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jzimmerman 06-26-2008 10:17 AM

Elkmont 6/26/08 & "grumpy bear"
I left work to head to the mountains yesterday and decided to go fishing at elkmont. Normally I wouldn't tell you an exact location of where I was but I believe this time I need to. I started at the first pull of after making the turn into elkmont. First of all I had a banner day catching 10 trout 4 of which were larger browns. I was using a never sink caddis with a size 18 hares ear nymph dropper. While catching most on the caddis I did catch a brown and a rainbow on the dropper.

Now for the more serious part of my post, on the way back when I was about 80 or so yards from my truck I heard some rustling of leaves up ahead to my right. Not thinking much of it "sounded like a squirrel" I kept walking. After a few more steps I hear a bear growl at me. I looked to my right and about 50 yards away stood the biggest bear that I have seen in the park. He was alone and was staring right at me. Most of the bears that I have come across acted like I didn't exist or ran as soon as they saw me. That is what was so scary about this incident he stood there staring at me not scared at all and the fact that he growled at me also made me uneasy. So I made myself as big as possible faced towards him and walked backwards all the way to my truck. The bear never move just kept his stare. This bear is obviously not scared of humans "not good" and I just wanted to warn anyone fishing this area if they come across paths with him not to run just keep an eye on him. I always just joked about getting bear mace but after this particular bear I will more serious about having it with me.

rainshaker 06-26-2008 12:19 PM

MY worst fear is finding myself in that situation with no easy escape route....yikes!

I'm trying to get a better idea of where you were. The Pull-off you took.....was this the spot below the campground with the pedestrian bridge that usually has the chain blocking vehilce access?

jzimmerman 06-26-2008 12:47 PM

No, it was right after you turn off of little river road the very first place to park on your right. This is before you get to the campgrouns or any of that.

rainshaker 06-26-2008 01:09 PM

I see.....sometimes I get my "-monts" confused....glad we didn't read about your trip in the newspaper.

I carry a whistle but don't know if that would scare away stubborn campground bear. I understand those are the worse kind, a "problem bear" if you will.

Sage 06-26-2008 02:10 PM


Dude, late last fall me and a buddy of mine were fishing the same area. I headed back to the truck and when we met up he told me about seeing a bear about 20 yards above him in the woods. He turned around and there it was, just as suprised to see him as my buddy was. He said the bear made it's way back up into the woods after a brief pause and stare. Maybe it was the same one, maybe not, but we're glad you told us this. Next time I'm in that area I'll make it a point to be loud and to keep my head on a swivel.

sammcdonald 06-26-2008 02:11 PM

that's probably the same bear that is often seen on the quiet walkway area just before the elkmont turn off.........and he is big. has also been seen in the laurel falls trail area (which is posted with bear warnings) which may be why he may no longer fears humans.
on a side note, a bear was hit and killed on the g'burg by-pass last saturday.

Speckleman5 06-26-2008 05:12 PM

I was sitting in the Grassy Ridge Mine overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway last night and heard one in the woods. I turned off the radio, but my headlights were still on well before dark. Aound 840 I looked up and the biggest bear I have ever seen was walking out of the trail directly for the trash cans. He looked dead at me about 50 feet in front of the truck with the headlights pointed at him. He growled loudly and walked about 15 feet back into the woods. He never left and presumably waited until I left to resume his crusade for the bottom of the trash can. I have seen a lot of bears in my time. I have seen a ton in the park this year alone. I have never seen a bear as big as this one was. His head was at least 1.5 times the size of a basketball.....I usually get over it pretty quickly, but I honestly think he wanted to let me know he was there.....Very loud before he came out, very loud while my music was playing, and very loud when he was in an opening 5 feet form stepping out into daylight. I am beginning to get a little weary about going out and about anymore becaue=se everywhere I turn around a bear is standing there.

BlueRaiderFan 06-26-2008 10:38 PM

People make fun of me because I carry a 10 inch Bowie knife when I go hunting or fishing in the Smokies...Mace is great, but I figure if they are close enough to mace, I have issues that mace won't handle.

Speckleman5 06-27-2008 08:26 AM

Yeah I carry a large Bark River Banana blade, never hurts to be safe

jeffnles1 06-27-2008 08:57 AM

I HOPE I'm never close enough to a bear that I can stick him with a knife.

I suppose as that last great act of defiance, the knife would be something you could use in a last stand, but I think the bear has a longer "reach" than I do. By the time I'm close enough to stick him, he's already had more than ample opportunity to smack me silly.

Heck, even most handguns (even if they were legal to carry in the park) are not going to drop a bear in his tracks, especially any handgun you'd carry in a concealed carry mode and want to lug around fishing all day. 9MM, 45, 38, 357, etc. would probably kill a bear eventually, but unless one was quite lucky, I doubt if they would make the kind of impression on an angry bear that most would think.

The loud bang would probably scare it off better than a bullet impact.

I'm by no means a "bear expert" so my approach is to try to make noise on the trail and to do the best I can to avoid close encounters with them.

I think I would need some extra baby wipes if I was 50' from a bear that was growling at me.


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