Bear safety is very important while visiting Gatlinburg TN and the Smoky Mountains, though most people do not realize this. Having a close encounter with bears in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN is not out of ordinary. Although it is rare, bear attacks on humans have happened. When you see a bear in the wild, take extra precautions. You should follow these simple guidelines.
If you happen to see a bear at a distance, do not approach it. If you are too close to the bear, it’s behavior will change. If the bear stops feeding, changes it’s path, or watches you, that is your signal to back away. Bears need their space.
Sometimes, bears will get aggressive when you are too close to them. These aggressive behaviors may include swatting the ground, running towards you, or making loud noises. If this happens, you should back away slowly, watching the bear. Do not run! When you increase the distance between you, the bear will probably do the same. This lets the bear know you will not harm him.
If the bear follows you or approaches you without paw swatting or vocalizing, try to change your direction. If this does not work and the bear is persistently following you, stand your ground. If the bear is continuously getting closer, try to talk loudly or shout at the bear aggressively. Do not act scared of it. This intimidates the bear.
If you are in a group, try to make yourselves look as large as possible. Move to higher ground, for example. You should throw rocks or sticks at the bear to try to intimidate it more. Do not throw food at the bear. This may encourage more problems. But remember, do not run away from the bear.
Never leave food for a bear. This will cause problems. Most injuries to humans are minor, and are caused by the bear simply wanting food. If a bear shows interest in your food, separate yourselves from the food and the bear.
To avoid bears while camping, you must not attract them. Keep sleeping and eating areas separate. If your tents or sleeping bags have food odors, this could attract a bear. Do not store food, soap, toothpaste, etc. in your tent. Also, keep your camp clean. Do not litter or leave garbage around. This also applies to cabins.
If you happen to be attacked by a bear, fight back very aggressively. Fight with anything you have, remember, you could be it’s prey! You must also help others. If you are attacked, report it to authorities immediately.
Remember, bear safety is very important. These tips help, but the best way to avoid an attack is to keep your distance!