Bears Are Snatching Up Backpacks In North Carolina

A bear in a window

The list of recklessly entertaining things that black bears have been up to continues to grow longer by the week.

But their antics should also serve as an important reminder to be safe in bear country this summer.

For those of you keeping score at home, bears have been busy vandalizing automobileschilling on the couch, relaxing in the hot tub, cruising downhill with mountain bikers, throwing pool parties, and getting chased out of backyards.

But with summer outdoor recreation season in full swing, bears are smart enough to know that people in the backcountry means food in the backcountry. So, now they’re frequently scavenging campgrounds and raiding picnics backpacks, coolers, and food caches.

The U.S. Forest Service just recently issued a warning that bear encounters in North Carolina’s National Forest are unusually high right now, and they’re advising anyone enjoying the great outdoors in that area to take special precautions to avoid bears. Incidents like this are always a good reminder to brush up on safety tips for staying calm during bear encounters.

“Visitors on the Nantahala National Forest are asked to take precautions to avoid bears after recent reports of increased bear encounters within the Wilderness.

No injuries have been reported. Encounters include bears stealing food and backpacks. The bears will often stay in the area of the incident for multiple hours, possibly days, depending on availability of food sources. This time of the year black bears are opportunistically looking for food that campers and trail users bring on their trips.

If you are attacked by a black bear, try to fight back using any object available. Act aggressively and intimidate the bear by yelling and waving your arms. Playing dead is not appropriate.”

The Forest Service’s top 5 tips for avoiding negative run ins with black bears while hiking and camping this summer can help keep you and your family safe while you enjoy the great outdoors.

-Do not store food in tents.

-Properly store food and scented items like toothpaste by using a bear-proof container.

-Clean up food or garbage around areas of your campsite.

-Do not leave food unattended.

-Keep your dog on a leash in areas where bears are reported.

Now find a National Forest or Grassland near you and get outside and hang out with Mother Nature this weekend. Just be safe if there are bears in the area.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock