Monday, November 07, 2011

Bear in the Woods

I don't remember if I posted this video so at the risk of repeating myself, I'll post it again.  Bill and took a trip down South this past spring.  One of our stops was at Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.  Cades Cove was originally purchased by one of my ancestors, William "Fighting Billy" Tipton back in the early 1800's.  "Fighting Billy" was a contemporary of President Andrew Jackson (yes, I am bragging.)  Although my ancestor never lived in Cades Cove, he did sell off a lot of the land to his relatives.  The existence of many Tipton graves in Cades Cove is what started me on my genealogy research of my Tipton roots.

Cades Cove was inhabited by many Tipton families as well as other families until the Federal government brought them all out (for pennies on the dollar I might add, Tiptons seem to always be on the short end of any monetary deal, must be in the genes) and established the Cades Cove National Park.

Cades Cove possesses a glorious natural beauty that is rare in this county in these days.  Visitors to the park travel a loop through the park.  If they are lucky they will see some of the present inhabitants of the park like we did on this spring day.

What we saw was a black bear snacking on some wild berries by a clear, cold, stream on this brisk spring day.  Take notice how many cars stop to observe the black bear in it's natural habitat.  Also note towards the end of the film when the bear seems to be approaching we tourists and how we head towards our cars!

We're going down again this spring.  It's an annual event for us now.  Enjoy!


nitewrit said...


Ran into animals as small as chipmunks and large as deer; crossed paths with a fox, groundhog, horns and the everywhere squirrels. Haven't encountered any bears and don't want to.

That guy in front of you who kept trying to get closer to the beast and crouching down. He probably didn't know a black bear can run at 35 miles an hour. ;)


slugmama said...

We lived for 14 yrs in a private community surrounded by a state of the ones back when Dr. Gary Alt was there, doing his research and tracking black bears in PA.
I remember when he was doing this bear research with his own money, before the state put him on the payroll....he drove around in a little old beater car with a wire hanger antenna out the window trying to pick up the signal from the homemade radio collars he had put on the bears.

We learned to live among the bears and any time we were outside or in the car, it affected our lives. Bear sightings were common occurrences, not only in the area and along the roads, but in our yard. We had a wild raspberry patch in front of our house that drew the bears each Summer at dusk or in the early morning. The garbage cans by our driveway were a regular feasting place at all times of the year....and a regular PITA to clean up after they raided
We had bears traipsing through our land all Fall as they were smart enough to learn that our community was sanctuary for them when the hunters were out in the state forest that surrounded our community,trying to shoot smart animals. And we even had a bear or two den up under a house, deck or a rock formation on our road.
A few really clever bear learned how to get into houses looking for food. We had mostly summer/vacation homes in our community during this time so mostly homeowners came back to find the bear's mess. Thankfully most bears never surprised a person in the home at the time and only a couple of people were ever hurt(hurt not by the bear but from injuries sustained panicking and trying to get away from the bears).

While most black bears east of the Mississippi have had their aggressiveness bred out of them(due to the killing over the centuries of the "mean" bears, so the gene pool ended up giving us the "gentle" bears today), you should never approach a black bear. And that's more for their safety and welfare than yours. Bears who interact with humans loose their fear of humans. It just takes one bad incident where a bear hurts someone to send society into a frenzy of hunting them down and destroying them.

The bear you saw was most likely a juvenile male over 2 years old. A breeding female at that time of year would have had cubs or yearlings with her....and if she had, it's a good thing you folks didn't get between her and her cubs!lol

Having been in close quarters with bears during my Poconos days, I developed a healthy respect for these creatures and would never recommend approaching a bear like that on foot. Ok, I DID chase a bear down our street once to get a picture when we had first moved into that house but knowing and having seen what I've seen now, I would NEVER do that again. Had that bear been injured or had I been between it and it's young, I might have gotten a paw swat that sent me 20 feet in the air!lol

Ron said...


Thank you for your very interesting comments on your experiences with black bears. I had never see one in the wild before this day that I took this video with my Flip camera. We were all careful not to get too close or to disturb the bear who was feasting on some type of berries. If you ever have a chance to visit Cades Cove, please do. You will not be disappointed.

Ur-spo said...

don't mess with bears.