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bear pepper spray is legal and can be used in the park!
where is the black bear?
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is famous for the hundreds of black bear we have running around and the population is growing! Approximately 1,700 to 8,000 live in the area. They can be seen at every elevation of the park, mainly around dusk, or early in the morning. They are mainly active during spring and summer. When fall comes they spend a lot of their time gathering food for the winter. This is because they eat more plants than other species and most of their food supply is gone by the first snowfall. These animals are territorial and tend to be more aggressive around food.
Every year thousands of tourists flock these hills just to get a glimpse of these cute, furry creatures! Many leave with great photos, and videos sightings! One of the most popular spots to see the black bear in their natural habitat is the Cades Cove area. If you happen upon a sighting, remember, these animals are wild which means they can be unpredictable. The Black Bear can run up to 30 mph! Their tree climbing skills are excellent, and they are very good swimmers. Do not attempt to climb a tree or jump into water to get away!
Because of the growing population, sightings do occasionally occur in the Sevierville, Pigeon forge, and Gatlinburg areas. Any such sightings outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be reported by dialing 911. CBS News reported on a story in Gatlinburg that happened awhile back. Watch those people with their cameras! Please folks....DON'T DO THIS!!!! It's dangerous! Do not run toward the animal! Run away from it!
These beasts do not hibernate. However, they sleep for long periods, leaving their dens during a warming trend, or if they become disturbed. These naps usually occur while it's cold, therefore it is more unlikely to see bear during winter.
These animals are beautiful and most everyone who visits wants to see one! It's most exciting to see them roaming about in their natural habitat! Take photos and enjoy these cute, furry creatures at a distance. Remember that although it might be tempting to want to run up and grab him like a "Teddy" he/she is dangerous, and must be respected as a wild animal!
The National Park Service has information on this important topic and more.