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Hibernating?

KY
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Hibernating?

When do the bears go into hibernation? My husband and I have visited the area the last couple of Novembers and have never got to see a bear in the wild. My husband says it is because they are already hibernating, but I think we just have had bad luck :D!! Please help us settle this quarrel.

Bartlett, Tennessee
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1. Re: Hibernating?

This will settle ya'lls quarrel. Bears do not truly hibernate, but enter long periods of sleep. They may leave the den for short periods if disturbed or during brief warming trends.

nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm

Edited: 09 September 2010, 05:23
nashville
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2. Re: Hibernating?

they say it's not "true" hibernation, but it's pretty similar. the difference being that they do emerge from their dens from time to time. but yeah, that's why you won't see too many in November... they're usually already bedded down in their dens.

Cinn, OH
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3. Re: Hibernating?

Any time you are in the Smokies, you have to be pretty lucky to see any bears. We have visited multiple times, usually we see several bears, but we have not seen any bears a few times. Just keep your eyes on the look out for them.

nashville
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4. Re: Hibernating?

>>Any time you are in the Smokies, you have to be pretty lucky to see any bears.

this is a good point. i visit the park 4-5-6 times a year for the past several years, and less often as a kid. i've only seen bears on a handful of occasions. unless you drive the cades cove loop over and over and over your whole trip, chances are pretty good that wont see a bear... the less scary bears will avoid people like the plague, thankfully. the vegetation in the park is so thick in the leaf-on seasons... they hide pretty easily.

Edited: 09 September 2010, 23:13
Raleigh, North...
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5. Re: Hibernating?

By November, bears are starting to settle down for the winter and are less active. Despite the Smokies having over 1500 bears in the park, a bear sighting is still a relatively rare encounter! My wife and I have hiked over 300 miles of trails over several years in the Smokies and can still count the number of bear sightings with our fingers.

Our bear sightings

Chestnut Branch Trail - bear sighting

Davenport Gap TN 32 - bear sighting

Cades Cove Loop Road - 3 sightings

Gregory Ridge Trail -2 sightings

Ramsey Cascades - bear sighting

We have seen bears as late as late October.

If you see a bear, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not approach to get a photo. All of my photos have been taken with a 400mm lens and I was nowhere near the bear. I cringe when I see people with point and shoot cameras get uncomfortably close to bears. Most of the times bears will run away at the first sight of human beings, but tragic results have occurred (ie Google Laurel the bear)

Mentioned in this post
Cades Cove
Cades Cove
4,282 Reviews
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Davenport
Davenport
Central Florida, FL
Cinn, OH
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1,562 posts
35 reviews
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6. Re: Hibernating?

We have had the most luck seeing bears on the Roaring Fork driving trail, which lately has been closed, but I hope it opens back up for our trip in October.

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Roaring Fork
Roaring Fork
1,269 Reviews
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Paris, Tn
Destination Expert
for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
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28 reviews
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7. Re: Hibernating?

Doesen't anyone remember "Lilly" the hibernating bear from last winter?

Ray

KY
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8. Re: Hibernating?

Thanks everyone for your responses! We will just keep on looking as we explore the park!

Adventure- You don't have to worry about us approaching a bear. I would really prefer to observe it from the comfort and safety of my car. That's our biggest worry is what happens if we come upon one while we are hiking a trail!

Edited: 14 September 2010, 02:47
9. Re: Hibernating?

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