I have been going to the park on a regular basis for 4 years now. the first 3 years I was fishing an average of 3 days a week. in all those three years I only saw 2 bears. because I now have a regular job, this year I have only made it up to the park an average of about once every 2 weeks. yet this year alone, I have seen probably 10 bears. the past 5 times I have been to cades cove I have seen a bear. one time this year, I actually saw a teenager dressed in a bear suit hiding in some brush at the cove. there were about 20 people pulled over, taking pictures, when all of the sudden this guy jumps up out of the thicket and runs towards them, everyone screams, and he jumps in a vehicle where his friends were waiting on him. I laughed until my sides hurt. but back to my original story, I'm no expert on bear population in the park, but my sharp increase in bear sightings leads me to believe something is going on. either there's been a huge population increase, or they've lost any fear of humans. has anyone else noticed this?