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View Full Version : Bear activity in the SE, whatís going on?



Berserker
07-13-2018, 12:35
At the risk of overdoing the bear discussions I just had to get this out of my system. With all the talk on the forums recently about bear issues specifically in the SE (i.e. GA, NC, TN & VA), I wonder whatís changed.

Years ago prior to 2007 I used to hike regularly in places like Shining Rock, other parts of Pisgah NF and Mt. Rogers NRA. I never saw a bear back then in those areas, and rarely even saw any sign (e.g. scat, torn up dead logs, etc.) of bears. Since then Iíve been working on section hiking the AT, and thus itís been a while since Iíve hiked in most of those areas on a regular basis. Now Iím seeing all kinds of reports of bears around those parts getting food and whatnot, and new (within the last few years) requirements to carry a bear canister if staying overnight in most of these areas.

So what the heck is going on? Since I havenít hiked in these areas recently I canít comment from actual experience, but it appears to be a combination of factors probably related to increase in hikers in the back country leading to more people that are storing food improperly, and perhaps an increase in the bear population. Who knows though, some of this could just be normal and be getting blown out of proportion.

What are your thoughts? Anybody have more knowledge on whatís going on want to give your opinion?

GoldenBear
07-13-2018, 13:06
> So what the heck is going on?

If Pennsylvania is any indication of bear population trends,
www.pgc.pa.gov/Wildlife/WildlifeSpecies/BlackBear/Pages/BlackBearPopulationGrowth.aspx
then it's simply a matter of
more bears + more people = more encounters between bears and people

Also, note the thrust of this article:
www.roanoke.com/news/local/bear-human-conflicts-rise-across-virginia-as-population-grows/article_e9d21a8a-ff09-53d2-b354-c8937303bb7e.html

Fortunately, more bears means more predation of deer, meaning fewer deer near roadways, meaning fewer cars crashing into deer -- the latter being one of the leading cause of death in human-animal encounters.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deer%E2%80%93vehicle_collisions
In other words, if we wish to reduce human fatalities in human-animal encounters, we should be encouraging population growth in bears and other deer predators.

Burrhead
07-13-2018, 13:10
More Hikers with less skill in food storage. Obsession with weight leading to more hikers, even experienced ones, trying to burn trash. This leaves more food smells around shelters. The main thing in my opinion... less hunters. Most of the bear hunters I know only want to take a large bear, females with cubs are off limits. So for years you had cubs and younger bears getting chased by a pack of dogs and run up trees, then humans would show up and take the dogs away. They learned from an early age that dogs and people are very bad things and the scent of either should be avoided at all cost. Looking forward to hearing other opinions on this.

DownYonder
07-13-2018, 13:16
"Bears actually inhabit all elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Biologists estimate that approximately 1,500 bears live in the park, which equals a population density of roughly two bears per square mile."

While man has encroached upon their habitat, there is a very healthy bear population throughout the Smoky/Blue Ridge mountains. Bears are smart and they enjoy a delicious free meal. Add to that the fact that more and more clueless people traipsing into the woods, we end up with more "bear encounters". Hiking the AT used to be what true outdoors people did. Today, it is just another cool thing to check off your bucket list which folks prepare for on the internet. How many people have stated on this site that they have never hiked before but plan to start their thru hike on March 1, 20xx. It will only get worse at the expense of bears and other wildlife!!

PatmanTN
07-13-2018, 13:22
I live relatively close to the GSMNP and go there pretty often. Some years I hear more anecdotes than others but every year they wind up closing about 30-40% of the sites for aggressive bear behavior. Last weekend I happened to camp with a Backcountry Ranger (law enforcement type with sidearm not ATC) and he related the final straw incident at Derrick Knob Shelter a few weeks ago which precipitated the closure: a small black bear ran through a guys tent with the guy in it and got all tangled up.

I've had a few incidents myself over the last few years: had a pack stolen, a tent shredded, and one time a bear attempted to join my wife and I in camp. He didn't seem to want anything but just sat down about 20 feet from us and stared. We packed up and left.

JPritch
07-13-2018, 15:09
the final straw incident at Derrick Knob Shelter a few weeks ago which precipitated the closure: a small black bear ran through a guys tent with the guy in it and got all tangled up.

Probably scared the literal $hit out of the guy! :eek:

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 15:15
more bears + more people = more encounters between bears and people




yup............

along with the the ability to post pictures and video at the drop of a hat.........

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 15:22
In other words, if we wish to reduce human fatalities in human-animal encounters, we should be encouraging population growth in bears and other deer predators.



but..........in the southeast----what are bear and deer predators?


the only one I can think of off the top of my head, is humans....

and this would mean hunting bears...


the bear population in the GSMNP seems like its growing every year (although i have no facts to support this----im just going on my own observations) and the way to cull this population is to hunt them...

or find some other way to instill fear into bears...

trailmercury
07-13-2018, 15:35
but..........in the southeast----what are bear and deer predators?

