Hungry bear finds trove of beef jerky at shelter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A hungry bear prowling through a shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park scored big Wednesday night as it found a cache of beef jerky in a backpack, officials said.

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Park officials have temporarily closed the Mt. LeConte backcountry shelter because of aggressive young male bears since Oct. 5, WBIR reported. The Mt. LeConte Lodge remains open, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"Since October 5, we've had a series of incidents in the area involving property damage where young male bears have attempted to enter buildings associated with the lodge and also the backcountry shelter in search of food and garbage," park spokeswoman Dana Soehn wrote in an email to the newspaper Thursday.

Park officials trapped two bears and fitted them with GPS collars, Soehn said.

However, a third bear foraging through garbage and dirty laundry near the lodge was able to break into the shelter and find some beef jerky in a backpack, WBIR reported.

"Out of an abundance of caution ... we decided to temporarily close the backcountry shelter at this time," Soehn wrote to the News Sentinel. "Our staff and the LeConte Lodge staff will attempt to capture the bear responsible for this latest incident and we will continue to monitor the situation and reopen the area as soon as feasible."

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