A group of stunned tourists saw the darker side of the Great Smoky Mountains on Tuesday, when a black bear and a wild hog tore into each other along a road near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Multiple motorists stopped to watch, the video shows, including some who parked within feet of the battle.
Avid hunter Philip Talbot was among them, and he is heard in his video warning others in his group not to get out of the vehicle.
“This is unbelievable. This is crazy,” Talbot says in the video. “Man, he’s got blood all in his mouth. ... He about got his whole neck bit off.”
Talbot, who lives in Satsuma, Alabama, says his group spent five hours Tuesday touring Cades Cove inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but the best part of the trip was “by the store” watching the bear-wild hog fight.
They were headed back to Gatlinburg when he spotted what “we thought it was a bear with a cub until we got close.” Both lanes of traffic were eventually at a standstill as drivers stopped to watch, he told WATE.
The two animals were clearly exhausted as the fight stretched on, but the bear refused to give up, the video shows. The hog is eventually seen dazed and paralyzed in a ditch of muddy water, while the bear stands victoriously atop the slope.
“I think the battle is over. He’s going to come back and eat it later,” Talbot says in the video.
The Great Smoky Mountains region is home to an estimated 1,500 black bears, which can weigh nearly 600 pounds as they put on weight for winter hibernation, according to the National Park Service.
European wild hogs are an invasive species and “one of the most direct threats to the black bear,” due to food source competition, NPS officials report. Wild hogs in the area grow to around 125 pounds and can stand “3 feet tall at the shoulder,” according to YourSmokies.com.