The sacred animal that walks like a man

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in an April 2003 edition of The Smoky Mountain News.

Bears have always held a special attraction for human beings. In a chapter titled “Killing the Sacred Bear” in his monumental study The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (1922), Sir James George Frazer traced the reverence for bears among the Ainu people of Japan and the Gilyats in Siberia. 

Cherokee council votes to extend dog running season

fr dogsrunningBear hunters on the Qualla Boundary may be able to run their dogs through tribal reserve land for a full half year following contentious discussion and a divided vote in Cherokee Tribal Council this month. 

Shelter at bear attack site now open

black bearNearly a month after an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker found his night interrupted by an attacking bear, the backcountry shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where the incident occurred is open once more.

Glad to be alive: Bear bite victim tells his story

out frThe sun had not quite set when Bradley Veeder fell asleep in his tent May 10, feeling “tired but happy” after a 17-mile day on the Appalachian Trail.

The 49-year-old Montana native was no stranger to trail life, having more than 20 years’ experience backpacking in places ranging from Wyoming to Oregon to Nepal, and he’d been putting in 15- to 20-mile days ever since starting his A.T. thru-hike April 30. Sound sleep was an important part of the recipe. 

Wrong bear euthanized in Smokies incident

black bearThe case of a 400-pound bear euthanized after a hiker in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was bitten in the leg appears to have been a wrongful conviction. DNA results delivered Monday (May 23) showed that the bear that bit 49-year-old Bradley Veeder, of Las Vegas, on May 10 and the one that park staff euthanized May 13 were two different animals.

Predatory attack or ill-fated dinner search?

black bearThe Great Smoky Mountains National Park is terming an incident that left a Las Vegas man with a puncture wound in his leg a predatory bear attack, but Bill Lea, a renowned wildlife photographer who’s spent years observing bears in the wild, says he’s not buying it.

Bear euthanized following backcountry bite

black bearCampers at the Spence Field Appalachian Trail Shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park spent a harrowing evening in the backcountry May 10, huddling together for protection as a big black bear roamed the site. Around 11:16 p.m. that evening, it had approached a tent occupied by 49-year-old Bradley Veeder, of Las Vegas, biting the man’s leg through the canvas, then repeatedly returning to the area to snuffle through the then-empty tents.

Of bears and bees

out natcornI am not nearly so frustrated with my black oil sunflower seed-addicted bruin neighbor as I was after his little escapade last Friday morning around 2 a.m. I was trying to finish some writing before I left for my pre-dawn “day job” when I heard some noise on the deck. I had chased a raccoon away the night before and figured it was back. But the noise had a little more substance to it. Bear, I thought.

Gaming the system: Hunters snared in Operation Something Bruin claim legal proceedings were unjust

fr bruinBy Katie Reeder • SMN Intern

Hunters accused in a sweeping bear poaching sting in Western North Carolina have turned the tables on wildlife officers and prosecutors, tarnishing an operation that was initially trumpeted as a victorious round-up of rouge hunters.

Bear hunting guide brought down after failing to rein in reckless ‘client’

fr bruinBy Katie Reeder • SMN Intern

When Chad Arnold pulled into War Paint Kennels during fall bear season in 2011, Jerry Parker pegged him as just another flat-lander willing to fork out big dough to bag a bear.

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