BLACK BEARS ARE ACTIVE AROUND THE CABIN WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Gatlinburg Getaway is located in close
proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many wild animals
have been sited right outside the cabin, including: Black Bears,
Bobcats, Gray Foxes, Coyotes, Deers, Woodchucks, Rabbits, Raccoons, Opossums,
Grouse, turtles, Squirrels,
Warning:Bears are wild animals that are
dangerous and unpredictable. Do not approach bears or allow them to
Do not feed the Bears
or any other wildlife! It's the Law. Do not leave food outside. Do not leave
food in your car. Do not approach the bears or allow them to
approach you. Do not feed birds. Bird seed spillage attracts
bears. Dispose of garbage in bear-proof garbage containers, locking
down lid. Never over fill garbage containers, contact Jackson
Mountain if full. Remove food from grilling area immediately after
use. Never get between a bear and her cubs.
YouTube Video of a Black Bear Just
Outside the Cabin
Never run from a bear, the bear
may consider you as prey!
Bears in the area are wild and
their behavior is sometimes unpredictable. Although extremely rare,
attacks on humans have occurred, inflicting serious injuries and death. Treat bear encounters with extreme caution and follow these guidelines:
If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it.
If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding,
changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.) - you're too close. Being
too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running
toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is
demanding more space.
Don't run, but slowly back away, watching
the bear. Try to increase the distance between you and the bear. The
bear will probably do the same. If a bear persistently follows or
approaches you, without vocalizing, or paw swatting, change your
If the bear continues to follow you, stand your
ground. If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout at it. Act
aggressively to intimidate the bear. Act together as a group if you have
companions. Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move
to higher ground). Throw non-food objects such as rocks at the bear. Use
a deterrent such as a stout stick.
Don't run and don't turn away
from the bear. Don't leave food for the bear; this encourages further
problems. Most injuries from black bear attacks are minor and result
from a bear attempting to get at people's food.
If the bear's
behavior indicates that it is after your food and you're physically
attacked, separate yourself from the food and slowly back away.
If the bear shows no interest in your food and you're physically
attacked, fight back aggressively with any available object - the bear
may consider you as prey!
The American Black Bear (Ursus
Bears over 600 pounds have been documented in the park. Bears can
live 12-15 years or more, however bears which have had access to
human foods and garbage have a life expectancy of only half that
time. Bears, like humans, are omnivores. Plant
materials such as berries and nuts make up approximately 85% of
their diet. Insects and animal carrion provide valuable sources of
protein for bears.
Bears are most active during early
morning and late evening hours in spring and summer. Bears have
color vision and a keen sense of smell. In addition, they are
good tree climbers, can swim very well, and can run 30 miles per
hour. They are an opportunistic feeder, which means that they
will eat any food they find available, including people’s garbage.
Black bears are not true hibernators. During their winter
dormant period they will sleep for very long periods. This is
referred to as "winter sleep". They do not eat, drink, urinate, or
defecate during this time. They may leave their den during warming
periods or if they are disturbed.
Bears choose a
denning site with the coming of cold weather. Dens are usually
hollow stumps, tree cavities, or wherever there is shelter. Bears in
the Smokies are unusual, in that they often den high above the ground
in standing hollow trees.
One to four cubs
are born during the mother's winter sleep, usually in late January
or early February. Bears weigh eight ounces at birth. Females with
newly born cubs usually emerge from their winter dens in late March
or early April. Commonly born in pairs, the cubs will remain with
the mother for about eighteen months or until she mates again.
There are approximately 1,700 - 1,800 black bears living in the
Great Smoky Mountain National Park which is a population density of
about 2 black bear per square mile. Black bears inhabit and are active
in all areas and elevations of the park.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission Proclamation - Feeding of Black
Bears Prohibited Pursuant to the authority granted by the Title 70,
Tennessee code Annotated, and Sections 70-1-302 and 70-5-101 thereof,
the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency hereby proclaims the following
regulations pertaining to the feeding of black bears
I. Black Bear Feeding Prohibited: It is unlawful to intentionally
or knowingly feed a black bear or intentionally or knowingly leave food
or garbage in a manner that attracts bears. It is also unlawful to
engage in any indirect of incidental feeding of bears if the activity
occurs after the notice from either the City of Gatlinburg or a law
enforcement officer thereof or from an employee of the Tennessee
Wildlife resources Agency to the person responsible for such indirect or
incidental feeding. Such notification shall include the type of activity
which is prohibited. Further such activity by the responsible person
after notice shall be a violation of this section.
Section II. Areas Closed to the Feeding of
Black Bears For the purpose of this proclamation, areas closed to the
feeding of bears include the Corporate Limits of the City of Gatlinburg
and Chalet Village North Subdivision, as posted. A more complete
description may be found on file in the office of the Tennessee Wildlife
Resources Agency in Nashville, Tennessee.
Violation of this law is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of
up to $500 and 6 months in jail.
Why Feeding Bears and Garbage Kills Bears:
The bear's keen sense of smell leads it to insects, nuts and berries,
but the animal is also enticed by the tantalizing smells of human food
and garbage such as hot dogs, apple cores, chips, and watermelon rinds
left on the ground in picnic areas, campgrounds, and along trails.
Feeding bears or allowing them access to human food and garbage
causes a number of problems:
It changes the bear's behavior and
causes them to lose their instinctive fear of humans. Over time, these
bears may begin approaching people in search of food and may become more
unpredictable and dangerous. Bears that obtain human food and garbage
damage property and injure people. These bears pose a risk to public
safety. They can also teach other bears this dangerous behavior. Often,
they must be euthanized. Studies have shown that bears that lose their
fear of people by obtaining human food and garbage never live as long as
bears that feed on natural foods and are shy and afraid of people. Many
are hit by cars and become easy targets for poachers. For these reasons,
park rangers issue citations for littering, feeding bears, and for
improper food storage. These citations can result in fines of up to
$5,000 and jail sentences lasting up to six months. Visitors are urged
to view all wildlife at a safe distance and to never throw food or
garbage on the ground or leave it unattended. Garbage Kills Bears!
Bears are Active in the Area! - Pictures
of Black Bears Taken from the Deck of the Cabin