TWRA urges BearWise practices after removing pet feeder from bear cub’s head

Published 2:06 pm Thursday, October 5, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

MARYVILLE – The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is emphasizing the importance of BearWise practices following a successful operation to free a bear cub from a plastic pet feeder.
The saga began on August 14 when a Chilhowee Lake resident reported a sow bear and four cubs on her porch, one of which had a container stuck on its head. TWRA Black Bear Support Biologist Janelle Musser responded, launching a trapping effort to rescue the cub.
Several attempts were made to capture the cub, but the contraption hindered its efforts to trigger the trap. Then, on Tuesday night, after a lengthy entrapment, the cub was found in a tree, allowing Musser to dart the animal and remove the container. Musser stressed that darting bears in trees is an emergency measure.
The bear cub, while relatively unharmed, serves as a reminder of the importance of BearWise practices. Garbage, birdseed, and pet food attract bears to residential areas. At this time of year, bears are seeking high-calorie meals to prepare for winter, making attractants even more appealing. Residents are urged to secure garbage, remove birdfeeders, and limit pet feeding times to prevent human-bear conflicts. More information on bear safety is available at

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox