The Emmy Award winning television show produced by RockWater, LLC

Counting Black Bears

For hundreds of years, the black bear has captured the imagination of historians, storytellers and tourists in Tennessee. Legends about the bear have been handed down since the day of Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone. Once plentiful across Tennessee, black bears have been limited to East Tennessee primarily due to overhunting. Now, the animal is making a comeback thanks to new conservation and hunting guidelines. Its numbers are increasing, as is its habitat, which is causing bears to turn up in some interesting places. Wild Side Guide Alan Griggs shows us how the TWRA is trying to track and count black bears through some modern-day research methods.

Most of the sampling sites scattered throughout the Big South Fork area were visited by black bears, many more than once. After collecting samples over a two-month period, the bear hairs were taken and studied. The results found there were 124 different bears that visited the sites…60 male and 64 female…a higher than expected number of individual bears that has astonished everyone.

To learn more about black bears and the work being done to manage them in Tennessee, visit this TWRA link or this one from the National Park Service.  For more on the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, visit

From show 2510.