Hunters aren't having a hard time this season with the recent increase in bear sightings


It's not everyday a bear like this comes walking through your yard. Or is it?

Jake Boatright lives on South Holston Lake in Sullivan County.

He's seen four bears in his backyard and on his porch in recent days.

"It used to be seeing a bear was somewhat rare. Now the occurrences are more common. Now they're getting more social with humans," said Boatright.

He says his welcome sign is becoming all to literal.

"They keep coming back it seems like. You can shoot them, but they're used to human interaction now. Something has to be done" said Boatright.

Bear hunting's second week is underway in our area and hunters are seeing a big increase in harvest.

"There's a lot of bears here in this area. And as the years have progressed, it seems like there has been an increase in bears more and more especially in the state of Tennessee. It's looking so much better every year," said hunter Brian Carter.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, last year hunters in Sullivan county yielded 10 bear kills.

This year, there's been more than double. So far there was 24 with bear hunting continuing through the end of November.

Friendship Marina's general manager, Chris Koserski, has counted six bears he's seen over and over in the campground area since May.

"I don't know if it's a migration pattern or there's an increase population, but over the past two years we've definitely seen them on a regular basis," said Koserski.

One of the main reasons why we've been seeing so many bears in residential areas is because of acorns.

Now that the temperature has been dropping, acorns are dropping too.

This means bears are on their way to enjoy a healthy snack. They're also heading to your trash cans to get as much food as they can before hibernation begins at the end of November.

Some of the ways you can stay safe if a bear is in your neighborhood is by tying up trash cans and keeping pet food inside.

As for hunter safety, experts say stay away from females and their cubs, never kill a cub less than 75 pounds, stay off private property and always check in with the TWRA.

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