It’s not unusual to see black bears in East Tennessee in the summer, including in Oak Ridge, Anderson County, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Here is information and tips about black bears from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Summertime brings about a plethora of outdoor activities including cookouts, camping, and fun on the water. It also brings out the black bears.
Reports of bear sightings are circulating around East Tennessee, which comes at no surprise considering this is bear country. Increased activity is also expected this time of year as bears continue their quest to replenish their energy and fatten back up from a long, lean winter.
Last fall, hard mast production was sparse and in particular, the acorn crop was very spotty. Black bears depend heavily on acorns as a food source to pack on those extra pounds before entering their winter dens. Many bears went into their dens malnourished and some were so lean that they didn’t den at all. For example, Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend took in numerous cubs that were about 10 months of age that weighed a mere six and seven pounds.
Many bears emerged from their winter dens much leaner than in normal years and have been anxiously waiting the ripening of the summer berries. Fortunately, black berries, raspberries, dewberries, and mulberries are coming into season, and bears are reaping the bounties. Bears will also enjoy blueberries and huckleberries as the summer progresses followed by wild grapes, cherries, and other fruits that will hopefully carry them over until the hard mast matures this fall. [Read more…]