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  1. #1
    I hike, therefore I stink.
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    Default GSMNP Officials Expect Higher Bear Activity

    From the Citizens Times:
    Sep 7, 2006:

    GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK - Managers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are bracing for a higher-than-normal level of bear activity this fall and are warning park visitors and neighbors to be especially careful about how they protect their food and garbage from attracting bears.
    Park Wildlife Biologist Kim DeLozier expects bears to be especially active and persistent in seeking food this fall because of a combination of limited natural food sources and higher bear numbers than in previous years.
    According to DeLozier, “There are several general indications that our bears are currently very hungry and unable to locate much natural food: First it appears that many bears are already in poor body condition, especially those females with cubs. Secondly, the preliminary results of our annual survey of acorns and other 'hard mast' indicate that this year does not appear very positive for acorn production. Several areas surveyed showed no acorns at all and others were very sparse. Mid-summer soft mast (berries) production appeared to be off this year as well.”
    Combined with a scarcity of natural food, two park bear population survey methods indicate that bear numbers are up. “Our bear bait-station survey, conducted in July, was the highest visitation rate ever recorded for the survey and the first time visitation rates reached the 80 percentile.” DeLozier explained, “The overall percent visitation increased from 72.8 percent in 2005 to 80.1 percent in 2006. Lastly, the University of Tennessee bear researchers captured a significantly higher number of bears this summer in comparison to the past few years.”
    Park managers say that avoiding bear problems always starts with keeping food and garbage away from bears. Inside the Park visitors are provided with bear-proof dumpsters in developed areas and with bear-proof cable systems to suspend food in backcountry areas. Neighbors outside the Park are advised to keep garbage secured until trash collection day, to keep pet food indoors and to stop putting bird feed out until winter when bears go into hibernation.
    DeLozier continued, “We are advising visitors that certain bears may be extremely bold in attempting to get food and are providing advice on how to respond to bear encounters while hiking. We always tell visitors to keep their distance from bears in any situation and, that if the animal changes its behavior, e.g. stops feeding or changes directions, you are too close. Being too close may also prompt threatening behavior from the bear such as making short runs toward you, making loud noises or slapping the ground. In this instance the bear usually just wants space so back away slowly while watching the bear, but don’t turn and run as this can trigger the bear to chase you.”
    “But if a bear persists in following you closely or approaches you without vocalizing or paw swatting,” DeLozier said, “try changing direction. If it continues, stand your ground, yell loudly and act aggressively by waving your arms or throwing rocks or sticks at it. Pick up a stout stick as a deterrent. If you are with others clump together to appear more formidable. But don’t leave food as this often will make the bear more persistent and encourages it to approach other hikers hoping for handouts. If a bear indicates that it is after your food and you’re physically attacked, separate yourself from your food and back away slowly.
    "In the extremely rare case where the bear shows no interest in your food and you are attacked fight back, do not play dead.”
    In order to protect future visitors from problem bears, Park managers ask that visitors report any bear activity observed in a campground or picnic area and any aggressive bears in the backcountry to a Park Ranger. Bears observed feeding normally on natural food sources should be given a wide berth but need not be reported.
    Problem bear activity in surrounding communities is managed by state wildlife agencies that can be contacted through local municipal law enforcement authorities.
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  2. #2
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    According to my neighbor, this means bears will also be down where I live looking for food. Better get my rifle ready.
    SGT Rock
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  3. #3

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    I hope my wife doesn't read this news. She just might hide some bear attractant in my pack.

  4. #4
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    SgtRock, they're already having problems in Happy Valley, Tallassee and Allegheny Loop. Get the rifle ready.

  5. #5
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Happy Valley is just one over from my house.
    SGT Rock
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    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
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    NO SNIVELING

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs
    SgtRock, they're already having problems in Happy Valley, Tallassee and Allegheny Loop. Get the rifle ready.
    Where's Treadwell when you need him? And no Steve Irwin? Man, these bears have had it. They might as well cut and run!

  7. #7
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Before anyone gets the wrong idea - most folks just fire into the air. Bears are hunted outside the GSMNP and are an important source of meat for some of the very poor Appalachian families. They know to avoid places with frequent gunfire.

  8. #8
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    SgtRock, I'' give you and DixieCritter aheads up when I hear they've made it to Butterfly Gap.

  9. #9
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    LOL sounds good. But as I understand it they usually work their way over from Miller's Cove side.
    SGT Rock
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs
    Before anyone gets the wrong idea - most folks just fire into the air. Bears are hunted outside the GSMNP and are an important source of meat for some of the very poor Appalachian families. They know to avoid places with frequent gunfire.
    Just wire a motion sensor to a Boom Box with a CD of recorded gunfire! Of course for hiking it would have to be an ultralight boom box.
    "Space and time are not conditions in which we live; they are simply modes in which we think," Albert Einstein

  11. #11
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    I called my buddies up in West Miller Cove and see if they've had their trash invaded.... not yet.

  12. #12
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostInSpace
    Just wire a motion sensor to a Boom Box with a CD of recorded gunfire! Of course for hiking it would have to be an ultralight boom box.
    Where is the fun in that. I need to sight in my rifle on my neighbors shootin' car. Three more payments and he owns it.
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
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    NO SNIVELING

  13. #13
    Right at table height for bears in my hammock! speedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Blazer
    Where's Treadwell when you need him?
    Seriously, these bears aren't going to have anything to eat.


    Quote Originally Posted by SGT Rock
    Where is the fun in that. I need to sight in my rifle on my neighbors shootin' car. Three more payments and he owns it.
    Wow, I don't know the last time I laughed so hard. speedy
    "i came to hike, not bail" neo

  14. #14
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    I saw 3 this weekend at Russell field

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