Photo: The black bear population in and around the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is nearly as dense as the black bear population in the Great Smoky Mountains
Scott County is home to a wide variety of wildlife, attracting hunters from across East Tennessee.
Whitetail deer, wild turkey, wild boar, black bear and elk are found throughout Scott County as the area’s big game animals. Wild boar have recently migrated to the North Cumberland WMA after being present in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area for generations. Elk were reintroduced in the North Cumberland WMA in 2000 after vanishing from Tennessee in the 1800s. Black bear were reintroduced in the Big South Fork NRRA in the 1990s and have seen spread throughout the county.
A wide variety of small game and upland game birds are also native to the area. Gray squirrels, fox squirrels, red squirrels, flying squirrels and ground squirrels (chipmunks) are present in abundance, while cottontail rabbits, river otters, woodchuck, beavers and a variety of other wildlife are present as well. Ruffled grouse can be heard drumming their mating calls on spring mornings in Scott County woodlands while the familiar call of the bobwhite quail can be heard on farmlands throughout the county. Occasionally, a ringneck pheasant is sighted.
Birds of prey are found in abundance in Scott County, most notably the redtail hawk. Barred owls are common as well, and bald eagles are occasionally sighted.
Other predators native to the area include bobcats, red and gray foxes and coyotes.