Multiple Black Bear Sightings Reported in Middle Tennessee

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Photo From TWRA

Over the last month, there have been several reports of black bear sightings in Middle Tennessee.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) says there is two, or possibly three bears, moving throughout the Middle Tennessee area, adding that the sightings are not an uncommon occurrence in Middle Tennessee during this time of year.

Barry Cross of TWRA described what causes wandering bears in the area.

“What happens is that the mother bear kicks the young out to find their own home. The young females may establish a home range near the mother’s range, but the young males cannot. The young males typically walk away from the established bear range in search of an area to call his own,” Cross says. “That is when we see young individual bears coming off the plateau or out of Kentucky and into Middle Tennessee. Usually, they wander around looking for the presence of other bears before circling back to where they came from and when they hit that leading edge of what is now bear populated area they will establish their home range.”

Cross says TWRA is certain that the bear that is getting the most attention is the same bear that has moved from Maury County through Williamson County, and into Davidson County.

According to WSMV, the following sightings have occurred over that past week:

June 6 – Maury County/Lewis County line
June 8 – Columbia, near I-65 and Bear Creek Pike
June 13 – South Nashville, Eisenhower Drive
June 14 – South Nashville, near Harding Place and Paragon Mills Road

Watch footage from WSMV of a black bear walking around a residential area near Harding Place and Paragon Mills Road below:

TWRA posted the following guidelines to help minimize many unnecessary and potentially dangerous encounters:

  • Never feed or approach bears.
  • Do not store food, garbage, or other recyclables in areas accessible to bears.
  • Do not feed birds or other wildlife where bears are active.
  • Feed outdoor pets a portion size they will completely consume during each meal and securely store pet foods.
  • Keep grills and smokers clean and stored in a secure area when not in use.
    Talk to family and neighbors when bear activity is occurring in your area.

If the public sees the bear, TWRA says do not approach or chase the animal. If it is close proximity to you, you are encouraged to make a loud noise to run it off. These methods can be anything from banging pans together, using an air horn or simply yelling.

If you spot a bear in your area, report it here.