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Lots of nuts and berries in Smokies good for bears

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - Wildlife experts expect fewer nuisance bears in East Tennessee this fall because a good crop of nuts and berries in the Smokies should prevent them from ranging in search of food.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Biologist Bill Stiver told the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1uNRjrj) acorns from red oaks and chestnut oaks appear to be plentiful. White oak acorns are also abundant in some parts of the Smokies. Those are preferred by deer and bears.

Stiver called the wild cherry crop "unbelievable" this year. He noted that the cherries help tide the bears over in August and early September before they make the transition to acorns.

The bumper crop comes as wildlife is still recovering from 2011, one of the worst years for nut-and-berry production in the park's history.

Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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