View Full Version : Smoky Mountain Critters

05-27-2007, 11:12 PM
Seriously, I keep hearing about the critters that live in the mountains and in the same breath everyone says do not worry about it they are more scared of you than you should be of them. I have been a nervous wreck every time I have gone up there to fish. What is up there, what do they look like and what level of concern should I have? I love fishing and my family to much to die for a fish. I am just looking for honest answers so I can be prepared for whatever is up there. No Big Foot I hope!:confused:

05-27-2007, 11:49 PM
bears, deer and turkey mostly. the occasional coyote. elk in certain areas. the bears get me a little uneasy sometimes, but it's pretty rare to encounter one while out fishing. I see them from my car all the time though. saw one today in fact. if you feel uneasy with the idea of a bear encounter, you can get you some bear spray. you'll probably never use it, but it may give you some peace of mind. also, almost everyone agrees there are mountain lions up there, but the park says there is no evidence, or won't admit it. this came up months ago on this board and there were many members who claimed to have personally seen one.

oh, man, I almost forgot an important one: wild boars. my understanding is that they are pretty dangerous creatures. I've only spotted a boar once, and it was with a baby. the momma wasn't very big.

oh, another one: be very watchful of snakes. they are everywhere and they usually seem to be right where you're stepping.

05-27-2007, 11:59 PM
Of all the animals mentioned, the hogs are probably the most dangerous...btw, there's a report of a huge hog killed down in Alabama; some kid got him, well over 1000 lbs.

05-28-2007, 06:47 AM
I really envy the guy who said on this forum,not long ago,that he had been coming to the park for yearsand had never seen a snake.I think I draw snakes,and if that is not enough,I have Snake-Vision,which is nothing more that a knack at seeing them no matter how camafloged they are.In the past 33 years of coming to the park,I have seen dozens of poisinous snakes.I had 2 close encounters with timber rattlers.In both cases,they were real close and neither rattled.I thought of this as very unethical behavior on the part of the snakes.Maybe they were not rattlesnakes?They were rattlers,I know this cause I still have their rattlers(this was several years ago).In my book,a rattle snake that won't rattle is a very low snake.(These 2 encounters happened in the same area in the same summer).Tremont,Abrams and Straight fork have been very bad to me,as far as happening onto snakes.
I come to the park each summer full of snake paranoia,My belt is loaded with gear specially designed for the paranoid.I have---Bear Spray,a snake bite kit(which they say not to use),a hunting knife,a leatherman,I would pack a revolver if I could(It would probably be a Ruger Alaskan .454 cal,That baby pops so loud that Byron would get choked on his coffee all the way back at LRO)and last but not least a large cross,cause you are entering a place where rattlesnakes don't rattle,which makes it logical that all those unnamed folks who seem to come to life at nightime,around the Elkmont campground are vampires.

05-28-2007, 06:54 AM
Not sure,but,I think Fishpond makes a really nice,tasteful,very 2007'ish vampire kit make up of wooden stakes,and wooden mallet(solid oak) in a handy belt pack,with a large wooden cross in fast-draw holder...

05-28-2007, 08:58 AM
Hello Jim,

The Smokys are a beautiful place, and there are plenty of critters. I guess if your not comfortable in the wild outdoors it may not be the place for you. I have been hiking and fishing in the park, mostly solo for over 15 years on camping/fising trips. I have seen a few bears, a couple pretty close, but I have never had one threaten me. As far as snakes, I have only seen one copperhead, maybe I have been lucky, but sometimes people exaggerate about snakes to scare people off, this will probably get me nailed, but so be it. I am a forester by trade, and worked in the backwoods of Florida and seen some nice rattlers there, maybe I have been lucky in the Smokys, but I am not paranoid about snakes, most times if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. I have seen a couple wild hogs, up by the headwaters of Gunna Creek, but that is it, and I have been to some pretty remote areas. My best advice is to be careful, but don't be too scared in the mountains. At this point I am more worried about breaking a leg or something in a remote area while flyfishing by myself and not being able to reach help. I think the odds of that are higher than being nailed by a bear or a rattler.

Just be careful, don't go alone, and enjoy the scenery, and don't let people scare you off it is something you really want to experience.



Gerry Romer
05-28-2007, 12:26 PM
Well said.


