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Black Bear Sightings

Crossville, Tenn. --- TWRA receives an increase in calls regarding black bears in spring and early summer. Bears just over a year old, leave their mothers and often move into new, unknown territory in search of food, water, and shelter. Outdoor activities such as yardwork, hiking, and camping also increase the potential for humans to spot a bear. 

Humans unknowingly attract and provide for wild animals including black bears, around their homes. Attractants include birdfeeders, trash, birdbaths, livestock feed, and petfood bowls with leftover food.  These things can unintentionally lure bears and other unwanted wildlife closer to people. Following a few guidelines can decrease negative interactions and help deter bears. 

TWRA Black Bear Support Biologist, Janelle Musser stated, “It’s important to recognize that when a bear finds its way into a neighborhood, it will also find its way out. Bear dispersal happens anywhere black bears live and this is a normal occurrence across the U.S. We want to ensure people are safe and ask them to follow some guidelines.” 

  • Never follow a black bear. Give wildlife plenty of room to vacate an area. Following an animal for photos can unintentionally put wildlife or humans in harm’s way. 
  • Never intentionally feed bears and look for unintentional food sources around homes. Trash, birdfeeders, unpicked garden vegetables, greasy grills, livestock feed, and outside petfood can attract bears. 
  • Secure food, garbage, recycling, and grills in areas not accessible to bears and other wildlife.  Place trash in bearproof containers and place out the morning of pick up. 
  • Alert neighbors to bear activity and make noise when exiting your home to alert wildlife and provide time for them to move away. 
  • Find more info, including hiking and camping in bear country at