Originally Posted by ZachMatthews
The kid had just been chowing down on a bucket of fried chicken and supposedly had it on his shirt. Like Trout Assassin, I am completely skeptical that you could just come upon a bear like that kid described. Where on Road Prong trail could you suddenly just pop up in arm's reach of a bear? Zach
While I have personally witnessed people in the Park, especially in Cades Cove, acting stupid around bears, I am willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt. For this bear to attack a kid, be run off by the father, come back after the kid, and then to act agressively toward the rangers that killed him; this is truly exceptional behavior. While bad behavior on the part of the humans may have played a part, this was not normal behavior for a bear. There was something wrong with that little guy. He was a yearling, weighing 30 lbs less than my lab. My guess is that he left his mother too early, or something happened to his mother, but either way, he was in a desperate situation.
As far as suprising a bear goes, that can be done. Especially young ones. I have accidentally and intentionally (I was younger, dumber, faster, and more invincible) snuck up on bears. So unless I see something that conclusively contradicts their story, I am willing to take these people at their word, and be thankful that the little boy is okay.