat," Young said. "They use those waterways as travel corridors, especially right there where you've got the Mississippi, Big Black and the bayous."
Young cautioned drivers, saying this was the time of year when bears are searching for food before winter.
"They do move around a lot right now," Young said. "What they're going through right now, they're just eating as much as they can to build up fat reserves for the winter. They're going to be moving, trying to find those food resources.
"For the most part, traffic is the biggest problem," Young said. "We have the occasional poaching or accidental killing, but other than that, they don't have any natural predators."