Bears Are More Prevalent Than We Realize

Picture going on vacation with your family, expecting some solitude and relaxation. You head up to the northern woods or to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee to enjoy the incredible scenery. Imagine your surprise if you were like Chad Morris, just an average guy who walked outside to find a whole family of bears in his car! While it seems like a tall tale in a supermarket magazine, this is actually happening more frequently these days and closer to home. (1) Black Bear sightings are happening in neighborhood communities where you might not be expecting them.


Black Bear Spotted Taking a Morning Stroll

A black bear is not an animal you want to come across on your early morning walk with the dog. On May 22, 2019, at about 3 am a black bear was captured strolling through a Johnson Creek, Wisconsin neighborhood. The black bear population in Wisconsin is about 24,000 and growing. The bears come out searching for food and places to live. For those residents who leave their pets out at night, it can pose a problem because the population is moving closer to residential neighborhoods. Imagine what you would do if you saw a bear on your security camera? (2)

Approached by a Bear on the Slopes

Whether you are downhill skiing or snowboarding enthusiast, being out on the slopes presents the possibility of being approached by bears. Recently a bear cub approached a snowboarder on the slopes in Truckee, California. The bear cub came scurrying up to the snowboarder and sniffed him. Fortunately for the snowboarder, the momma bear was not nearby allowing the snowboarder to escape safely. The bear cub apparently bit the snowboarder’s glove before departing. The snowboarder, fortunately, wasn’t harmed at all in the encounter. (3)
Bears in a Hot Tub

You plan the perfect getaway in a secluded cabin for you and your man only to be joined by uninvited guests. This was the case for Hannah Elizabeth Strickland and her boyfriend when they rented a cabin in Tennessee. They had been enjoying the hot tub which came with the cabin and left it uncovered. Much to their surprise, three bear cubs showed up on the porch of the cabin. One of the bear cubs decided to dip into the hot tub and actually seemed to enjoy itself. After the cubs left, Hannah and her boyfriend re-covered the tub. Not much later, the cubs returned looking for another chance to soak in the tub. Apparently, bear cubs know the benefits of a hot tub soak too! (4)

What If I Encounter a Bear?

If you see a black bear, don’t fear the worst. A bear cub may simply be passing through in search of a home of his own. An adult may be checking out a smell or a sound. Most of the time they will run the other way. If you do encounter a bear, remain calm and remember that the bear is likely more scared of you than you are of him.

Should you actually encounter a black bear, stand and face the bear directly. Never run away from or approach him. Make yourself look as big as possible by spreading your arms or, better yet, a coat. Make as much noise as possible by yelling, banging pots and pans or using other noise making devices. Realize that this is really rare, as most black bears will run from you in fear. (5)