Smokey Mountains Looking At Cub Increase

TN Wildlife Resource Agency, Bear Hunting Magazine

Wildlife officials in Tennessee are hopeful that an abundance of acorns at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year will result in an increase in black bear cubs next spring. The large food supply is a turnaround from last year, when a shortage resulted in fewer cubs being born and more cubs being abandoned due to mothers who either starved or were hit by cars while looking for food. In addition to having healthier bears, the mast abundance has led to fewer nuisance complaints from people about the bears.

Because of the food supply available this year, backcountry campsites are open and warning signs posted at several campsites and trails should be removed soon. Last year, there was a high number of nuisance complaints as well as bear-vehicle collisions and several backcountry campsites and trail shelters were closed due to nuisance bear activity.

Scientists say this year's acorn crop in the Smokies will start a gradual increase in the bear population, which will continue until the next mast shortage.

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