Don't ya'll have coyotes by now. They are a major whitetail deer predator, especially fawn and yearling deer.

I agree with you about needing the human "Apex Predator" to help control the black bear population via hunting in identified areas.

Is bear hunting popular in the parts of the SE that the OP is referring to? Do most agree that it should be more popular if not?

MuddyWaters
07-13-2018, 15:43
but..........in the southeast----what are bear and deer predators?


the only one I can think of off the top of my head, is humans....

and this would mean hunting bears...


the bear population in the GSMNP seems like its growing every year (although i have no facts to support this----im just going on my own observations) and the way to cull this population is to hunt them...

or find some other way to instill fear into bears...
Well, hunting (legal that is) aint honna happen in gsmnp.

The other option, is just let the chips fall as they may.
If we lose a few people here and there so what we got too many anyway.

More seroiusly, when people impact wildlife, ....its time to limit the people.
And keep doing so until the only people that have access, fully understand consequences. And behave appropriately.

martinb
07-13-2018, 15:59
More Hikers with less skill in food storage. Obsession with weight leading to more hikers, even experienced ones, trying to burn trash. This leaves more food smells around shelters. The main thing in my opinion... less hunters. Most of the bear hunters I know only want to take a large bear, females with cubs are off limits. So for years you had cubs and younger bears getting chased by a pack of dogs and run up trees, then humans would show up and take the dogs away. They learned from an early age that dogs and people are very bad things and the scent of either should be avoided at all cost. Looking forward to hearing other opinions on this.
I agree. I've seen a lot of awful hangs that are easy pickings for a bear. Once they get a taste of that peanut butter granola bar, there's no going back.

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 16:01
Don't ya'll have coyotes by now




ahhhhh.............wasnt thinking of that one...




Is bear hunting popular in the parts of the SE that the OP is referring to?



its a thing down here in TN............especially in the part where Tipi goes hiking...........along the skyway during hunting season, one can see hunters' trucks parked alongside the road and people hanging out while waiting for their dogs to get a hit...

and one can also come across dogs out in the backcountry...

to me----and im not a hunter-----the way they do it, is not really hunting at all------they have dogs with GPS collars on them..........release them into the woods...........the dogs will tree a bear and then the hunters come in to that location and shot the bears outta the trees......

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 16:05
Well, hunting (legal that is) aint honna happen in gsmnp.

The other option, is just let the chips fall as they may.
If we lose a few people here and there so what we got too many anyway.

More seroiusly, when people impact wildlife, ....its time to limit the people.
And keep doing so until the only people that have access, fully understand consequences. And behave appropriately.





yeah...........

i know hunting will not happen in the Park............although some hunting (like fishing and boar hunting) happens...........the general public can fish, but they can't hunt boar in the Park......the Park has rangers that do it, along with hiring contractors to come in and shot the pigs....




.its time to limit the people.
And keep doing so until the only people that have access, fully understand consequences. And behave appropriately.



yeah...

that's what it will come down to.............and it will be a ***** storm..........look at how the fight for the new reservation system went down............the Park was trying to improve the backcountry experience but took a beating from the people who were abusing the system..........not that they won though.......

martinb
07-13-2018, 16:16
Canister requirements are going to be coming, it's just a matter of time. In the long run it'll be good for bears and humans.

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 16:16
More seroiusly, when people impact wildlife




what i hate lately, cause it's been happening a bunch this summer (i know cause my station has been flooded with them) is videos of bears in gatlinburg and other places where humans are at......

and these humans aren't doing anything to scare off the bear or anything like that.....

these people are just sitting back and watching whatever the bear is doing and ohhh-ing and ahh-ing, when they should really be trying to scare off the bear.....


i understand the fascination of wanting to see a bear, cause most people who come to the Park, that's one of their goals.....

but it's kinda encouraging others to get video of bears and whatever behavior they are doing........


along with people still leaving food out for bears...............as in, people leaving corn out for deer and then of course bears are going to feed on this corn as well..............along with birdseed........

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 16:18
Canister requirements are going to be coming, it's just a matter of time. In the long run it'll be good for bears and humans.




yup........


the Park did try a step in the right direction 20 years ago when they installed bear cables...

but that system has it's flaws....

one big flaw is the open faced hook to hang bags...

and now, bears and other critters have learned to tight rope across the cable and/or shake the cables to bring down a food bag.....

martinb
07-13-2018, 16:43
yup........


the Park did try a step in the right direction 20 years ago when they installed bear cables...

but that system has it's flaws....

one big flaw is the open faced hook to hang bags...

and now, bears and other critters have learned to tight rope across the cable and/or shake the cables to bring down a food bag.....

