By Paula Walter
Tom Sharpe, of Shady Valley, recently reported a large bear attacked his 300-pound pet donkey. The incident was caught on security camera. According to Sharpe, the bear was able to climb into the fenced-in area, attack the donkey several times before managing to drag the animal over the fence and off into the woods. “It was a very vicious attack,” said Sharpe.
An official from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), who responded to Sharpe’s phone call after discovering his donkey was missing, estimated the bear weighed over 600 pounds. “This attack was close to home,” Sharpe said. “It was a mere 50 to 75 feet from a window in the house.”
This isn’t the first bear attack on Sharpe’s property as he believes his goat was attacked and killed several months ago. Sharpe raised concerns that a large, 600 pound bear could attack humans. “I want people to understand there’s a potential for bears to be pretty dangerous,” he added. “People need to be aware.”
According to Sharpe, bears are not normally meat eaters, as they mostly consume nuts and berries. However, that’s not enough food to satisfy a 600-pound bear. During the winter months, Sharpe explained that bears wake up, go look for food before heading back into their den for more sleep. According to Sharpe, bears have been known to destroy crops for the cattle in Shady Valley. “They go into a cornfield,” he said. “They just sit and eat.”
According to Sharpe, he has been issued a kill permit by the TWRA to shoot one black bear on his property valid until January 6th. Permission to shoot the bear was given to six avid hunters who were named on the permit Sharpe received. “The bear has to be shot on my property,” he explained.
Sharpe explained that at one time, bears were relocated from the Gatlinburg area of the state and reintroduced them into the wild. According to Sharpe, others living in Shady Valley have also spotted black bears in the area and are concerned. One neighbor reported a bear came right up to her door and she discovered it peeking into a window. It has also been reported that bears have been spotted on the porches of some residents living in Shady Valley. Sharpe is hopeful that a representative from TWRA will come out and talk with local residents concerning the increase in the number of bears being spotted in Shady Valley.
“I’m a little reluctant as I used to wander in the woods,” Sharpe stated. “I’m a little bit cautious now.”