Asheville Bears

Asheville black bears are generally in their dens from December to March. Cubs are born in January. Mothers don’t leave the den until the cubs are able to follow them about.

John Boyle wrote Where do ‘urban bears’ spend the winter? in the Asheville Citizen Times in his column “Answer Man” on Nov. 12, 2018. Since we have seen bear scat and footprints in our garden, I was pleased to read more about the animals. This article repeated what our son told us, that the bears do not truly hibernate here. They dig out a space under a fallen tree or squeeze in a tree cavity 10 feet or more above ground. Bears can get in any hole that their heads fit through. They sleep a lot, but occasionally go out foraging for food. If food is easily available, they might not den at all. The researchers went into 25 to 30 dens to change out the tracking collars. That is a bit dangerous, since the bear is usually sitting there, fully awake, looking back at them.

For any of you who are familiar with Asheville, one den was found next to the tunnel on Tunnel Road, near the main shopping mall of the city. The study included 150 bears in the metropolitan area. I always understood people should make a lot of noise to scare a bear away. The caption under the picture warned that mama bears with cubs can get defensive after hearing loud noises. I don’t think this means to whisper to the bear to go away as you jump up and down.

We live away from Asheville, very close to the Smoky Mountains National Park. Please keep your fingers crossed that if I see a bear on our property, I can safely get a picture of it.

61 thoughts on “Asheville Bears

      1. And I was thinking it was a nice, quiet little town – I remember going there when my mom and I went through the Smoky Mountains and visited Cherokee, N.C. as well. Maybe I am confusing it with another town we visited? It was a while ago – 1992.

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      2. I wouldn’t call Asheville a nice, quiet little town, but maybe it was in 1992. The town you are remembering — did it have one main street, or was it more like a city? Waynesville is a quiet town with one bustling main street. It’s close to Cherokee.

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      3. Anne – You know maybe it was Waynesville and I am associating the city name “ville” somehow and got them confused, as this was just a little town and we both remarked how nice it would be to live somewhere where people know your name … like Mayberry, N.C.! In fact I think we turned to each other and said “maybe we’ll see Andy and Opie Taylor.” My mom and I did go to Cherokee to see Chief Henry, who I think has since passed away. I would love to live in a small town – Lincoln Park is not that large, only five miles square but I mean a little town where people know your name (and your business).

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      4. Perhaps we should have looked into putting down roots – we’d be neighbors! We liked Tennessee and I know you are from there and we did get a local paper and no jobs for me – I was gung ho to leave Lincoln Park and start anew, my mom wanted to leave Lincoln Park as she saw the City going down, but wanted to stay in Michigan. I said “if you’re going to make the big move, go really big!” But the house was paid for, small and easy to maintain and she said we should stay put.

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      5. Thank you Anne and I would have enjoyed having you and John as neighbors. I wish we had pursued the idea but my mom said it was best we didn’t go out on a limb in case things didn’t work out. She was always cautious and prudent.

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      6. I have to say I am not as adventurous as I once was. I just said to another blogger recently that I used to take a large trip every year with a tour group. We did not leave as a group from Detroit, but I would usually fly from here to the destination, often with a stop in NY if it was international. Then there would be a tour coordinator at the airport because we would not know the language. I was fearless about that and I sure know I could not do that now. I think the older I resent change and don’t embrace it – maybe that will be my New Year’s resolution. Not just as to technology but other things and I really and truly am getting set in my ways, so now I can see my mother being reluctant to make such a move and perhaps biting off more than she could chew.

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      7. I even surprise myself now when I think about it … it was much safer then, not as many scary things going on in the world in those days. I don’t know if I’d be game now. I don’t even have a valid passport.

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  1. I hope you can capture a photo! We had a bear in our neighborhood about two years ago. I never saw it, but it left its paw prints and signature eating the bird seed out of the feeders in a lot of the yards including ours. Once everyone took down the bird feeders it moved on.

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    1. Since the bears should withdraw at the end of November, we don’t have much time left for a sighting. We’ll have extra people in the house this weekend, so maybe they will help look for the bear.

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  2. I have seen bears in the woods before, but I would not have the nerve to take a picture! One time, when we were staying with my son in Colorado, hubby and I heard a commotion outside our window. It was a bear, trying to break into my son’s bear-proofed carbage can!

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    1. Before we moved to NC, we were visiting our son here and driving in the mountains. There were lots of trucks parked by the side of the road, and son said they were hunting bears. Just then, a very young bear came on the road ahead of us and ran as fast as he could. I had time to get out my camera and snap a picture. Maybe I should just be content with that.

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  3. Thank you, Anne! After your first post I added studying bears to my “Round-to-it” list. They are interesting. Thanks to you also I can line out that topic now. I’ll pray God gives you the opportunity to photograph them, safely so you don’t worry yourself – or a momma bear. ☺

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  4. Years ago a lost bear made it into our part of the world. Very unusual. We were told that if we encountered him we should say “go away” in a firm voice and clap our hands above our heads. I never had the chance to try this, but I wondered then, and still do, if the bear would scurry away or just laugh his fool head off watching us humans flailing around with our hands above our heads. 😏.

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    1. In the newspaper I read about a man in this area who was intent on taking photos of something near his house. He turned around and saw a bear. Her cubs were near, and she suddenly ran toward him. He fought her with his bare hands, hitting her nose as hard as he could. The bear ran away when the man’s wife heard his screams and made a lot of noise. He was in the hospital and had to take rabies shots. I don’t fancy hand to paw combat.

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  5. Our last encounter with Bruno was through a window. He was on our deck destroying a bird feeder full of sunflower seeds. Bill made faces at him and he went away. I hope the birds will forgive me…there will be no more feeders around the house.

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