More Black Bear sightings in Vancleave, Woolmarket, D'Iberville

D'Iberville Police Sergeant Ray Wescovich practically came face-to-face with a big black bear Monday morning.
D'Iberville Police Sergeant Ray Wescovich practically came face-to-face with a big black bear Monday morning.

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Be on the lookout for more Black Bears. One was first seen in St. Martin, but now, the bears seem to be moving into more neighborhoods in South Mississippi.

Around 11:30 Wednesday morning, Biloxi Police received several reports of a large bear roaming around Shriner's Boulevard in Woolmarket. Another bear was spotted just northwest of Vancleave this past Sunday. There were also two bear sightings in D'Iberville on Monday.

"This was where we first saw the bear. It crossed the road way here, stepped across here, and went down this little cut in here," said Sergeant Ray Wescovich as he pointed to the woods.

The D'Iberville police officer practically came face-to-face with a big black bear Monday morning.

"It was about 30 feet in the wood line right there, and it stopped and took a left and come here in the woods," said Wescovich.

Wescovich initially responded to a call about a baby bear walking around Melvin Road and Highway 15.

"The first thing I was thinking was no, that can't be. I thought maybe someone had seen a large dog or something like that, but never a black bear," said Wescovich.

He didn't find the little bear. About two hours later, another call came in about a bigger bear that was spotted in the same neighborhood.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Normally you see that on TV or in a zoo, and here we are in D'Iberville and a black bear's crossing the roads. It was pretty amazing," said Wescovich. "It was about waist high. At that point, if it would have stood up on its hind legs, it's probably five foot tall. It wasn't aggressive and I left it alone and it left me alone."

Wescovich believes it may have been a momma bear and her cub. The bear sightings have some neighbors a bit worried.

"I just heard there's one in the area. I was kind of concerned as far as my horses go. I didn't want it to attack my horses. My horses are high dollar," said Bea Tumminello.

Wescovich said the bear he saw was probably not the same one that's been discovered roaming around Jackson County. That's because it did not have a collar on it.

Right now, state wildlife officials have no plans to set a trap for the bear. They say this is the time when Black Bears go in search of food. They are urging neighbors not feed the endangered creatures and don't threaten them.

"Bears are naturally shy and they just need to keep their distance. A bear is not going to hurt them. Bears are actually more scared of them. Give them a chance to leave the area. They can call us if they feel uncomfortable," said Terry Hines with the D'Iberville Police Department.

"Fifteen years in doing law enforcement, first time I've ever responded to a bear call. Hopefully, it's the last," said Wescovich.

State wildlife officials say the bears in D'Iberville probably came from the DeSoto National Forest, Camp Shelby, or the Biloxi Wildlife Management area. If you have happen to see a bear, report it to the police or state wildlife officials at 1-800-BE-SMART.

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