Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

An 8-year-old Florida boy sustained minor injuries Monday evening when attacked by a young black bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A bear thought to have been behind the attack was later killed by rangers.

The attack was reported about 7:30 p.m. local time along the Rainbow Falls Trail, a popular hiking trail off the Cherokee Orchard Road just south of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Rangers say Evan Pala, of Boca Raton, Florida, was playing along LeConte Creek about 300 yards up Rainbow Falls Trail from the trailhead when he was reportedly attacked twice by a bear. The boy suffered non-life-threatening cuts, scratches and puncture wounds. The boy’s father, John Pala, also of Boca Raton was able to drive off the animal with sticks and rocks, but sustained some minor injuries himself.

The boy was transported by Gatlinburg Ambulance to Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center in Sevierville Tennessee, and the father drove to the same facility for treatment.

Based upon the father’s description of the bear and the location, Rangers went to the scene and encountered a bear that acted aggressively towards them as well. They shot the bear. They did locate a child’s shoe and a cap at the sight that they believe belonged to the family.

Park Wildlife Management personnel also responded. They described the bear as an estimated 55-pound male – probably a yearling. The animal was transported to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center for a necropsy to establish that it is the bear that attacked the child.

No names or home town are available for release at this time.

Comments

Hopefully the boy will mend fine and not be too traumatized by the attack. Unfortunately a bear – the assumed attacker - was destroyed.

In May my son came home from his university for the weekend. As always, he came in to the house said hello, stretched, drank some water and went back out to get his bags. He came back in real quick telling me a young black bear was out on the driveway.

I snuck out and snap a few pictures of a “curious” 18-24 month old black bear looking at me from around the corner. I then called our state game and fish people (no easy task though thanks to a professional 911 county operator we finally got hold of someone that night). Ultimately, the young bear was captured and relocated. We live in rural Washington State.

With nearly 35 years in the NPS I only head one close encounter with black bears. I worked a bear jams in South Yellowstone NP in the early ‘70’s. A lot of the people exhibited some really strange and dangerous “behavior.” People, way too many people, lack a general awareness of what’s going on around them. The parks are not unfenced, open air zoos.

I agree with Bob. I live at the Foothills of the N. Ga. Mountains. While I've never came in close contact with a bear, we do have deer that visit our home. People that visit with nature need to understand it's not like walking around in the city. The animals are in their "home" territory. Stay alert of your surroundings, not only with your eyes, but with smell. Most wild animals have their own scent that you can smell if you are alert. I know the boy is just a child, but they should be educated also.

It is unfortunate the "alledged bear" was killed. I'm sure, and hope, the Rangers done what they thought was best. As a nature lover, I've learned to respect the animals and enjoy them at the same time. After all, what would the world be like without them.

why did they feel the need to kill this black bear? They people were in the bear's territory, he was just being protective. They are always so quick to kill wildlife instead of trapping and relocating. I feel they were wrong in what they did, because they are saying they are going to do a necropsy to see if this is the bear that attacked the boy?? Well how will they tell that? I would love to know. After all this, they may have killed the wrong bear, How very Sad.

I was in that part of the park last Wednesday on the 6th of Aug. We also encountered a small black bear that
acted strange. We did not approach the bear, he approached us. He was not afraid of anyone and he did come after us. In fact, I have 2 nice scratches on my car from him. I really am not worried about my car but of the safety of the bears and the people. I am also a nature lover but something was wrong with that bear. We saw 6 other bears while we were down there last week including a mother with her 2 cubs and they were not aggressive like the small bear we encountered. We also saw 2 copperhead snakes in Cades Cove that they captured while we were there to relocate them so I know they relocate bears also. Don't be so quick to judge.The bear also came after the ranger who is there to protect the animals as well as the humans. I did report my incident to the rangers and they contacted me as soon as they got the paper work. I have a picture of the bear that came after us so that may help them find out if it was the same. Remember, the rangers are there to protect and I'm sure you would appreciate that if you were the victim.

