black bear

Top Safety Tips For When You See Black Bears in the Smoky Mountains

When you visit the Smokies, you probably want to see a black bear. These creatures are the official mascot of the Smoky Mountains, and they’re pretty popular animals. However, we want you and the black bears to stay as safe as possible. Here are the top safety tips for when you see black bears in the Smoky Mountains:

You Should Not Approach Black Bears

black bear in the woodsIn the national park, approaching black bears within 50 yards is illegal. If you’re out somewhere, such as in Cades Cove, and you see a black bear, you should keep your distance. Never purposefully walk close to a black bear. These are wild animals, and they are unpredictable. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior, you are too close to the bear. Being too close to a black bear may cause it to display aggressive behavior.

How to Interact with an Aggressive Bear

You may be wondering how to tell when a bear becomes aggressive. If a black bear looks directly at you, hits the ground with its paws, or makes loud noises, it is displaying aggressive behavior. This is the bear’s way of telling you you’re too close and you need to back up. You should slowly back away and speak to the bear in a calm voice. Never turn and run. If the bear continues to follow you, turn around and stand your ground. Be aggressive and loud. Try to make yourself look bigger. If you are with other people, crowd together and make yourselves look bigger. Try to move to higher ground. Hopefully, the bear will be scared and leave. It is a good idea to have bear spray with you when you go hiking just in case you might need it.

What to Do with Food When it Comes to Bears

Black bears in the Smoky Mountains are known for breaking into cars and dumpsters to find food. We can all work together to prevent bears from eating things they aren’t supposed to and keeping people safe. If you are out on a hike with food and find yourself being followed by a bear, you should separate yourself from your food so you will not be physically attacked. Move to a safe position away from the bear and make as much noise as possible to scare the bear away.

black bear in cades coveWhen you stay in one of our cabins, never leave food in your car or outside at a charcoal grill. Tie up trash in trash bags and put it in dumpsters and trash bins. If you are out in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park having a picnic, be sure to clean up all of your food and garbage when you are done. Studies have shown that when black bears get into trash, they lose their fear of humans, which could result in the bear having to be euthanized in the future.

The safety of people and black bears are important. As long as you follow these safety tips, everyone should remain safe. Ready to start planning your next trip to the Smokies so you can possibly see black bears? Look at our cabins in the Smoky Mountains and book one today!