I use a carabiner through the open hook. Saved my bacon one time at #41 when a bear shook the stuffing out of the cable trying to get my food bag down.

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 16:47
I use a carabiner through the open hook. Saved my bacon one time at #41 when a bear shook the stuffing out of the cable trying to get my food bag down.



likewise with the carabiner...

i found this out on the first backpacking trip i took in the Park to site #3....

saw the open hook-----shook my head in disbelief.............had a carabiner with me and clip on...

middle of the night----i heard the cables clanking.............i didnt have a bright enough flashlight to see what it was, but figured if bag was still there in the morning, i was good......and it was.....

FrogLevel
07-13-2018, 17:12
Could rangers or ridge runners or forest service rangers effectively ticket hikers and campers for not hanging or storing food properly? Maybe this is something that needs to start happening.

HooKooDooKu
07-13-2018, 17:30
simply a matter of
more bears + more people = more encounters between bears and people

Exactly what I was going to answer.
While I don't know about the SE in general, I do know that over the years the GSMNP bear population has been on the rise.
Don't quote me (and please correct me if you have more accurate numbers), but I seem to recall hearing numbers like a bear population of as few as 400 bears in GSMNP about 15-20 years ago, and a modern population of about 1,600.
While I believe the over-all visitation to GSMNP has always trended upwards, we all know from discussions here in WB that lots more people are attempting AT thru hikes compared to 10-20 years ago (and most of them start in the SE).

MuddyWaters
07-13-2018, 17:30
Could rangers or ridge runners or forest service rangers effectively ticket hikers and campers for not hanging or storing food properly? Maybe this is something that needs to start happening.

Not enough rangers.

What is possible today, absolutely, is to require all persons on a reservation to be named , (not just leader), and all older than 12, to pass a 10 minute online training course prior to even accepting a permit request. This could happen seamlessly and automatically.

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 17:34
Could rangers or ridge runners or forest service rangers effectively ticket hikers and campers for not hanging or storing food properly? Maybe this is something that needs to start happening.



rangers can.....ridgerunners cannot (they have no enforcement powers..........they can only talk to the people and/or call in to a ranger via a radio)

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 17:37
What is possible today, absolutely, is to require all persons on a reservation to be named , (not just leader), and all older than 12, to pass a 10 minute online training course prior to even accepting a permit request. This could happen seamlessly and automatically.



this still will not help....

for example---my work, about every 4 months or so, makes us watch and do a quiz on "phishing" and yet we always have people that will go to fraudulent sites and download stuff....

MuddyWaters
07-13-2018, 17:51
this still will not help....

for example---my work, about every 4 months or so, makes us watch and do a quiz on "phishing" and yet we always have people that will go to fraudulent sites and download stuff....

....but it does work better than no training at all...

Yeah, we get same training
I like the password security training especially
Its ridiculously complex,
I know IT is just doing there job
But they rejected fingerprint scanners as not being secure

How secure is the long password list i have under my mousepad?

TNhiker
07-13-2018, 18:01
..but it does work better than no training at all...



how 'bout in person training?

the Park could go back to the way they used to do it (as told to me by a ranger as i was not in this area at the time) where backpackers had to have their gear looked at and make sure it met the conditions of the trip...........along with going over logistics....

the ranger told me they used to do it at a building near the sugarlands visitors center and the nickname for that building was "the sugar shack"..

Uncle Joe
07-13-2018, 18:02
I don't understand, in the case of Thomas Knob, why a ranger didn't go up and stay at the shelter and address the bear situation. Bear shows up, rubber slug to the tush, and that bear probably wouldn't return. Fi

MuddyWaters
07-13-2018, 18:50
I don't understand, in the case of Thomas Knob, why a ranger didn't go up and stay at the shelter and address the bear situation. Bear shows up, rubber slug to the tush, and that bear probably wouldn't return. Fi

Or

He could observe rhe campers behavior
Do something bad, rubber slug to the tush
Camper probably wont return

peakbagger
07-13-2018, 19:07
I have heard speculation that the poachers going for bear gall bladders kept a limit on them. There was a crackdown on poaching and the folks switched over to other means of illegal income like growing pot.

DownYonder
07-13-2018, 19:47
I have heard speculation that the poachers going for bear gall bladders kept a limit on them. There was a crackdown on poaching and the folks switched over to other means of illegal income like growing pot.

NAH, we've been grown pot and cook'n meth in the Smoky Mtns for several generations, so that ain't it.

trailmercury
07-13-2018, 19:53
I have heard speculation that the poachers going for bear gall bladders kept a limit on them. There was a crackdown on poaching and the folks switched over to other means of illegal income like growing pot.