I wonder how many of us know what strange behavior from a bear is. We don't hang out with them all day, and most of us are not reasearchers in that field. Killing the animal was excessive. Humans keep encroaching on their lands to build homes, ranches, cottages, we hunt, bike, hike and poach. How about we let them live their lives without disturbance from us. Glad the boy is ok, he was lucky the bear was still a young.

I get really tired of reading posts that "defend" the animals more than "human life & safety". YES, I agree, all of us who enjoy observing wildlife need to be VERY careful ... especially in National & other Parks where the wildlife can become accustomed to people. It is indeed a sad affair when an animal has to be killed because someone wasn't following the rules or being respectful of the wildlife's habitat (ie keeping our food in appropriate containers, etc.).

BUT, when there are "unprovoked" attacks on humans (such as this case with the black bear and the 8 yr old, charging the rangers (who KNOW how to act around wildlife), etc), the top & only priority should be to protect the people. When relocation isn't possible, because of an animal's aggressive behavior, then we need to respect the decision of the experts and not be so critical! There are indeed instances, where the only course of action is to kill the animal (ie, the bear in this story, zoo tigers who escape & attack people, etc.).

Respectfully submitted.

(my favorite hobby -- observing & photographing wildlife)

This is a general comment. I am in no way saying this child provoked the situation. I've visited this area many times and have encountered bears several times. I've heard stories about people leaving food out and/or not latching trash containters so they could attract bears. I've witnessed a few dumpster diving bears and they act pretty fearless of humans. Why do people leave food traps? I'm not sure if they're hoping to get a photo on vacation or what. But, I believe this is what helps to create agressive bear behavior near humans. In Cade's Cove, I've seen people stop their cars and jump out with their cameras to get as close as possible to capture a bear photo. I think people need to be more respectful of nature, but I also agree that if relocation isn't a possibility, the animal should be destroyed for safety reasons. It's sad, but the behavior most likely will not change once they're agressive.

Unfortunately these things tend to happen. What i'd like to know is, where were the parents when this happened?

Myself, my fiancee and our 5 year old daughter stayed at Leconte Lodge and hiked it via the Alum Cave Trail on July 31st. We never let our daughter out of our site, because nature, although beautiful is very dangerous. I'm just glad the boy didn't suffer severe injuries.

"Remember, if you carry it in, carry it out"

And where do you live? Do you think that at one time your space did not belong to the animals?
OK for you but no one else?
While I am not a wildlife specialist, I think many people who visit the Smokys and have been fortunate enough to see bears as I have a few time, know the difference betwee agressive and passive!
Don't be so quick to judge.

I hope that this situation doesn't keep people from going and enjoying Cades Cove. This attack really saddened me, a young child playing in the water being attacked. I should first say I wish a speedy recovery to the child and his father. This being said, my family was at Cades Cove at the begining of July and August, and we encountered bears both time. While there in July, we stopped to see what everyone was looking at. It was, what I considered to be a little bear (Living in the West Virginia Mountains, bears in this area seem to be alot larger 200-600 pounds). The bear was grazing in a field and eating berries. We stood what I considered to be a safe distance, since we were at one of the homesteads. And to my surprise, a bunch of these nut cases went out into the field taking pictures, at maybe 10-15 feet from the bear. It sure didn't take long for them to scatter when the bear stood up on his hind legs. When we were the in July, the ranger said they have been in a drought (the worse in 100 years). So it wouldn't be advised to let kids play in the water, if there is no water in the mountains the bears are going to be coming out of the hills to get some. Both times we were there this year, we saw bears in areas where streams were.

Park Rangers are quick to tell you to keep your children and any pets close when bears are around. Where were the parents? It's unfortunate that a bear had to lose it's life because of careless humans. These people should be ashamed of themselves for not following the most basic rules while visiting the Park. We hiked Rainbow Falls in June and also encounterd a black bear on the trail. We stood back, waited for him to finish eating insects in a downed tree - we took beautiful pictures of him - he went his way - we went ours. We respected his space and never felt even remotely threatened.
I'm sorry a child was injured. But I'm also sorry a bear had to be destroyed in the very environment which is supposed to protect him.

Trish,

I'm not sure we can rush to judgment on what the parents did or didn't do. Obviously, they were close enough nearby that the father could rush to his son's rescue. Too, rangers who responded noted that the bear charged them, as well, so merely standing and watching from a distance might not have worked in this case.

I hiked the same trail in early August and the thickness of the vegetation, the way the landscape rises and falls, and the boulders could very well have hidden the bear from the family until it was too late.

This bear weighed 55 pounds. A young male like this would not be aggressive toward another bear weighing 100 or 150 pounds. It would defer and retreat. It would know perfectly well that a larger bear could be dangerous.

A small bear would be delighted to find a fawn curled up in the grass, would attack it, kill it and eat it, but it would know that a full-grown deer is beyond its ability - the adult deer can stomp & kick dangerously, and bucks have head-mounted weapons.

Yet the bear in this case showed no 'respect' for adult humans who towered far above it (bears are impressed by height), and who outweighed it 3 or 4 times. That's not natural, and it's not good.

In the world of carnivores & omnivores, all other animals are either 'opportunities' or 'hazards'. There is no middle ground in nature. Any other creature that is not a danger, is an opportunity, including humans.

The only natural roles available to animals are those of prey, or predator. 'Being nice' is something that humans work at, but for wild animals it is entirely alien. That we are able to view & photograph a bear on the landscape being a bear - and ignoring us - does not mean the bear is being nice.

The assumption that if we do not bother a carnivore, it will not bother us, is a serious fallacy. The further we go with the idea that viewing & photographing carnivorous wildlife as though they are trees or rock formations or fallen-down pioneer cabins, the more difficult & costly it will be to correct the error.

It is important that bears be concerned & worried about humans, that they are aware of the capabilities of humans, because if they are not then they will gradually come to view us as opportunities. It would be much better if we begin earlier to form a more natural relationship with bears, than waiting until the necessity is forced upon us.

In a healthy, natural world, you must be able to stalk a bear and conceal your presence from it, in order to view it & photograph it. You must be able to move stealthily and undetected through the landscape to see carnivores.

That's how nature really operates, and anything else is not natural ... not healthy, and in the long run, not stable and won't last.

Ted et al,

Park rangers initially estimated the bear weighed 55 pounds. It later came in at 86 pounds, still probably too small to take on an adult.

Dear JoAnn,

Please contact me at about your visit to the Rainbow Falls Trails. I'm doing research on bear attacks in the Smokies.

Tommy

Ummm, the bear was in people territory. Bears are not landowners.

You're lucky if you've had only one encounter with a black bear. Unfortunately, you do not live near the Smoky Mountains where there are WAY TOO MANY bears!!! The density of the black bear population in the park is approximately 2 per square mile now. That can not be healthy for bears and is certainly not safe for hikers. I've been to the park 3 times since moving to Georgia from the Midwest a few months ago. I love hiking, but have already had 2 close (less than 30 ft.) encounters with full-grown black bears on designated hiking trails in the park and have seen at least 20 more from a greater than 30 foot distance. These bears are, in no way, afraid of humans.

The first bear was not aggressive. My boyfriend and I were caught near the summit of the uncharacteristically deserted Chimney Tops in a thunderstorm. I was eager to get back to the car, but we had to wait about 45 minutes for a full-grown bear to get off the trail directly ahead. Eventually, he receded about 15-20 ft. back into the foliage just to the side of the trail. He turned and watched as we quickly passed, but, despite our making loud noises, did not flee the scene.

The second bear was a mother and two cubs on the heavily visited Laurel Falls trail. This one growled at hikers. We turned back, along with a group of about 20 people, because we had already hiked 9.6 miles that day and were just too tired to deal with a bear. Back in the parking lot, we heard rumors that the bear had run at a mother and baby in a stroller.

