View Full Version : bears again

02-09-2009, 09:11 PM
Bears are roamers,right???--what part or section of the park has the highest concentration of bears????

02-09-2009, 10:14 PM
I won't even venture a guess as to where there are more bears. I've seen a lot of them around Cades Cove but that may just be because it's so open they are easier to spot.

I would imagine that bears that have come in contact with a lot of people are the most dangerous. Especially those that spot humans as sources of food. Not so much that they want to eat you but they're interested in that salami sandwich in your cooler. Those around campgrounds, cades cove, and other areas where there is a lot of human activity will have lost a fear of humans. If peopl have been feeding them and you happen along their path without some goodies to hand over, they may just get agitated enough to force you go give over the tasty morsels they think are in your pockets.

Just my .02 worth.


02-10-2009, 12:42 AM
I've been seeing more and more above Elkmont. Actually came across a sow and cub, Sow came down the tree after us. Thank God For Bear Spray, I got out of there before I had to use it. Remember, the Bradley (?) Lady was Killed up there about 10 years ago.
Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

02-10-2009, 12:49 AM
I think more bears are seen in cades cove and roaring fork motor nature trail but that probably is because there are thousands of folks driving thru there in cars a lot. I have seen them all over the park though and I don't think you will find a spot that has a significantly "lesser" concentration. I have run across them even in very remote spots such as way up the rabbit creek trail. Usually the same old story though I hear the bear stomping down the ridge and I pull out the camera trying to stay quiet long enough to get a shot off (picture). Then my foot rustles a leaf or something and he hears and takes off like a bat out of **** stomping and running back from whence he came leaving me alone and pictureless. Most of the ones in the back country seem a bit more skiddish. I have run into a couple in cades cove that didn't run at all though and these like has been said were much more aclimated to people. That is just a general observation though and you should always be prepared at all spots in the park in case you come across a problem bear or it comes across you. I really see a similarity between bears and people most are pretty predictable but there are some that will surprise you and behave in an unexpected or aggressive manner so you just have to be a little bit on guard but not to the point of being scared all the time. You are probably in a whole lot more danger in a walmart parking lot of getting mugged or carjacked than attacked by a bear anywhere in the smokies.

02-10-2009, 12:00 PM
Is it just me, or are the bears near Elkmont the most troublesome? Seems like a lot of the problem bears have been from that area in the last decade.

02-10-2009, 04:02 PM
I agree 1000%. I've seen all sorts of "bear food violations" in the campground the previous several years. Last year seemed better. Supposedly there were fed bears up at the back country campsites up Little River Trail.

02-10-2009, 06:04 PM
It doesn't really matter where you go in the park, the concentration of bears is going to be higher. They trap them out of Cataloochee, take them to Twentymile and release them and somehow they make their way back to Cataloochee some 70 some odd miles away in less than a week. I'd say the densest concentration is between Thomas Divide and Cataloochee, spanning the Balsams.

02-10-2009, 07:37 PM
pretty hollow always has bears, ramsey cascade trail ditto, curry mountain trail, little briar trail, and gabes mountain trail are heavily populated....

02-11-2009, 12:24 AM
Do the bears in the nc mountains/smokies hibernate at all? Seems i hear of sightings almost year around.

02-11-2009, 02:50 PM
My guess would have to be Cataloochee. I cant tell you how many bears I have seen fishing the back country up there? I had one come within yards of me one day in pretty hollow creek.

Indianapolis Fisherman
02-11-2009, 07:29 PM
If you want to learn about the bears in the park, sign-up for the bear class with the Smoky Mountain Field School. http://www.ce.utk.edu/Smoky/courses.html (http://www.ce.utk.edu/Smoky/courses.html) It is an all-day class: slide show and some show-&-tell materials in a classroom in the morning followed by a hike in the afternoon. Very informative and very entertaining. (Iíve taken several of these classes and have enjoyed them all.)

I was always a little nervous about bears in the Smokies. Now that I know more about them, Iím much more comfortable.

02-12-2009, 10:38 AM
I believe after having several encounters with the smoky mountain black bear that if you respect them and do not push yourself on them they are no bother. I feel people need to fear the snakes of those mountains when out on the trail more than anything. I have come across some mighty mean looking creatures on several trails where if you were bitten, it would not be good. I can see a bear most the time or hear it but the snake is silent and camofluaged. :eek:

02-12-2009, 11:51 AM
I think tripping over a rock or having a heart attack are probably more dangerous than bears and snakes.