?

not following this

bayview
07-14-2018, 12:29
We really need to look back almost 50 or more years with the loss of a major predator that was nearly hunted to extinction and that is the wolf. I have seen several articles and books commenting of the long term effects that are now being felt. Chris Camuto wrote about the reintroduction into the parks but issues have not allowed to take hold. Yellowstone NP has had great positive results.

Outside magazine had an article several years ago saying that it has also lead to the spreading of Lyme disease because of the rise of the coyotes which was kept in check by the wolf. Food chain works when left alone.

trailmercury
07-14-2018, 12:35
Just curious, when was the last time the SE Appalachians had a strong wolf population?

MuddyWaters
07-14-2018, 12:42
We really need to look back almost 50 or more years with the loss of a major predator that was nearly hunted to extinction and that is the wolf. I have seen several articles and books commenting of the long term effects that are now being felt. Chris Camuto wrote about the reintroduction into the parks but issues have not allowed to take hold. Yellowstone NP has had great positive results.

Outside magazine had an article several years ago saying that it has also lead to the spreading of Lyme disease because of the rise of the coyotes which was kept in check by the wolf. Food chain works when left alone.
Eastern cougar

martinb
07-14-2018, 16:57
We really need to look back almost 50 or more years with the loss of a major predator that was nearly hunted to extinction and that is the wolf. I have seen several articles and books commenting of the long term effects that are now being felt. Chris Camuto wrote about the reintroduction into the parks but issues have not allowed to take hold. Yellowstone NP has had great positive results.

Outside magazine had an article several years ago saying that it has also lead to the spreading of Lyme disease because of the rise of the coyotes which was kept in check by the wolf. Food chain works when left alone.

Not sure about the wolf thing. Red wolves are quite a bit smaller than their gray wolf cousins. It is true that that apex predator, humans, are hunting less (witness the exploding deer population and problems associated) and bear conservation efforts have been successful due to hunting restrictions. All of this leads to larger population of not only bears but other animals once used as food sources by humans.

Another contributor is warming climate. Winters are not as long or harsh as they have been in past decades. Black bears are spending less time in torpor, more humans are hiking in the backcountry (especially when it's cooler), and not enough care is being given to the food these hikers are carrying. All this leads to more bear/human interactions.

Burrhead
07-14-2018, 17:11
I live relatively close to the GSMNP and go there pretty often. Some years I hear more anecdotes than others but every year they wind up closing about 30-40% of the sites for aggressive bear behavior. Last weekend I happened to camp with a Backcountry Ranger (law enforcement type with sidearm not ATC) and he related the final straw incident at Derrick Knob Shelter a few weeks ago which precipitated the closure: a small black bear ran through a guys tent with the guy in it and got all tangled up.

I've had a few incidents myself over the last few years: had a pack stolen, a tent shredded, and one time a bear attempted to join my wife and I in camp. He didn't seem to want anything but just sat down about 20 feet from us and stared. We packed up and left.

Patman, had you ever cooked, ate or kept food in that tent that got shredded? I haven't had any trouble with the bears in the Smokies and wondering if it's things that I do or just dumb luck. My girlfriend and I had 2 bears have a territory fight while we were in the tent at campsite 77 last month. The loser was all ready running by the time I got out of the tent but the winner just walked off when I yelled at him. Still nothing was messed with over the rest of the night. Skunks on the other hand are my arch enemies. Had one spray me while I was running through the woods with toilet paper in on hand and trowel in the other. Another one stole my ramens when I walked ten feet away to get my water.

Uncle Joe
07-14-2018, 19:59
OrHe could observe rhe campers behavior
Do something bad, rubber slug to the tush
Camper probably wont return

Absolutely! But that's not going to make that bear un-learn his/her behavior. No doubt it's a human problem and that part needs to be addressed but IMO it was foolish to leave the bear in that situation.

TexasBob
07-15-2018, 15:57
Just curious, when was the last time the SE Appalachians had a strong wolf population?

Apparently red wolves were around up until they were exterminated there by the late 1800's, early 1900's. The few remaining red wolves were captured in Texas and Louisiana in the 1970's and captive bred until a population was released in North Carolina. Here is a map of their historic range.

43156

Emerson Bigills
07-15-2018, 21:02
I too think that bear cannisters will be a requirement within 5 years on many of the popular trails in the SE. Not crazy about adding another item to carry, but if it is good for the bears and helps overcome some laziness and ignorance on the part of hikers, it is the right thing to do.

Tundracamper
07-15-2018, 21:20
Yeah, letís get more government involvement and paperwork requirements to completely ruin the entire hiking experience.

FreeGoldRush
07-16-2018, 10:35
the Park could go back to the way they used to do it (as told to me by a ranger as i was not in this area at the time) where backpackers had to have their gear looked at and make sure it met the conditions of the trip...........along with going over logistics.
Being smart about bears doesn't require a gear and logistics interrogation by a government "expert".