Most unnerving to me, though, was the seven (yes seven!) bears we had seen in a group earlier that day on the comparatively isolated trail to Ramsey Falls. There were a lot of food wrappers, beer bottles, and even a Kentucky Fried Chicken Bucket left behind on the trail, so it's no surprise that there were bears in the area.

We also saw two smaller bears from a distance at the Rainbow Falls Trail......... exactly 4 days before a young boy was attacked by a yearling on the same trail.

I have read that some of the deterrents (ie. non-lethal bullets) park rangers have been using have been making the bears more aggressive and that noise does not frighten many bears because a significant number of them have been found to have very poor hearing.

And yes, you're absolutely correct that people don't always know how to behave around wildlife, but to imply that people are being attacked because of their own carelessness or other actions that provoke or entice bears is unfair. Often, people are being attacked because of OTHER people's actions or the simple fact that bears have too much contact with people in this part of the country and are not inclined to avoid humans.

I would absolutely love to hike the Appalachian Trail through the park, but even with bear spray, I have my reservations. I'm afraid the rapidly increasing threat of violent bear attacks may make the trip just too dangerous.

They have tried relocating bears in Great Smoky several times, and the bears always return to the place from which they were taken. This bear was aggressive. I hate killing animals too, but the bears are overpopulating the park. It's time allow very limited and cautious bear hunting.

Anonymous,

You provide an interesting & instructive account. Thank you.

When I was a kid on the Olympic Peninsula in '50s & '60s, everyone liked to have a 'bear-story'. Most of them began by the teller holding up the thumb & index-finger with a gap of 1 or 2 tenths of inch between them.

"Yep, it was out there, oh, 400, maybe 600 yards", thumb & index-finger bobbing up & down, "moving at around 40 mph straight up that steep hill through impenetrable brush like it wasn't there. He musta went airborne when he cleared over the top."

That's basically all anyone ever saw of a bear - a tiny black speck near the limits of vision, retreating at its panic-maximum speed. If you watched the black speck for as much as a full second, that was an unusually long sighting.

The reason bears acted like that, of course, is they were routinely hunted.

Today, Olympic Nat'l Park people are chewing their nails to the quick, getting ulcers worrying when the first Olympic bear-attack will suck them into the developing hurricane that now threats to ravage wildlife management professionals & institutions all across North American. They're in denial, their heads in the sand. See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil.

Even quite recently, I would have said, "No, though hunting carnivores would do the trick alright, I can't see them coming around to it".

Now, though, I definitely can see it, and I don't think it's very far off. I now think that the situation with bear & cougar has been allowed to degenerate to such a state that it is now all but inevitable the Parks will be forced to embrace hunting against their own bias & prejudice, and weather the withering flak they will get from anti-hunting allies among environmentalists.

I don't understand why there are so many black bear attacks these days. There are bears in my area in CT and I won't let my 6 year old play outdoors because of recent sightings. CT does not allow bear hunting like our neighboring state, Massachusettes and although I have always felt that wildlife should be left alone, I am starting to have another opinion. Predatory Black bears who are not afraid of humans are a threat to our physical and emotional stability. Relocation doesn't seem to work because the bears make their way back all too soon. In my state an 83 year old man is in jail because he shot a bear who was in his back yard. He is old and was terrified because despite making noise to shu the bear away, the bear stood his ground and would not leave thus the man resorted to his primal instinct for survival. I am starting to wonder which animal has more rights and why.

Anonymous Sept 12 laments:

"I don't understand why there are so many black bear attacks these days."
This is happening, because mama bears are no longer teaching their cubs that humans are to be feared & avoided.

Mama bears no longer know that humans are dangerous, because they are no longer hunted.

Smart environmentalists ought to consider how controlled hunting can best be reestablish & managed, to promote their own preferred outcome. Otherwise, we may see the situation with large carnivores deteriorate to a point where the resolution of the problem no longer includes environmentalists or their preferences.

