KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It’s that time of year – more bears are being spotted on trails and even in more urban areas of the Smokies.
RELATED | TWRA: Be ‘bear aware’ at home, outdoors
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency telling WATE 6 On Your Side the bears are looking for easy meals lately – such as digging in trash cans and bird feeders – because berries aren’t in season for another few weeks.
“We just want folks to be vigilant until that time because when the berries do get ripe, the bears will normally get back into the more rural areas and leave the urban areas and we’ll have less bear complaints,” TWRA spokesman Matt Cameron said.
The TWRA has some guidelines to minimize encounters with bears:
- Never approach them
- Never feed them
- If one is close, make your presence known by yelling – it may get scared and run away
- Never run from a black bear, as it could trigger its instinct to give chase
- If a bear chases you, stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger and yell; you can also throw rocks or sticks until it leaves
- There are also steps you should take to bear-proof your home