05-28-2007, 08:26 PM
big foot lives in cataloochie..........a ranger probably glen cardwell, caught him digging roots one day in a downpour and asked the sasquach what he was doing...the critter answered, "Just 'sangin' in the rain".

David Knapp
05-28-2007, 09:00 PM
Don't worry about the animals. Just be watchful and use common sense and you'll be fine. Personally, I worry more about all the crazy drivers around me on my way to the park than I do about anything once I get there. After that, as pineman said, the danger of injuring yourself (slipping off a rock, etc) is much more likely than getting attacked or otherwise injured by a wild animal. Respect the wilderness and the potential it holds, both positive and negative and you'll have a great time...:cool:

05-28-2007, 09:06 PM
I agree about the drivers...some of them are just plain nuts - it's like they're driving in rush hour at home - also about slipping...got my baptism in that the last time I was up there. I'm glad the water wasn't too high, and that it was April and not February.

06-07-2007, 04:00 PM
one word.....yellowjackets

06-07-2007, 09:05 PM
Said it before and will say it agian, the most dangerous and to be aware of are as fishliker says Bees, (wasps) and falls from boulders

Gerry Romer
06-07-2007, 09:34 PM
Y'all know how Byron is always harping about safe wading practices...

Just so you know he's not over-selling this idea, here's a link to an article in this past Tuesday's Maryville Daily Times. It's a follow-up to an earlier report of a drowning at "The Sinks". The Sinks is a popular swimming hole about halfway between the Y entrance and Metcalf Bottoms. Keep in mind that this happened with the current low water conditions the park is experiencing.

Of all the critters we might have to contend with, the environment itself may be the harshest.

Gerry Romer


06-07-2007, 10:34 PM
This is only my 3rd post here but I've been to the mountains a lot of times, both out west in Yellowstone and the GSMP. The Smokies are quite deceptive. With the tree canopy, they look like gentle rolling hills, but they are quite rugged and are far more dangerous than any of the critters.

I've seen a couple bears on hiking trails, but they were not at all interested in me. One was in some brush off the side of the trail and as my wife and I walked around the corner, we came much closer than I ever want to be to a bear. He was as suprised as we were. He (or she?) snorted and ran down the hill at a pretty fast clip. The other was about 100 yards away. We stopped in the trail and after what seemed like about five minutes and was in reality probably more like two or three minutes, the bear wandered off up the side of the mountain. I'm pretty sure it knew we were there, but we posed no threat, made no sudden moves or advances and it just wandered off.

However, the mountains themselves can be dangerous. Weather changes rapidly, the slopes are steep and one can get in trouble fast if not careful.

I honestly think the Applachians are more dangerous than the western mountains because they appear so gentle where the western mountains look so rugged.

They deserve ample respect for sure.


06-08-2007, 06:23 AM
Woddy, with me - if the former attacks, the latter danger follows! I have what I like to call a " bee thing", and if they come after me, I'm as likely to run off a cliff or tumble down a mountainside( been there, done that) as anything. Stupid I know, but I can't help it.

06-08-2007, 07:51 AM
No doubt bees and rocks. I carry bear spray but will probably never use it. Its more for peace of mind then anything else. One thing you guys should look into is getting a epipen for bees. I have seen way to many people who were never allergic to bees almost die from getting into a nest. This little tool could really be the difference between life and death. When it comes to actual animals in the park the last thing I want to see is a pig. I have heard they can be real nasty.

How would you like to run into this monster?

06-08-2007, 09:50 AM
Here's a good example of an E. TN pig. This came from Cherokee NF just south of the park.


Those cutters can put a world of hurt on someone.

06-08-2007, 04:56 PM
Mean looking pig

06-08-2007, 08:59 PM
Heh. sorry that should have been "woody" not " woddy". ;) I have a friend that has gone by "Milliam" for a decade because of my poor typing skills! :) LOL NICE PIGGIES!

06-09-2007, 02:00 PM
mmmmmm.................bacon;). Meanest critter I every come across in the smokeys was my first wife:eek: Ya'll be careful, last I heard she was still out there somewhere:biggrin:

Paula Begley
06-09-2007, 05:27 PM
mmmmmm.................bacon;). Meanest critter I every come across in the smokeys was my first wife:eek: Ya'll be careful, last I heard she was still out there somewhere:biggrin:

HAHAHA!!! And here we were all thinking those weird sounds we hear when we were camping in the back country was the cry of the banshee! ;)