ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Jody Williams started Help Asheville Bears because of a bear named Peaches.

What You Need To Know

  • According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the bear population is increasing in Asheville and Buncombe County

  • As we approach warmer weather, you may see more bears in the mountain region 
  • Bear hunting is legal in season, but hunting season is different in every region of North Carolina   
  • Click here for more information on safety tips and information on sharing a habitat with bears


“She spent almost every day on my property. She was very safe there, she napped there and nursed there. ... Sorry this is hard. ... She went missing for about a month,” Williams said, recounting life with Peaches.

When she returned, something was different.

“Peaches was emaciated, and she was missing half of her right limb,” Williams said.

He then started learning more about all the illegal activities threatening bears, like poaching.

“Somebody had to stand up and do something because all it takes for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing,” Williams said.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission says bear reproduction in Asheville is higher today than in previous years and the amount of “human-provided foods” is also higher. 

“We saw a need for co-existence for these bears, for people to get educated because we do have a lot of bears now," Williams said.

Williams points out a few things you can do to keep safe: no bird feeders until wintertime, secure your trash, pick up fruit around fruit trees, if possible. Also, if you see a bear, don’t approach it. And don’t feed bears.

“Just because you see a bear doesn’t mean it’s a dangerous thing. Since the year 1870, there’s only been 67 fatalities from a black bear,” Williams said.

What do you do if a bear approaches you?

“Make noise. Human noises always make the bear leery or run off. Stand up and look big, a black bear is a timid creature, and it’s going to run from you typically, or run up a tree, and don’t go towards the bear, walk away,” Williams said.

Bears in Asheville are also having cubs at a younger age and larger litters.

Bear hunting season is different in every region of the state. However, you can only hunt one bear a year with a tag and hunting license.