North Carolina residents beware – you may want to watch where you pitch your tent this spring.

Rangers have issued a warning in the Panthertown trail area of the Nantahala National Forest in Jackson County due to increased black bear activity. Food has been stolen from campers and hikers in the trail area, and frequent sightings of the dangerous creatures have led the U.S. Forest Service to recommend no one camp in Panthertown until June 1.

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Though no one has been injured by a bear this season, a camper’s tent was shredded by one of the animals as it hunted for food, and there have been numerous encounters in the Western North Carolina mountains.

As always, the Service cautions campers to never store food in tents and to keep any scented or edible items in a bear-proof container or from a rope on a tree. As the weather warms and food becomes more naturally available in the forest, the bears should become less aggressive. For now, however, hikers should be on their guard.

If you are confronted by one of these furry giants, you should never turn and run. A better strategy is to back away slowly and make as much noise as possible.

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