'Go! Go!': Tennessee man scares away black bear trapped in his car

A man on vacation with friends in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, found a black bear invader that broke into his car and caused significant damage.

Video captured on July 10 shows Joseph Deel slowly opening the damaged vehicle door and yelling at the bear to get out of the driver’s seat. "Go on! Go! Go! Go!" Deel and others can be heard yelling. 

The bear then steps out of the car and briefly looks around before making its way back into the woods. But Deel told Storyful the furry invader later returned with another bear.

"She attempted to get back inside my car," Deel said. "I went back outside and yelled at the bear and threw things at her. The two bears then proceeded to leave the car and moved to the backyard of the cabin we were staying [in]."

While the bears eventually left with no trouble, the damage caused to Deel’s car caused it to break down while driving back to his home in Johnson City, located about 100 miles northeast of Gatlinburg.

"I had to abandon the car," he said. "Insurance took two days to get a tow truck to my car. In that time looters broke into my car via a back window and stole my catalytic converter, battery, and exhaust manifold. Insurance cut my car as a loss and totaled it."


A screengrab from the video shows the black bear briefly looking at the group yelling and shouting for the animal to exit the car on July 10, 2021, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Credit: Joseph Deel via Storyful)

The black bear population in Tennessee has been estimated at around 7,000, according to research by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Black bears are rarely aggressive toward people and typically go out of their way to avoid contact. But as human development continues and bear numbers increase, the agency says "occasional interactions will be unavoidable."

Bears have an incredible sense of smell and are often lured by food attractants, such as garbage, human food, pet food and bird feeders. Wildlife experts say to store all such items in secured areas away from bears, and keep grills and smokers clean when not in use. 

For individuals who encounter a black bear, it’s advised to "make your presence known" by yelling and shouting in an attempt to scare the animal away, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

"If a bear is reluctant to leave then proceed to throw rocks or other objects at the bear while continuing to yell. Portray yourself as the dominant animal and do not back down. If a bear is close enough that you feel uncomfortable, slowly back away, continuing to yell while watching the bear at all times. Never run from a black bear as this may trigger a natural response to chase," the agency states on its website. 

This story was reported from Cincinnati.