I saw my tenth black bear a few days ago, off Route 60 south, just past mile 10. I was just a short distance off Hwy 60, on the Forest Service road that goes past the old fountain (first left if you’re headed south, just past the switchbacks). I think it’s FS 644. It was a young bear, and it had a red tag in it’s ear. I gather that this is a DNR bear survey, because I found an article online where someone had “harvested” a bear with the same tag, at least judging from the photo.
If anyone knows anything about those red tags, or for that matter, knows anything about that weird fountain, please let me know. There must have been a pretty substantial home place there years ago.
Then I found an article on a large bear survey centered in Western North Carolina, where they are using a technique that may be replacing the catch, tag, release, recapture method of survey. Essentially, they lay out some barbed wire and hang a bag of donuts, and then analyze the DNA captured on the wire.
Here’s the article from the Smoky Mountain News, which by the way, is asking for contributions as it’s advertising revenue is way down, and they provide their content for free: