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black bear up in tree

​​Black Bear in Gatlinburg Gets Into the Halloween Spirit

You aren’t the only one who is excited for pumpkin spice and jack-o-lanterns this fall! One hungry black bear in Gatlinburg decided to enjoy some delicious pumpkin right in the streets of downtown. Check out the video here:

This black bear is ready to get into the Halloween spirit! Unconcerned with the crowd or nearby cars, this bear chowed down on a pumpkin he found on the side of the road. While the pumpkin skin proved to be a little too tough, that didn’t stop the bear from trying to enjoy his meal. Eventually, the bear lost interest and the pumpkin rolled away. The bear then walked away from the crowd, no doubt in search of his next fall snack.

Black Bears in the Fall

While it is not uncommon to see black bears all throughout the year in the Smoky Mountains, they are typically seen more in the Fall due to preparation for hibernation. In the months leading up to hibernation, black bears will typically consume 20,000 calories in one day, leading to them going outside their normal areas for food, hence this bear snacking on a pumpkin in downtown.

Where to See Black Bears in the Smokies

bearWith over 1,500 bears living in the national park, there are plenty of places where you can spot these creatures. One of the most popular places to see black bears is Cades Cove. Bears love the large valleys and wooded areas of Cades Cove, and if you’re lucky, you may even get to see a family of bears crossing the loop road. Conveniently, you can even see the bears from the safety of your car when you drive the loop. If you see a bear and you are on foot or bike, make sure to leave at least 50 yards between you and the animal.

What to Do if You See a Black Bear

If you come in contact with a black bear, BearWise has a few tips and tricks you need to remember in order to avoid conflict with the creature. While they may be cute, it is important to remember that these are wild and unpredictable animals and can be potentially dangerous to humans.

1. Don’t Feed the Bears

It is essential not to leave food, trash, or scraps outdoors, as well as throw any of these items in the woods or out car windows. It is also encouraged that you place all your trash in bear-resistant containers or take it with you whenever you leave your camp or cabin.

2. Discourage Break-Ins

black bear on deck of cabin in GatlinburgMake sure to lock all vehicles and cabins when not in use, in addition to rolling up and closing your windows. Bears will be able to smell food or trash in any of these locations. You also need to keep all porches and decks of your lodging clean. A bear won’t know the difference between food and trash materials, so make sure nothing is left out for them to eat.

3. If You Encounter a Bear

Black bears are not typically aggressive towards people and attacks are rare but they do happen. In order to prevent this, it is important not to provoke the bear. If you see the bear before it sees you, stand still and don’t approach it. After you’ve admired the creature for a moment, walk away quietly and in the opposite direction.
If you see a bear and it sees you, don’t run and simply back away slowly in the opposite direction. We suggest carrying bear spray as the easiest way to deter a bear that is threatening you.

Want to know more about black bears in Gatlinburg and the rest of the Smokies? Check out our Great Smoky Mountains National Park page to learn all about wildlife in the park.