Press Release

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
1505 Eastover Drive, Jackson, MS, 39211
Phone: 601-432-2400

MDWFP Announces New Black Bear Program Team

 Bear -Team -FBT

JACKSON - The Black Bear Program at the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is announcing new leadership with the appointments of program leader Richard Rummel and biologist Jamie Holt.

Rummel, who has been with the MDWFP since 1997, has served as the acting leader of the Black Bear Program since 2013. Among his many duties during his time as acting leader, he was responsible for receiving and logging in bear sightings, resolving bear-to-human conflicts, and investigating all bear deaths in the state.

Rummel states that "I am very excited to have Jamie Holt on board full-time with the bear program as the new Black Bear Biologist.  We'll be sitting down very soon to map out some short and long-term goals for the bear program which will certainly include resuming and pursuing working relationships with landowners and hunting clubs that MDWFP has had the privilege of working with in the past.  The extra manpower will also allow us to continue participation in a number of regional bear management activities in the southeastern U.S."

Holt has been the South Delta WMA regional biologist with the MDWFP since June of 2015. He previously was a project research assistant with the Mississippi State Black Bear Project and has earned his master's degree in wildlife biology from Louisiana-Monroe. Holt also states that he "looks forward to being on board with the program, and working with Rummel and the other stakeholders. We will be taking steps to assess the information we have as well as what we lack to develop and plan to move forward."

The MDWFP Black Bear Program was started in June of 2002 at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.  The initial focus of the program was to conduct research on Mississippi black bears in an effort to learn more about this endangered species.  At the time of the program's inception, it was estimated that there were less than 50 bears residing in the state. Today, estimates of the state's bear population have more than tripled.  This population increase is due primarily to the recent appearance of female bears in our state, which has led to the births of numerous cubs in the last several years, something not documented in Mississippi in the previous 40 years.

The Black Bear Program is now housed within the Wildlife Bureau of the MDWFP and continues to conduct research and educate the people of Mississippi about our black bears. 

For more information regarding wildlife in Mississippi, visit our website at or call us at (601) 432-2212. Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter at




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