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Buffalo96
08-26-2008, 11:31 AM
Ok, I know this thread may be stupid but I just gotta ask.... What is the bear situation up there like? I am planing on going fishing/camping in October.

I don't have any GSM fishing experience and I was just trying to get a feel for any additional hazards. Guess it is the Boy Scout coming out, "Be Prepared!" I am used to a little hazard from surf fishing and a favorite saying is "once you enter the water you become a part of the food chain." I guess I need to change that and say "once you enter the woods you become a part of the food chain."

Anyone have any interesting stories or advice? Or should I just adjust my skirt and not worry about it. :confused:

Redfish62
08-26-2008, 12:50 PM
Millions visit the park every year. Maybe one bear attach a year odds are you will not even see a bear. I have seen several and have never had an issue. The hornets nest that hang over the streams are far greater danger than the bears but that is just my opinion. I fish at least once a week and have spent a lot of hours in the mountains. Don't worry catch fish and enjoy the mountains.

pineman19
08-26-2008, 01:19 PM
I agree with Redfish62. I have seen two bears in the Park this year, one from my vehicle and the other on the upper little river trail. They minded their business and moved on down the road or trail. The main thing is to use common sense and allow them their space and they usually keep moving on once they see or smell a human.

Enjoy the mountains,

Neal

buzzmcmanus
08-26-2008, 01:45 PM
I don't want to give you a false sense of security, because bears are dangerous. So, if you're worried about it, just get a canister of bear spray and learn to use it. I've yet to hear about someone getting bit that has had bear spray, in the Smoky's that is.

Troutman
08-26-2008, 01:49 PM
Avoid eating at KFC before heading into the woods. The local bears have a taste for the Colonel.

Other than that I do not worry about them. I've had my share of bear encounters over the years and I worry more about slipping off a boulder and breaking an ankle or rib than fighting off the wildlife. Either fish with a friend or let someone know what area you will be fishing and estimated return time.

Brian Griffing
08-27-2008, 09:52 AM
I agree with Troutman. The greatest danger in the Smokies is self-induced injury. Either that or Bigfoot.

sammcdonald
08-27-2008, 12:58 PM
paranoid bears....hmmm....they all think we are out to get them???

lauxier
08-27-2008, 01:21 PM
I did not know that about KFC and the bears,were you kidding,cause it makes sense in a way,KFC has its own odor--I've seen several bears over the years,all of them scampered away from me--but it is good to know a little bit about bear behavior--somewhere in the archives of this forum there is a real scary post by a fisherman about walking a park road going to a stream before daylight,he could hear something following him,he felt like he was being stalked,if it was a bear,he was lucky he did not get attacked.Some bears are just bad bears,same as there are biting dogs,bad bears are aggresive,and will probably end up killed by park rangers,which is in effect culling,if aggressive behavior is genetic in any way,you would think that one day the Smokies will inhabited a gentler breed of black bear.

Troutman
08-27-2008, 01:41 PM
Yes, I was kidding about the KFC thing, although I don't think its a good idea to go into the woods smelling of any kind of strong flavored food.
I do have a bear and KFC story though....
Back many moons ago, when my wife and I were just dating, we used to hike and go on a lot of picnics. (She always said I was a cheap date) We decided to grab a couple of chicken dinners from KFC in Sevierville on the way up to chimmney top picnic area. We were at a table enjoying the greasy chicken when a bear came down the hill and we jumped up and got into the car. The bear of course finished everything including my mashed taters and gravy. There was a large crowd that gathered around our vehicle snapping picts and laughing. The bear moved onto the next table where a foreign couple was eating and somehow did not see the bear until it was very close to them. They jumped up and ran off yelling something in Chinese....I don't eat the greasy chicken anymore but we still pack a picnic every so often...I usually pick a place next to the stream.:cool:

buzzmcmanus
08-27-2008, 02:37 PM
I agree with Troutman. The greatest danger in the Smokies is self-induced injury. Either that or Bigfoot.

I hear they've seen a few chupacabra's lately.

Buffalo96, I recomend bear spray if it gives you peace of mind and helps you sleep better. But, I spend close to 100 days a year in bear country (hunting, fishing, trail running) and have never felt the need to carry bear spray. Now that I've said that, watch me get eaten this weekend. I've also found the best bear deterent is a bear tag in your pocket.

http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u51/buzzmcmanus/014.jpg

MtnMike
08-27-2008, 02:59 PM
I have spent quiet a bit of time hiking and fishing in the park and the bears have never really cause me any concern. I have been extremely close (within 10 feet) to bears in the backcountry, but I have never felt threatened. For the most part the bears I have encountered wanted to go on about their business, and fortunately the bigger the bear the quicker he seems to disappear. With all of that said, I did have an incident 2 or 3 years ago that caused me concern:
I was just below the parking lot at the Abram's Creek trailhead in Cade's Cove. I was in the creek fishing and my wife and young daughter was sitting on a rock by the creek watching. About that time I hear some folks talking about a bear. I am scanning ahead and I see the bear moving toward the stream, with the intent to cross. At this point I have no concern, I am simply hoping he will cross the stream like many have before. But, as he steps into the stream he stops and looks at me. Now I have concern, not for me, but for my wife and daughter. I told my wife to pick up our daughter and move slowly back up the path to the main trail. My concern, the bear was being chased by people with cameras it had intended to cross the stream to get away, I was in the way, now its escape route was down the creek bank between me and the trail above with all the people and now my wife and daughter were in the way. They backed up to the trail and the bear walked down the bank, crossing the rock they were sitting on. The bear passed between us and we weren't 40' apart. The bear went on with all the cameras continueing to give chase. It was all I could do to not yell at someone.
Here is my concern, When people start chasing bears to get their pictures I don't want to be and I certainly don't want my family to be in what is the bears escape route. I never felt threatened. But had my wife and daughter not had a place to move to then that bear was going to have to figure out another way of escape.
When the bears are left alone I don't think they present a problem. Don't worry about them near as much as falling, snakes or bees, unless of course they are being chased by a bunch of people with cameras.