Sleepy bear, hungry bears


Sportsman photographer records bruins’ antics in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Photographer Rick Small is a frequent visitor to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where his camera fills up regularly with some beautiful images of whitetail deer, wild turkey and black bear. In one of his visits earlier this fall, Small slipped up on a several bears — one sleeping and several digging for food — and instead of snapping photos, he set his camera to record the video that’s shared here for you.

With bear season in full swing in some parts of North Carolina and reopening in other parts in a couple of weeks, the video is a great reminder of how privileged Tarheel State hunters are to have one of the nation’s best populations of black bear, in terms of numbers and, in the eastern third of the state, in terms of some of the nation’s biggest bruins.

So enjoy the video.

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Rick Small
About Rick Small 3 Articles
Rick Small of Rock Hill, S.C., is one of the nation’s leading wildlife photographers. His work has appeared in regional and national magazines, and he is a regular contributor to Carolina Sportsman. See more of his work at