Signs posted in Vicksburg tell drivers to be bear-aware

Warning signs telling drivers to be

aware of black bears are now posted along U.S. 61 South near the

Big Black River.

Black bear biologist Brad Young of the Mississippi Department of

Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks says the markers are on both sides of

the four-lane highway.

In fact, Young has received no fewer than 10 calls citing bear

crossings in the past two years.

He says every year, he gets stories about people driving along

and spotting a bear.

The first "Bear Crossing" sign was along Mississippi Highway

16 near Rolling Fork, home of the Delta National Forest.

The second was along U.S. 61 South near Port Gibson, where about

two years ago a UPS driver spotted and photographed a young male.

Young said the habitat there is ideal for the threatened


The signs are part of an initiative of the Bear Education and

Restoration Group of Mississippi, a nonprofit group formed in 2004

that sets out to educate people and help provide a viable and

acceptable population of black bears in the state.