Issuing hunting permits in a quantity that is designed to maintain the bear population at an historic norm would work wonders. Bears would fear humans again in the GSMNP.

There is an estimated two bears per square mile in the GSMNP. That is the largest ever recorded. The bear population there has been artificially managed into something that has never before existed. Their predators were removed. Hunting the bears would return the bear population to an historic average while also teaching them to avoid people.

This will eventually be the solution as unlikely as it may seem today.

4shot
07-16-2018, 11:24
Being smart about bears doesn't require a gear and logistics interrogation by a government "expert".

Issuing hunting permits in a quantity that is designed to maintain the bear population at an historic norm would work wonders. Bears would fear humans again in the GSMNP.

There is an estimated two bears per square mile in the GSMNP. That is the largest ever recorded. The bear population there has been artificially managed into something that has never before existed. Their predators were removed. Hunting the bears would return the bear population to an historic average while also teaching them to avoid people.

This will eventually be the solution as unlikely as it may seem today.
Unfortunately your idea has way too much common sense in it for it to ever be adopted as public policy. (This is a bit TIC as I think NJ finally had to move in this direction awhile back iirc.)

PatmanTN
07-16-2018, 12:30
Patman, had you ever cooked, ate or kept food in that tent that got shredded? I haven't had any trouble with the bears in the Smokies and wondering if it's things that I do or just dumb luck. My girlfriend and I had 2 bears have a territory fight while we were in the tent at campsite 77 last month. The loser was all ready running by the time I got out of the tent but the winner just walked off when I yelled at him. Still nothing was messed with over the rest of the night. Skunks on the other hand are my arch enemies. Had one spray me while I was running through the woods with toilet paper in on hand and trowel in the other. Another one stole my ramens when I walked ten feet away to get my water.
At the time that happened there was nothing in the tent but a sleeping pad and a pair of dirty socks under the vestibule. I can't say I've never cooked in that vestibule ( I admit that I do that in other places and especially in winter 'cause I like breakfast in bed) as the tent was used for several years in all kinds of locales. But it was the overflow camps (more than a full shelter that night) just south of Cosby Knob which gets problem bears every year. I happened to speak with a park biologist after the event (he called me back to ask questions after I reported the event to the Backcountry office) and he said they identified the bear from others photos from the same night as one that was running a circuit from Walnut Bottoms to Cosby, to TriCorner and back at least once a day. So this was a highly habituated bear and probably had learned to "open" any tent he came across. That same bear entered the shelter the next morning (full of people) and was sniffing the hanging packs. Several awoke and started shouting at it and it causally backed out and strolled down to the cables and stood on it's hind legs shook each cable one by one trying to knock the bags loose.

I figure my chances of incident are probably higher just because I'm there so much. I'm usually in the park 25 weekends a year or so. But really , considering that I've spent a couple hundred nights there over the last decade and only had a handful of issues, they are statistically insignificant.

Burrhead
07-16-2018, 20:24
One of the experienced professional bears. I'm going to have to deal with one of those at some point. Girlfriend is still sort of new to hiking and has fell in love with the Smokies. I don't think there is much that can be done in the national parks. Outside the parks, maybe just spreading out more and staying away from the shelters would help but when the bubble comes through you are still going to have too many people around.

ol' Sassy
08-27-2018, 13:33
Being smart about bears doesn't require a gear and logistics interrogation by a government "expert".

Issuing hunting permits in a quantity that is designed to maintain the bear population at an historic norm would work wonders. Bears would fear humans again in the GSMNP.

There is an estimated two bears per square mile in the GSMNP. That is the largest ever recorded. The bear population there has been artificially managed into something that has never before existed. Their predators were removed. Hunting the bears would return the bear population to an historic average while also teaching them to avoid people.

This will eventually be the solution as unlikely as it may seem today.

100% Agreed... its the most logical natural remedy.

MtDoraDave
08-27-2018, 13:53
...and the way to cull this population is to hunt them...

or find some other way to instill fear into bears...

As others have stated, hunting will likely happen. Lottery for permits, like FL did, blah blah blah.
Until then, and people don't seem to take me seriously when I suggest this, use firecrackers.
Anecdote time:
A friend had trouble with a bear getting into his trash repeatedly.
Eventually, he caught the bear in the act and tossed a pack of firecrackers out the door toward it.
He didn't have trashcan trouble from bears for a long time.
.
So I believe that if bears learned to associate us humans with painfully loud noises, they would stay away from us.

perdidochas
08-27-2018, 14:40
More Hikers with less skill in food storage. Obsession with weight leading to more hikers, even experienced ones, trying to burn trash. This leaves more food smells around shelters. The main thing in my opinion... less hunters. Most of the bear hunters I know only want to take a large bear, females with cubs are off limits. So for years you had cubs and younger bears getting chased by a pack of dogs and run up trees, then humans would show up and take the dogs away. They learned from an early age that dogs and people are very bad things and the scent of either should be avoided at all cost. Looking forward to hearing other opinions on this.

