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Thread: Bears

  1. #1
    Registered User skinnbones's Avatar
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    Default Bears

    Just curious if any 2017 thru or section hikers had sightings or bear encounters?

  2. #2

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    I walked 557 miles last year on the AT - no bears This even included the "Saturated with bears NY & NJ" which I saw no bears in.
    Last bear I saw was actually twin bears just south of US42 Sinking Creek in Virginia 7/4/2016
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
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  3. #3
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    It's pretty much random luck if you should have a bear sighting.

    I usually take about a dozen hiking trip a year in the Great Smoky Mountains, likely averaging about 300 trail miles per year.
    Some years, I never see any bear.
    One year, I saw at least one bear on every trip I took.

    But over all, I would call it a rarity. I would guess that overall, I've seen bear on perhaps 15% of my trips to GSMNP. And most of those have been a brief glance as the bear runs away.

  4. #4
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    Given your forum name I seriously doubt you have anything to be concerned with......they like lil more meat on the bones.....


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  5. #5

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    Well I REALLY cant count it but if I had to claim I saw a bear on the trail....I did see 2 last year in the Bear Mountain Zoo...Poor bears.
    AT Shuttle List
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  6. #6
    Registered User skinnbones's Avatar
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    Lol, ya I would be a waste of time to a bear.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnbones View Post
    Just curious if any 2017 thru or section hikers had sightings or bear encounters?
    I've seen many bears through the years, all of them while on a paved road, none when I was hiking.

    In 2016 my wife and I hiked up the Wolf Ridge trail in GSMNP, over Gregory Bald, and down the Long Hungry Ridge trail. Several backcountry campsites were closed due to bear activity. We saw lots of bear scat on the trails. Never saw or heard a bear. (A rattlesnake introduced himself to my wife, though.)

    In most cases the bear will hear and/or smell you and run long before you get the chance to see it.

  8. #8

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    2016 hike through Shenandoah NP we saw 9 Bears, lots of deer, 1 rattling rattlesnake with a big chipmunk bump in its belly, and one guy saw a bobcat (very rare to see). It was a great hike!


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    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Cool Since you asked

    I saw one bear while on The Trail last year. And, as with all seven times I've seen bears on the AT, it ran away before I could get my camera out of its case.

    This does NOT count the two dozen or so times I've seen bears while driving through national or state parks.

    In Shenandoah, I'm surprised when I DON'T see a bear.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnacraft View Post
    I've seen many bears through the years, all of them while on a paved road, none when I was hiking.

    In 2016 my wife and I hiked up the Wolf Ridge trail in GSMNP, over Gregory Bald, and down the Long Hungry Ridge trail. Several backcountry campsites were closed due to bear activity. We saw lots of bear scat on the trails. Never saw or heard a bear. (A rattlesnake introduced himself to my wife, though.)

    In most cases the bear will hear and/or smell you and run long before you get the chance to see it.
    I have seen a lot more from the car.

    While hiking the scat is the biggest threat.

  11. #11
    Leonidas
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    We saw 4-5 I believe in GSMNP last year between a section hike from Fontana to Hot Springs and 1 in Cades Cove with the kids in the fall.
    AT: 471 mi

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    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  12. #12

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    I hiked about half the trails in the north Cherokee National Forest, including the sections of the AT, and I saw a bear almost every single day.

    I'd never seen as many bears as I did last year.

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    I saw 3 in Shenandoah last august.
    It was cool because it's the only live bears in the wild my wife will probably ever see.

    I was in a car.

    I didn't see any when hiking through there. Which was kind of strange because they are very common to see. A woman working at a Wayside told me that she saw one almost every day when driving to and from work. She even mentioned certain areas we were most likely to see one at. Ask if we didn't see one on a certain tree right down the road from the Wayside that she saw one in that morning.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-06-2018 at 17:43.

  14. #14
    Registered User PcolaDawg's Avatar
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    Saw a bear just past Fontana Dam last October as I started a 3 day section hike from the dam to Newfound Gap. We saw a little one up on our left minding its own business while we were still on the paved road before the trail left the road and headed up Shuckstack. I would have walked right past it, but my son noticed it and brought it to my attention. It didn't look like it noticed us at all. About an hour later we turned a corner on the trail and there was a large deer in the middle of the trail, just 20 feet away, placidly staring at us. It looked at us a while and then slowly meandered off. Very nice start to the hike and the last wildlife (except birds) we saw for the rest of the hike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PcolaDawg View Post
    Saw a bear just past Fontana Dam last October as I started a 3 day section hike from the dam to Newfound Gap. We saw a little one up on our left minding its own business while we were still on the paved road before the trail left the road and headed up Shuckstack. I would have walked right past it, but my son noticed it and brought it to my attention. It didn't look like it noticed us at all. About an hour later we turned a corner on the trail and there was a large deer in the middle of the trail, just 20 feet away, placidly staring at us. It looked at us a while and then slowly meandered off. Very nice start to the hike and the last wildlife (except birds) we saw for the rest of the hike.
    My son and I watched one in same area for an hr one day from the dam visitor center , up on the hill side above the dam

  16. #16
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I wonder if the number of sightings would have been higher if all the hikers weren't wearing earbuds and listening to music.
    Blackheart

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeBill View Post
    I wonder if the number of sightings would have been higher if all the hikers weren't wearing earbuds and listening to music.
    Those who see lots of bears (and other wild life) hike very early in the morning or very late in the evening. That is when the critters are moving around. During the day your not nearly as likely to see one with the possible exception of the parks, GSMNP and SNP, where the density is high.

    I've only seen a hand full of bears in all the time I've spent on the AT, I'm not usually on the trail before dawn.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  18. #18
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Those who see lots of bears (and other wild life) hike very early in the morning or very late in the evening. That is when the critters are moving around. During the day your not nearly as likely to see one with the possible exception of the parks, GSMNP and SNP, where the density is high.

    I've only seen a hand full of bears in all the time I've spent on the AT, I'm not usually on the trail before dawn.
    My point might not have been clear enough. If you're walking down the trail at any time of the day and or night and you hear something stirring in the woods, you are likely to see it; where as if you have music blaring in your ears you're not going to hear anything stirring in the woods.
    Blackheart

  19. #19
    Registered User hikernutcasey's Avatar
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    Went on two trips last year, a week through northern PA and through NJ and a week from Killington VT to Franconia Notch. Ironically we saw none in Jersey where the bear population is really high but saw 3 in Vermont and New Hampshire.

    My total on the trail is now 6 different encounters totalling 9 bears. I've completed about 2/3 of the trail however I'm doing the Smokies next month so maybe I'll get to see some more🙂

  20. #20

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    I saw three on the AT (PA, NY and ME). I was promised we would see several in SNP, but we came up empty. All three I saw took off the other direction, so no issues at all. We did not have any bear/food problems at shelters or campsites either. There was a bear issue at one of the NY shelters that sounded like it had gotten to the point that the bear was about to be removed. We did not stay any where near that shelter, so it too, did not impact us.

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