Specifically, if bears within a region begin to actively hunt humans (this is where the changes in bear-behavior are headed), then wildlife management professionals & agencies will probably have to completely eradicate the bear-population from the entire region.

Do keep a close eye on your 6-year-old. The situation is not getting better - it's getting worse. Consider getting a 'good' dog. You don't need a 'kill-dog', but you don't want a 'silly' dog either. Dogs are great for scenting & hearing animals off in the brush, and react especially well toward bears. A good fence is a big help, too, though costly. Many 6-year-olds love dogs.

Lastly, I would recommend buying a rifle and taking Hunting & Firearms training (which is readily available to you), even if you have no intention of hunting. That way, you are knowledgeable and have the tools to do what needs to be done, in an emergency.

Good luck & stay safe. :-)

I live nearby and from what I read and heard on the local news, the little boy had been eating KFC chicken and had wiped his hands on his clothing. That would indicate to me the bear thought the little boy was a food source and was not attacking a human for the sake of attacking a human. His father was there and took on the bear as well to protect his son, but at that point the bear was probably thinking he was fighting something else for his food source.

They did the right thing in killing the bear if he harmed a child and showed aggression toward the Rangers.

Anywhere you the put the bear, he could have easily been in contact with people again. I'm glad they didn't give the bear another chance to harm or kill someone.

I totally agree, the only issue is that we can't have bears and kids playing together. So, either don't build a house in the woods and complain about the animals or stay in the city. If you are visiting a State Park that is known for bears, heck you can't walk two feet in Gatlinburg, TN without someone selling you a cute little black bear stuffed animal, T-shirt or salt & pepper shakers. So pay attention, carry a whistle, if not bear mace. So it's sad but, humans “WILL ALWAYS COME FIRST”, when it comes to bear confrontations. I have to adimit I agree to a depending on the situation.
I would have also killed this bear, to help save the other bears! Humans have a way of wiping out what they fear or hate. I have large dogs and would have to always insist that any biting or sever mouthing or human aggression, is totally unacceptable from any dog of any size... period! Any animal that bites humans, MUST be rehabilitated, relocated or put down, humanely. Once an animal breaks that invisible line of fear and respect for humans and humans for bears, it becomes a recipe of disaster.
I have helped with various wildlife rescues in Tennesse and love all animals. I hoping to go back to EKU for wildlife biology.

I am sad to hear about this event. Black bears are beautiful creatures and need space to live and be free, just like the rest of us.

I hope we all can be blessed enough to have space and freedom. I don't think anyone can argue with that. :)

I totally agree, the only issue is that we can't have bears and kids playing together. So, either don't build a house in the woods and complain about the animals or stay in the city. If you are visiting a State Park that is known for bears, heck you can't walk two feet in Gatlinburg, TN without someone selling you a cute little black bear stuffed animal, T-shirt or salt & pepper shakers. So pay attention, carry a whistle, if not bear mace. So it's sad but, humans “WILL ALWAYS COME FIRST”, when it comes to bear confrontations. I have to adimit I agree to a depending on the situation.
I would have also killed this bear, to help save the other bears! Humans have a way of wiping out what they fear or hate. I have large dogs and would have to always insist that any biting or sever mouthing or human aggression, is totally unacceptable from any dog of any size... period! Any animal that bites humans, MUST be rehabilitated, relocated or put down, humanely. Once an animal breaks that invisible line of fear and respect for humans and humans for bears, it becomes a recipe of disaster.
I have helped with various wildlife rescues in Tennesse and love all animals. I hoping to go back to EKU for wildlife biology.