I would say the above is spot on, except are more hikers burning trash than did 10 or 20 years ago?

perdidochas
08-27-2018, 15:38
?

not following this

Bear poachers going for gall bladders (Chinese market) have been cracked down on. Before that, they were hunting bears illegally, thus making the bears afraid of people.

Alligator
08-27-2018, 16:38
As others have stated, hunting will likely happen. Lottery for permits, like FL did, blah blah blah.
Until then, and people don't seem to take me seriously when I suggest this, use firecrackers.
Anecdote time:
A friend had trouble with a bear getting into his trash repeatedly.
Eventually, he caught the bear in the act and tossed a pack of firecrackers out the door toward it.
He didn't have trashcan trouble from bears for a long time.
.
So I believe that if bears learned to associate us humans with painfully loud noises, they would stay away from us.
Fireworks are a terrible idea from a wildfire perspective.

ADK Walker
08-27-2018, 16:41
It's not just the SE. It seems the Adirondacks have had a big increase in bear/human interactions this summer. The bears have become pretty bold. Swimming out to islands to raid canoe campers, waiting for campers to open there bear cans in the evening and then displaying intimidating behavior, taking rock climbers' backpacks as they are up on the cliffs as well as mid-day trail confrontations for hikers. The dry summer is what seems to be to blame as I guess the bears natural food sources are scarce.

Although bear canisters are currently required for a small portion of the Adirondacks I can very easily see it being required throughout the park in the future.

trailmercury
08-27-2018, 17:01
Bear poachers going for gall bladders (Chinese market) have been cracked down on. Before that, they were hunting bears illegally, thus making the bears afraid of people.

They shouldn't ever allow illegal hunting!

I am in favor of places with bears problems allowing more legal hunting

MtDoraDave
08-28-2018, 07:34
Fireworks are a terrible idea from a wildfire perspective.

Hmm, yes. That hadn't occurred to me.
Also messy. :/

August W.
10-06-2018, 20:35
There aren't too many bears, (mountain lions, pikas, eagles, wolves - place another name assigned to any other creature here) rather too many irresponsible humans teaching bears to associate humans with food rewards. The idea that hunting bears would instill a fear of humans in them is a simple fantasy perpetuated by those with trophy hunting mentalities and/or financial motivation. Who can tell us if licensed hunters kill more bears per year than auto drivers, ranchers, or dogs? Each of them look the same to the bears so in their perspective they are being hunted from all directions year 'round. Still ain't too skeerd huh? Not to mention that nowhere has their home been more extensively jeopardized and covered with asphalt, concrete, stucco, monoculture and other various forms of destruction than the east coast. Bears, like most other living things, are simply reacting to your actions and those of your fellow humans. Bear canisters should be required on most public lands but sadly still represent nothing more than placing a bandaid on a major hemorrhage.

SWODaddy
10-06-2018, 20:56
There aren't too many bears, (mountain lions, pikas, eagles, wolves - place another name assigned to any other creature here) rather too many irresponsible humans teaching bears to associate humans with food rewards. The idea that hunting bears would instill a fear of humans in them is a simple fantasy perpetuated by those with trophy hunting mentalities and/or financial motivation. Who can tell us if licensed hunters kill more bears per year than auto drivers, ranchers, or dogs? Each of them look the same to the bears so in their perspective they are being hunted from all directions year 'round. Still ain't too skeerd huh? Not to mention that nowhere has their home been more extensively jeopardized and covered with asphalt, concrete, stucco, monoculture and other various forms of destruction than the east coast. Bears, like most other living things, are simply reacting to your actions and those of your fellow humans. Bear canisters should be required on most public lands but sadly still represent nothing more than placing a bandaid on a major hemorrhage.

In places where bears are protected, bears see humans as food opportunities. Places like GSMNP exascerbate this by concentrating humans.

Unless you backcountry camp in your Subaru, your auto analogy is also silly (humans look like dogs?).

saltysack
10-06-2018, 21:53
There aren't too many bears, (mountain lions, pikas, eagles, wolves - place another name assigned to any other creature here) rather too many irresponsible humans teaching bears to associate humans with food rewards. The idea that hunting bears would instill a fear of humans in them is a simple fantasy perpetuated by those with trophy hunting mentalities and/or financial motivation. Who can tell us if licensed hunters kill more bears per year than auto drivers, ranchers, or dogs? Each of them look the same to the bears so in their perspective they are being hunted from all directions year 'round. Still ain't too skeerd huh? Not to mention that nowhere has their home been more extensively jeopardized and covered with asphalt, concrete, stucco, monoculture and other various forms of destruction than the east coast. Bears, like most other living things, are simply reacting to your actions and those of your fellow humans. Bear canisters should be required on most public lands but sadly still represent nothing more than placing a bandaid on a major hemorrhage.

