Two unsuspecting cabin renters encountered an uninvited guest: an East Tennessee black bear that brought friends.
While renting a cabin usually sounds like a great getaway, there's always the potential for risk. The accommodations could be less than perfect, the location may not be great, and it may be easier than normal for black bears to break in.
That last risk factor played out in real life for two women on vacation recently in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. While their husbands were out golfing, Michelle Eberhart and a friend stumbled upon a young black bear that made its way through a locked door and into the small rental cabin.
All the while, three more bears rummaged through belongings on the porch, and ended up doing some damage to the vacation supplies Eberhart and company had brought along.
The women were able to close themselves off from danger in the safety of a bedroom, but that left an opportunity for the ransacking to commence.
"They got five pounds of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and a pound of M&M's and two pounds of Sour Patch Kids and two bags of potato chips... two beers and two Diet Cokes and about 20 Zyrtecs," Eberhart said.
That's a haul! It's unfortunate that the incident likely indicates these bears are semi-comfortable with human presence, and know that dwellings can often lead to food. Authorities were called, and police helped get the bear out of the cabin and the others removed from the premises. Recovery of the stolen items seemed unlikely (since it was almost entirely in these bears' stomachs).
For more content, WATE spoke with a representative of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
"It's really not typical bear behavior for them to come on to someone's porch and start looking for food. That means those bears have been around humans and have received handouts or have found a food source around a dwelling," TWRA spokesperson Matt Cameron said.
Eberhart did the right thing by keeping her distance and promptly calling authorities, as is recommended by the TWRA. Something like bear spray isn't always at hand, and isn't 100% effective, either. Know what to do if you experience a close encounter with a bear, and make sure to never initiate it yourself.
We're just left wondering what could have possibly been going through the cabin owner's mind when they got that call!