The first choice of safety
is to enjoy wild Black Bears at a safe distance, or as far away as
possible. But if your being near a bear causes it to change directions,
interrupt it's foraging or feeding, makes loud snorting noises, looks at
you and stomps the ground, or runs towards you, then you are probably
much to close and invading its own space!
Facing the bear, slowly back
away, while keeping an eye on the bear and standing upright, making
yourself as large as possible, increasing the distance between you and
the bear. Many times the bear will do likewise.
If the bear continues to
approach you without stomping and making noises, back away in a
different direction, if this doesn't work, shout at it loudly and stand
your ground trying to intimidate the bear. Running away at this
point could trigger a prey response. If there are others with,
have them do likewise. Throw small logs or rocks at the bear
(never throw food).
If a bear is just after your
food and you are physically attacked, back away slowly as above.
Most injuries from Black Bear attacks are minor resulting from the Bear
trying to get at your food.
IF food is not a possible
factor involved with the bear attacking you, do NOT play dead or roll up
in a ball, fight back with everything you have hollering, punching,
kicking or anything you can do, to help to keep the bear from perceiving
you as prey. Any such action by a black bear should be immediately
reported to a park ranger (865) 436-1230.
Enjoying these wild animals from a
distance will be rewarding to you, AND protect the bear. Remember,
wildlife harassment is punishable by imprisonment and or up to a 5,000
fine. If a park ranger catches you feeding a bear or any wild
animal, you can expect a hefty ticket. Most importantly, your
feeding the bear could cause it to approach other humans, and will most
likely cost that beautiful animal its life as it will possibly have to
be put to death because a person inadvertently conditioned the bear to
associate people with food.