Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency investigating bear sighting in South Holston Lake area

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers are investigating a reported bear encounter that occurred at an undeveloped campsite on South Holston Lake in Sullivan County.

Wildlife officers said that Matt Marvin of Abingdon, Virginia was camping at an undeveloped campsite along South Holston Lake across the lake from the 421 Access Area. Early Sunday morning, Marvin was asleep in a hammock when he said he was awakened by a bear biting his foot. Marvin said that he defended himself by shooting at the bear.

Around 10 p.m. Sunday, Marvin reported the incident to Washington County, Virginia 911 and contacted TWRA at 4 p.m., Monday. Marvin provided a picture of the injury showing a small wound to the heel of his foot. TWRA has investigated the campsite and has not located a dead or injured bear or any sign of a dead or injured bear. Wildlife officers did however document a lot of human foods left behind at the campsite.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is posting a warning about bear activity in the area.

As of Monday night, Marvin told officers that he had not sought medical attention but plans on getting the minor injury looked at.

While camping, people should take these special precautions to reduce bear encounters:

• Do not store food in your tent.

• Cook 100 yards from your tent.

• Clean the cooking area thoroughly.

• Don’t sleep in the clothes you wore when cooking.

• Store food, trash, lotions, toothpaste and deodorant in a hardtop vehicle with windows closed and doors locked or a bear-resistant container or suspended in a tree 100 yards from sleeping area.

To see an illustration about properly storing foods while camping and to learn more about reducing bear-human interactions, visit BearWise.org

The incident remains under investigation by TWRA.