02-12-2009, 10:06 PM
My vote for the highest concentration of bears is the dumpsters behind the Park Vista hotel. The next time your in-laws are in town and want to see an "authentic Smokey Mtn. bear" drive up there and stake out the dumpsters out back for an hour or so. You won't be disappointed.
If they want to see an "authentic hillbilly" just drive them over to the Walmart behind East Town Mall.

02-12-2009, 10:12 PM
the most dangerous are yellow jackets...they attack everything...never wear black on the trails, they identify with bears

02-12-2009, 11:40 PM
the most dangerous are yellow jackets...they attack everything...never wear black on the trails, they identify with bears

Man you are dead on. The only bad animal attack I've ever experienced was once when I was scooting on my butt down a steep hill to a stream in NC. Felt a sting on my hand, heard some buzzing, and instantly got several more stings. Tumbled and crashed thru a dense **** into the creek. Apparently I scraped my butt across their ground nest. I've been stung plenty of times by various insects in my life, but for the first time, I had an allergic reaction.

A few minutes later I got hives all over my entire body, from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. It was the most intense itching I've ever experienced. If I had razor blades for fingernails I would have scraped all my skin off. My fishing buddy said I had turned red everywhere execept for a few spots where I turned white, like around my eyes. A few more minutes later I wanted to go to sleep worse than I've ever wanted to. I've never known a fatigue like that. I knew I couldn't let myself pass out. We were at least 2 hours from the truck, which was about an hour up a forestry road. There was nothing to do but wait it out.

I sat directly in the cold trout water. That seemed to shock me awake and calm my burning skin. My buddy joked that if I felt my tongue swelling my throat shut that he'd be happy to cut a tracheotomy for me. Scary part is maybe he would have had to.

I sat in the water for maybe 30 minutes, then sat on a rock for about 15. The pain at the sting sites was intense, and the swelling over the next few days pulled my skin so tight that I had huge bruises for about 2 months. But well, my buddy and I were already there in the creek, and I felt the worst had passed, so why not fish? So up the creek we went. Only fished about an hour or 2 though, as I was very tired.

I'll never underestimate yellow jackets again. Those things are dangerous.

02-14-2009, 11:08 PM

Great post. Awful, but a great cautionary tale for folks fishing anywhere in the mountains.

A friend of mine from Ohio and I were fishing Little River above Elkmont 2 years ago. We were walking back down the trail and just below where Cucumber Gap trail comes in I saw something out of the corner of my left eye come flying out of the woods to my left and hit me in the side of the head and then fell and landed on my boot. I thought at first it was a big moth, but I looked down and it was a bat. It flew straight up the front of me and then headed down the trail. It did a mid-air uwey and came straight back at my face. My buddy and I were both screaming like little girls and whipping at the thing with our rods and then it finally flew off. We told the ranger at Elkmont about it (minus the screaming part)and she said the bat was probably rabid, as they didn't usually act crazy like that. She said they'd actually had several reports of crazy bats that spring. She also showed us a whole colony of little brownies hanging under the back eaves of the ranger station itself.

Just goes to show you never know what's going to attack you up there. Bears, bats, field mice, lady backpackers......actually the last one was just wishful thinking.

02-15-2009, 10:05 AM
Sam Mcdonald,
You said yellow jackets are attracted to black color. What is a safe color to wear that does not attract yellow jackets and do you think that white is a good color is a good color for keeping ticks and misquitos away??



02-15-2009, 08:44 PM
I would worry more about the yellow jackets than bears, hogs, or snakes. I was stung 27 times last year before I could shake the dang things....and I was in camoflage so color doesn't matter...LOL. I've only had one copper head actually connect on a strike. I was hiking and thought I had hung my boot on a "wait a minute" vine but instead a copper head was latched onto my boot. That scared the crap out of me but in all my years of wondering the woods that's the only time.

02-16-2009, 11:06 AM
saw a brigade of hornets in attack mode settle on my friend Porter,one sunny summer afternoon down on the Cumberland--he got stung many times--to get away from them he took a dip in the 50'ish degree water--I held his boat for him as he climbed back onboard--I told him those hornets were pretty prejidiced against him--Porter replied prejidiced **** they were downright bigoted...

02-16-2009, 06:41 PM
i wear a lot of khaki and sage in the park..sorta natural colors...and i've been pretty lucky (having said that, i'll get stung tomorrow when i guide a couple of friends to some cemeteries)