Re: Black Bear Encounters
Personally, I see no need for bells or spray in GSMNP. The bears here are not like the Grizzlies or Blacks out west. Yes, the tend to be curious, but I would hardly call them aggressive. This past September, a day after we left Yellowstone there were 2 hikers attacked by a Grizzly for no apparent reason. They topped over a hill and were attacked. They had spray that deterred the bear after slashing one hikers calf. The hikers turned back to the trailhead to get help and could hear the bear following them (he could smell the pepper). Like us, pepper is good unless it's sprayed into your eyes. IMO, if you are lucky enough to share some space with a black bear in GSMNP, enjoy the adrenaline, leave it alone, and move on. With all that said, if carrying the bell/spray gives you some sort of peace, then go for it.