Iím not against hunting but your are correct...rampant human overdevelopment is driving up conflict....we live weíre the used too.


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August W.
10-07-2018, 08:56
I’m not against hunting but your are correct...rampant human overdevelopment is driving up conflict....we live we’re the used too.


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I'm not against hunting either. I have many great memories of hunting and the meals enjoyed afterwards, though these days I'm more prone to hunting with a camera or a fly rod than rifle or shotgun.

saltysack
10-07-2018, 09:49
I'm not against hunting either. I have many great memories of hunting and the meals enjoyed afterwards, though these days I'm more prone to hunting with a camera or a fly rod than rifle or shotgun.

Agree sounds just like me......last animal I took was a black bear with my bow in Canada over 15 years ago....serious remorse...no desire to hunt on land ever since, still love spearfishing. Hunting made me appreciate walking in nature....which brought me to hiking.....


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Five Tango
10-07-2018, 13:16
If it's true that the bear population is such that the density is 2 bears per square mile then I am surprised the habitat can support those numbers.At some point I would think they will have to manage the numbers whether they want to or not.No?

GaryM
10-07-2018, 14:37
For what it is worth I noticed a set of claw marks on the tree my hammock was hanging on all night at Deep Gap, NC.
Also saw a bunch of bear poop on the trail between Deep Gap and Betty Gap Creek this week.

ocourse
10-07-2018, 16:13
If you look at death and severe injury statics, you can see that bears aren't a very prominent threat. Traveling in a car to get to/from the trailhead is pretty dangerous. I've seen many black bears on the A.T. - one very close, and bluff charging me. Instead of worrying about bears, think about the poisoned water sources, or ticks, or mosquitoes. Or think about the (miniscule) number of weirdos who want to do you harm.

rmitchell
10-07-2018, 17:22
Probably the biggest danger from a bear is hitting one with your car getting to trail head.

There is much more large game in southeast in last decade. Used to we would drive to Cades Cove to see deer or sold turkeys. No we often see both without leaving our neighborhood.

Bear sightings have increased also, not sure if there is a connection. Once rare to hear of bear outside national forests but very common now. My father saw one in his yard this summer, north of Knoxville. Brother in law saw sow with cub in middle Tennessee a few weeks ago.

bbikebbs
10-07-2018, 22:37
We've got a problem bear in my neighborhood. Many garbage cans have been ransacked at night. All the local government organizations will do is issue you a set of "chains" to lock the cover of the city (Front Royal, VA) issued garbage bin. And I saw one just sauntering across the entrance road to the north end of Shenandoah National Park on Thursday morning. They are definitely out in northern Virginia.

glenlawson
10-08-2018, 00:08
In Georgia, two wildlife management areas that flank the Blood Mountain cannister only/no campfire section recently held a 2 week bear/hog gun season. This was on the Chestatee WMA and the Chattahoochee WMA. These two weeks are in addition to hunts that will be in the regular gun season.

Vogel State Park, on the other side of Blood mountain, is carefully tracking their bears. They have a lot of bear activity and try to get campers to lock up their food. They have 5 known bears within the park which is surrounded by national forest. When they catch the bears "in the act", they will shoot them with paint ball guns to try to get them to be wary of humans. If their bears get too comfortable with people, they have to put them down.

Five Tango
10-08-2018, 09:04
Three of us were at Vogel about 2 weeks ago.I got the warning about bear activity upon check-in.We spent the first night around Calf Stomp Gap somewhere with no problems.The next day we passed a campground with bear boxes.I noticed that the latches on the bear box were essentially the same as those on my truck's tool box and did not impress me like the one I saw at Black Gap shelter on the AT Approach trail.There is apparently no standard when it comes to bear boxes as far as I can tell.

HooKooDooKu
10-08-2018, 12:13
In places where bears are protected, bears see humans as food opportunitieus. Places like GSMNP exascerbate this by concentrating humans.
But as pointed out, the problem is irresponsible humans
that simply won't follow rules and regulations that cause bears to associate people with food in GSMNP. The rules are pretty simple. Always have your food on you or hanging from the bear cables in camp. If EVERYONE did this, bears would never get human food and would not LEARN to associate people with food.

JG13
10-08-2018, 12:26
Did a section from Max Patch to Standing Bear Farm hostel the last weekend in September...saw a huge bear about 1.5 miles north of the hostel that lumbered onto the trail. Passed several other hikers heading north that had seen bears in that stretch as well. There was a mom and 2 cubs about 200 yds from the hostel as well just up from the gravel road that leads to I-40. Maria and Linda at Standing Bear said they've seen many lately.

stephanD
10-10-2018, 14:20
I would be more scared of feral hogs in the Smokies. some of them are huge.