Yet another bear attack in my favorite vacation spot. This time the young boy was injured and thankfully, not killed. We visit the Smokies at several times a year and usually see bears during our stay, frequently in Cades Cove and Roaring Fork. My husband has been in Boy Scouts for over 30 years and our sons are both Eagle Scouts so we respect animals in the wild and know better than to irritate or encourage wild animals to come in close contact with us. That said, several years ago, my son and husband did leave our car to photograph a young bear. Another tourist got within 10 feet of this bear and started using his flash on the camera, the bear stood up and growled--everyone else had enough sense to leave the area while that man continued to take photos. Thankfully, no one was injured that day, but this is a prime example of a dangerous situation. In our travels, we rarely see rangers in Cades Cove except in the Mill area and have not ever seen a ranger in the oaring Fork area. HI am impressed with the rangers and volunteers in the in Cataloochie where the elk were introduced. These volunteers and rangers keep an eye on what the tourists are doing so that the elk and tourists are safe and protected.
It seems that since there have now been 2 attacks in the last few years, that perhaps rangers should be patrolling the areas better???
When reading the article about this latest attack on April 11, 2009, it does not sound like the boy was doing anything wrong and the Father was close enough to frighten the bear and probably save his son's life. I do not think we should immediately criticize the parents without all of the information. I work with dog rescue so I love nimals and hate to see animals needlessly killed, but a bear that attacks a person cannot be trusted! The rangers' reported that the bear 's behavior was, "very strange" and made the decision to shoot the bear. I think the rangers made a wise decision, one that protects the rest of the tourists.

Most animal attacks (with the exception of those involving sick animals) are the fault of humans. Not necessarily the human that was attacked. Possibly other hikers had seen this young bear, felt sorry for it, and had been feeding it. A recipe for disaster. It is even possible that this family had been feeding it. I'm not saying they were, but we will never know. The point is that somewhere, somehow, a human being (or more than one) was most likely responsible for this attack. The bear pays with its life, before ever getting a real chance to live. People aren't defending "the animals more than "human life & safety"" as someone says above, they are simply seeing the tragedy in all of this. The boy should not have been hurt. The animal should not have been killed. The two principals here are innocent victims; yet someone is at fault: The parents? Other hikers? We will probably never know.
The rangers reported "strange behavior" from the bear. Good "buzz words" to justify shooting it. Most likely, killing the bear was the quickest and easiest "solution". Hazing or relocating (or preferably a combination of the two) would be costly, time consumming and probably not politically correct when a child was involved. Far easier to announce to the world, "We've killed the "monster" and the woods are once again safe for little children; when, of course, the woods have never (and never will be) 100% safe for anyone. I remember always telling my own children that the moment they step out of the car and walk into the woods, they have made a conscious decision to become a part of the food chain. Be smart, be aware, and you will be fine. Walk out there with the attitude, "I'm a human being! Nothing's gonna happen to me!" and you may be hurt or worse. Make like Bambi, because you are one of the smallest, most vulnerable creatures out there.
On more than one occasion I have seen people throw food out of their car window at roadside bears in Yellowstone. I don't know if these people are just stupid, uneducated or they simply don't care. In any case, fines should be quadrupled and education programs increased. Perhaps a "wildlife safety test" should be given to all vistors. Fill in the answers and return to a ranger station to receive a pin or perhaps a coupon for 15% off at park gift stores.....something.
Finally, I will say it once again. Wildlife attacks are very, very rare. At least when we are talking about mega-fauna (insect attacks are, of course, pretty common!) Attacks by bears, mountain lions etc. make the news because they are rare, not because they are common. Thousands of domestic dogs attack children every year. Many children die from such attacks. Yet we do not hear anyone saying that there are "too many dogs" or that "something needs to be done". Nor do these stories usually make the national headlines, because they are common. In Yellowstone, for example, I am told that your chance of being struck by lightning or being killed by a bear are about the same! Millions of people visit our parks and forests every year. A few dozen are injured by wildlife. Let's put this into perspective.

Very well stated, Frank C. Wildlife attacks in national parks resulting in serious injury or death are rare. A park visitor is far more likely to be injured or killed by auto accidents, severe weather, falling, rock falls, dehydration, etc. The most important thing to remember about wild animals is that they are wild. The less wild they are the more likely they are to be involved in confrontations with humans.

I spend every day in the Smokies hiking and see bear numerous times a day during the "hot" bear season.

