As the weather starts to warm up, black bears are starting to emerge from their winter dens.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says there have been many bear sightings recently in East Tennessee, including in the Greeneville and Tusculum areas.

The agency is asking people living in mountainous areas to remove any food source that might attract bears like bird feeders or outdoor pet food, and also advises keeping trash in a secured bear resistant container.

TWRA offers these tips for people living or vacationing in bear country:

  • Never feed or approach bears.
  • Do not store food, garbage or recyclables in areas accessible to bears.
  • Remove bird feeders where bears are active.
  • Feed outdoor pets a portion size that will be completely consumed during each meal and securely store pet foods.
  • Keep grills and smokers clean and stored in a secure area when not in use.
  • Talk to family and neighbors when bear activity is occurring in your area.