The black bears of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Weisser Realty

Black Bear in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Richard Weisser.As dark voids ‘midst the twigs and leaves
Devouring mast of shrubs and trees,
The black bears soon in den will lie,
And fat they’ll sleep ‘till Spring draws nigh!
                (R Weisser 2012)

The black bears of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are very active in Autumn as they make their final preparations before denning for the winter.

Once they are fattened up, black bears can sleep for up to a hundred days without food or water. They do not become dehydrated.

During their facultative hibernation, bears can be aroused by noises or scents. They may leave the den for short periods of time and then return.

With an estimated bear population of about 1500, or roughly 2 per square mile, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best places in North America to enjoy the experience black bears in the wild.

It’s another reason I love the Autumn season!

Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains by Richard Weisser.

Photos courtesy of Richard Weisser and

Comments (13)

Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Richard.... I've heard stories on the news that showed bears in the suburbs of Boston!!!  you can keep those critters in the great smoky mountains....

Sep 29, 2012 10:12 PM
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

2 per square mile is a lot of bears, Richard!  There must be plenty for them to eat there.  This year, because of the drought and the fires ( I presume) the only bears I've "seen" have been on TV in the cities. Great capture!

Sep 29, 2012 10:22 PM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Black Bears occur throughout North America and can become a nuisance as they forage for new sources of food. Thanks and have a great Sunday.


The bear population in the park is at a critical level. In a good mast year, there is enough food to support them, but if the availability of food drops suddenly due to natural causes, the bears will be forced out into more populated areas and face all of the dangers associated with "civilization." THX.

Sep 29, 2012 10:33 PM
Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

I had no idea that the population density of bears was so great in the Smoky Mountains! Neat photos!

Sep 29, 2012 10:36 PM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Two bears per square mile really makes the chances of an encounter very likely in the Smoky Mountains.

Sep 29, 2012 10:40 PM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Richard. I think bears, black included, are majestic and beautiful but I would rather see them in your pictures than close to my home.

Sep 29, 2012 11:19 PM
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Hmmm! Store up fat, sleep for the winter. I think I'm a black bear.

Sep 29, 2012 11:27 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Richard, I think the last black bear I saw in the wild was in the Smokeys....and it was back in the 70s when my family took a vacation there.

Sep 29, 2012 11:36 PM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


They are pervasive ... i grabbed these photos last Thursday! Thanks.


If you spend more than twelve hours in the Park I would say that the odds are nearly certain! Thanks.


Oddly enough, I am much more afraid of dogs than I am of bears! Thanks so much.


Sounds like a plan to me! Thanks.


Oh, they are there. Just not the same density! Thanks.

Sep 29, 2012 11:45 PM
Peter den Boer
Atlanta Communities - Woodstock, GA
MBA,GRI, Associate Broker, Realtor

Richard - On a 55 mile hike through the Smokies years ago, we saw lots of bears. They are beautiful to watch as long as there are no cubs around.

Sep 30, 2012 12:32 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Richard, When I was young we would go to the Smokies and see the baby bears. They looked so harmless but we stayed away because Mama Bear was somewhere close by and she was not so harmeless.

Sep 30, 2012 03:18 AM
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

I have seen the bears in the Smoky Mountains.  They are fun to watch.

Sep 30, 2012 08:44 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

that is a good population.  In my area, the land would not support that many in that area.

Sep 30, 2012 10:18 AM