The man, whose name wasn't immediately available, let the bear get within inches of him Wednesday while hiking the Laurel Falls Trail, park spokeswoman Nancy Gray said. He didn't need treatment.
Park rangers believe they've caught the bear, a 60-pound female captured Thursday, Gray said. They'll kill it once they confirm it's the same one.
Park policy decrees an automatic death sentence for any bear that injures a human. Park officials said they're seeing more hungry, aggressive bears this year, probably due to a scarce acorn crop.
The article has generated, at current count, 119 comments including this entertaining anecdote.
I didn't realize there was an automatic death sentence [for bears who attack humans]. My wife and I were in the Smokies last year. Several kids [were] chasing a couple of cubs through the woods, I knew Mama wasn't too far away. I was trying to tell them it wasn't a good idea (from a goodly distance away). Then their Dad jumps in "Whudduyuh doin'?! There just havin' fon! Dem beers won't hoit 'em will dey?" I said "You ain't from around here are you? Where are y'all from?" "Noo Joisey." I said "Nah, they'll be fine. Do you have any more family members that might be able to help them catch those cute little fellers?"
Another commenter suggests the man may have approached the bear because he "was just trying to apologize to [it] for global warming -- apology not accepted."
No word on whether the tourist has retained a slip-and-fall lawyer to sue the bear and the park.
See, folks, this is what happens when you allow Democrats to visit wildlife refuges without chaperones.