Bear goes the neighborhood: Mississippi couple’s door video captures animal’s early morning ramble down residential street

Published 2:35 pm Thursday, April 6, 2023

It was the 3 a.m. text message from her mother that woke Chrystal Burns last Wednesday morning.

“She said there was a bear in my yard,” said Burns, who lives in Natchez’s Etania Subdivision with her husband, Buck. “If anything, it should’ve been in her yard, since she lives in a rural area.”

The family shares access to doorbell and trail cameras, so Burns said she checked her mothers camera. “There wasn’t anything there. I thought, ‘oh Lord, my momma is going crazy.'”

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Then, just for fun, Burns checked the video from the camera at her house in Etania.

“And two feet behind my husband’s and my cars, there it was,” she said. “I looked at that video 17 times before I actually accepted it was a bear.”

But folks who have seen the video agree – there’s a bear, lumbering across the driveway and front yard of the Burnses’ house in what is a densely populated residential neighborhood in Natchez.

“I’m wonder if he was going to get Wendy’s for breakfast or something,” Burns said laughing. “I’ve lived in the woods all my life; I’ve had trail cameras all my life. I’ve never seen a bear until I moved here.”

While bear sightings are unusual in residential neighborhoods, this isn’t the first time a bear has been spotted in Natchez. On June 10, 2021, a black bear was captured in a trap near the Donut Shop after roaming around town for several days.  In 2017, residents also reported seeing a small black bear in a north Natchez neighborhood.

As for Burns, she said the couple posted the video in a neighborhood social media group, but no other neighbors have reported seeing the bear since then.

“I’ve been looking for him, but he hasn’t come back,” she said.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks celebrated Bear Week last week to highlight the native species. Black bears become more active in the spring and sightings frequent into the summer.

Since 2016, people have reported sightings of 365 bears in Mississippi. Eight of those sightings were in Adams County. MDWFP has a map showing sightings and where they are in Mississippi.

The public is asked to report black bear sightings to the MDWFP by phone at (601) 432-2199 or on the MDWFP Black Bear Program webpage.