I finally broke down and bought a can of bear spray based upon the length of time I solo hike deep in backcountry.

I just learned that it is ILLEGAL to have bear spray in the GSMNP as well as most other national parks.

The full details are here: http://yoursmokies.blogspot.com/2009/04/is-bear-pepper-spray-legal-or-illegal.html

Don't break weapons laws on federal land!

Christopher Hibbard
SmokiesHiker for YourSmokies
http://www.YourSmokies.com

Christopher, that's an interesting issue you've shed some light on, and one the Traveler will definitely look into. Here in the West park officials routinely recommend bear spray. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Bear spray is ILLEGAL ?? That's insanity. I can understand people's points that don't want to allow concealed firearms in Parks, but I can NOT understand banning bear spray. Please, let's verify this Kurt :)

If bear spray is illegal ... I need to know. I'm planning a visit with my son in June and was planning on having some spray with me. Whatz the official word ??

This is the latest word as of about an hour ago: Bear Spray is illegal BUT it's up to each ranger if they want to change you with having it or not.

The official park statement in writing is here: http://yoursmokies.blogspot.com/2009/05/great-smoky-mountains-national-park_12.html

well evan was my boyfriend and i am not kidding he does come to my neighborhood a couple times a week and i am so sad that he got attack but now he only has scares and he has recovered fine oh yeah just so you know he lost six pints of blood

When a bear attacks a human, you kill the bear. It's as simple as that. Yes, they are magnificant animals and I love them too, but this bear was obviously trying to eat the 8 year old boy. I bring Bear Spray and a 12 ga slug gun with me when I go into bear country. I'm not looking for an encounter with a bear and I certainly don't plan to hurt an animal, but I have an 8 year old son too and there's no way I'm not going to be prepared to protect my family.

okayy anonymous...i want you to put your self in the shoes of that boy that was attacked.... you would want any bear killed if that had happened to you. and care about the bears...they shouldnt be attacking people... many stories that i have read, its little children being attacked and many people have been mauled to death... they say that many times the bear has consumed most the body before emergency personal can get there in time to shoot the bear.
no one should ever have to go through an attack of any kind like that.. there is no way of getting out of a bear attack...you cant climb a tree because they are expert climbers, you cant swim because they will get you... and you can't run because they will defiantly catch you.... just be aware of your surroundings....i recommend a knife on your person (doubt it will help but its better than nothing), pepper spray (if you honestly live that long and get to be that close to a bear), and good luck for all those people going into bear country.... your in my prayers (risk takers and people who have suffered or who have had people suffer). thanks for your time.... go have an adventure!!!

Are you serious? A boy was attacked. Maybe the bear was in the boys territory

You are so right!! It's really unfortunate that the young bear was put down. I am glad the young boy is okay! It is rarely heard of that a black bear "a young one" at that would be that aggressive. Being from K-town/Smoky Mountain area i never heard that before. Kinda different... walking upon a momma bear protecting her cubs is what i watch out for. But, it all goes back to what you said... be aware of your surroundings and, don't approach the bears (or any wildlife). Respect their territory! Thankful the boy is okay and, sad for the bear!

Not sure i should be making a comment/post since i only read a few of the comments above but, i will keep it short and to the point. I am from Knoxville born and raised here. One thing through the years i have noticed while in Cades Cove or hiking on the trails is.. the ones who approach the bears are Not from here. Education is the point i am trying to get across here. Never approach any wild life! Stop trying to to get that close up picture of the bears etc.! I have been all across the States and, other Countries. ...Including the Rockies... Respect and Educate yourself on wild life. It's not my intention to offend Anyone but, i just hate to see things happen that could have been prevented!
Enjoy your stay in the Smokies or where ever you visit but, educate yourself on your surroundings.
Blessings to all!

Hi,

A wild animal is a wild animal, and human life comes first, if attacked by a wild animal, or the wild animal is in a residential home area, kill it. "Again the lives, and safety of people come first", "No Politically Correct Liberial Answer Here".