TNhiker
10-10-2018, 14:26
I would be more scared of feral hogs in the Smokies. some of them are huge.



they are huge, and they should be respected-------and luckily, i have not heard of a pig attack in the park.......

DownYonder
10-10-2018, 17:47
But as pointed out, the problem is irresponsible humans
that simply won't follow rules and regulations that cause bears to associate people with food in GSMNP. The rules are pretty simple. Always have your food on you or hanging from the bear cables in camp. If EVERYONE did this, bears would never get human food and would not LEARN to associate people with food.

Spent the night at No Business Mtn Shelter last night. A journal entry from 2 days prior said "had a visit from a bear during breakfast. Gave him a pop-tart and said I respect you man". Some hikers are total morons!!

The bear came back this morning, stole one hang and then got sprayed.

GaryM
10-11-2018, 20:15
Yes, people feeding the bears or whatever are the root of the problem but that is a moot point when facing down a pissed off bear.
Protect yourself the best way you can. IMHO that means avoiding direct contact.

August W.
10-13-2018, 09:20
Spent the night at No Business Mtn Shelter last night. A journal entry from 2 days prior said "had a visit from a bear during breakfast. Gave him a pop-tart and said I respect you man". Some hikers are total morons!!

The bear came back this morning, stole one hang and then got sprayed.

Stories like this make me think that a strict permit system complete with backcountry competency test (and the currently unaffordable adequate backcountry enforcement) should be required to help keep some folks away from our wilder areas and back in their neighborhood parks where they would clearly present less risk to themselves and the rest of us. Fast forward a few months, and a few more easily attained food rewards, and we'll likely see another human injured and a bear or 3 killed.

rboles
11-13-2018, 13:42
For what it is worth I noticed a set of claw marks on the tree my hammock was hanging on all night at Deep Gap, NC.
Also saw a bunch of bear poop on the trail between Deep Gap and Betty Gap Creek this week.

Gary - were you able to hang your food or did you need a bear canister? Getting ready to hit that section this weekend and trying to prepare appropriately.

Dogwood
11-13-2018, 17:51
But as pointed out, the problem is irresponsible humans
that simply won't follow rules and regulations that cause bears to associate people with food in GSMNP. The rules are pretty simple. Always have your food on you or hanging from the bear cables in camp. If EVERYONE did this, bears would never get human food and would not LEARN to associate people with food.


There aren't too many bears, (mountain lions, pikas, eagles, wolves - place another name assigned to any other creature here) rather too many irresponsible humans teaching bears to associate humans with food rewards. The idea that hunting bears would instill a fear of humans in them is a simple fantasy perpetuated by those with trophy hunting mentalities and/or financial motivation. Who can tell us if licensed hunters kill more bears per year than auto drivers, ranchers, or dogs? Each of them look the same to the bears so in their perspective they are being hunted from all directions year 'round. Still ain't too skeerd huh? Not to mention that nowhere has their home been more extensively jeopardized and covered with asphalt, concrete, stucco, monoculture and other various forms of destruction than the east coast. Bears, like most other living things, are simply reacting to your actions and those of your fellow humans. Bear canisters should be required on most public lands but sadly still represent nothing more than placing a bandaid on a major hemorrhage.


Agree! HKDK said it in a nutshell. At the core of GSMNP negative bear/human encounters is ignorant human animal behavior. "Bear management is largely human management."


https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/dff309-focusnps1.htm


GSMNP has taken great steps forward in a comprehensive black bear management. Despite the opining here from the "bear experts" we might heed those with a far greater cumulative bear and human understanding.

Dogwood
11-13-2018, 17:55
I don't see GSMNP(NPS) allowing the symbol of the Great Smokey Mountains - the black bear - to be hunted within the NP. It's GSMNP.

TNhiker
11-13-2018, 18:00
I don't see GSMNP(NPS) allowing the symbol of the Great Smokey Mountains - the black bear - to be hunted within the NP. It's GSMNP.




yeah.....

and it would cause a huge back roar/back lash/ bad PR/ whatever one wants to call it...

however, i think, within a few decades----they are going to have to find a way to keep the population in check....

Dogwood
11-13-2018, 18:19
If there weren't stationed NP Rangers, signage, and flagging, around the fields where the elk congregate at Oconaluftee Visitor Center and printed laws and regulations about approaching wildlife printed on GSMNP literature including back country permits and at the GSMNP website there would be visitors walking into the fields to get close up ignorant selfish Selfies with the elk.

Then, visitors would be getting hurt. Oh, OK lets do a hunt? Too many elk? :confused:

Not too bright of a species the human animal that is in the constant behavior of looking at something outside of themselves as the core of problems.