There are over 7000 black bears in Western North Carolina! They can smell food 5 miles away. It will not stay in a settled area unless it finds a reliable food source. Once they find food, they remember it forever and that location will be on their daily rounds.
Black bears are very smart! They remember their food sources and are not afraid to enter your home or your car for a meal. Keep all doors locked! They love bird food too! They can also remember when you put your trash out to within 5 minutes!!!!!
If you are one of the lucky people to have encountered the bear, observe it at a safe distance and appreciate the opportunity to see one of North Carolina's largest native mammals.
Don’t run away. Make the bear aware of your presence speaking in an assertive voice, clap your hands, wave your arms above your head to try to make yourself look bigger and make a lot of noise.
Back up and slowly walk away.
Keep children nearby.
Keep pets locked up.
Don’t approach a bear.
Never surround or corner a bear.
If you happen to meet a bear at close range, back away slowly and make lots of noise.
Never feed bears or any wild animals, even if they look hungry or tame.
Take extra precautions not to feed bears accidentally —bears are attracted to garbage, food scraps, pet food and many other forms of human food. Keep such foods locked away from bears in strong, safe places.
Bears that wander into a residential area are sometimes frightened by dogs or residents and climb trees. Keep people away from the scene and the bear will come down and leave when it no longer feels threatened (often after dark).
(This section courtesy: NC Department of Resources Commission - Wildlife)