Acorn failure in GSMNP has bears on the move searching for food

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers say an acorn failure has bears on the hunt for food. Several have died as a result.

File photo

Rangers say bears are moving into developed areas, and you may see them all the way into Sevierville.

When food is scarce the bears go hunting, and it's also dangerous for them as they migrant further outside the park. Reports show the bears have gone further than normal looking for secondary foods as they get ready for the winter.

Park rangers say five bears have died in two weeks inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park alone after being hit by cars.

"And slow down as they are traveling the park roadways. Just to be on the lookout for wildlife crossing," said Great Smoky Mountains National Park spokesperson Dana Soehn. "We understand there have been a lot of roadkill outside the park as well. And they've also been moving further out the park to try to find some of those scarce resources. So we're seeing a lot more movement right now of bears."

The park is asking folks to put those food attractants up like bird feeders or pet food. Soehn says food needs to be secured even in areas where you don't normally see bears.

Without the normal acorn availability, bears are feasting on hickory nuts as they get ready for the winter hibernation.