Couple has close encounter with bear while vacationing in Wears Valley


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Sharon Baillargeon and her husband Kyle got a special surprise visit during their anniversary getaway.

The couple decided to rent a cabin in Wears Valley for the weekend to celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary. Not long after they got there, Sharon says she started to hear noises outside.

“I’m like ‘I hear something, but it’s probably not a bear but I’ll go check.’ Well I went and it was a bear looking right back at me,” she said.

It was a baby bear, just hanging around the deck, eventually coming up to sniff at the hot tub and grill. Sharon says they tried making noises and tapping on the window, but the bear didn’t seem to be afraid of them at all. The couple did not try to feed the bear.

Sharon says they even got a warning before they arrived to the cabin, but she still didn’t think she would see a bear that close.

“When we signed in, the lady at the desk told us that their bear rate is higher this year than normal and we never get to see bears,” Baillargeon said.

Sharon says the experience was a wake-up call and reminder to be a lot more cautious in bear territory.

“When we first got there, we weren’t thinking anything about bears, we were coming and going, downstairs to the truck, leaving the door open for a couple of minutes, not really thinking about it. But then after that, we thought about it,” Baillargeon said.

According to the TWRA website, Black Bears are rarely aggressive toward humans, but they are still extremely powerful animals and can have unpredictable behavior.

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