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TWRA: Man hurt after black bear enters Gatlinburg rental cabin, bear caught and euthanized

The bear entered the cabin through a set of locked, but not dead-bolted, French doors, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — A man vacationing in a Gatlinburg cabin was injured by a black bear that entered the home in the middle of the night Saturday, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

TWRA said the incident occurred at a rental cabin in the "downtown vicinity" after 11 p.m. The man walked into the kitchen to find that the bear had entered through a set of locked, but not dead-bolted, French doors. 

The bear charged the man and swatted at him—causing serious injuries to his face and the top of his head. The bear also scratched him across his back as he went into a bedroom where he locked himself in and called 911, TWRA said. 

Police and EMS responded to the scene, but the man refused medical treatment. The man was later driven by family members to a local hospital where he was treated and released, according to TWRA. 

A trap was set at the scene and a bear fitting the description was caught and euthanized early Sunday afternoon. The bear was a 2 or 3-year-old female, without cubs, weighing 209 pounds. Hair samples were sent for DNA analysis and her claws were swabbed for human hemoglobin testing. The results are expected this week, TWRA said. 

TWRA explained that wildlife officers had not received any recent reports of bear complaints in this specific area, however, numerous bears inhabit Gatlinburg and other cities around the park. 

Black bears habituated to human or other unnatural foods sometimes enter homes and vehicles in search of food. TWRA encourages people living or vacationing in bear-inhabited areas to: 

  • Never feed or approach bears 
  • Secure food, garbage and recycling
  • Remove bird feeders when bears are active
  • Never leave pet food outdoors 
  • Clean and store grills 
  • Alert neighbors to bear activity

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