SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is investigating after a man was reportedly attacked by a bear on an island on South Holston Lake.

TWRA spokesperson Matthew Cameron told News Channel 11 on Tuesday that officers were investigating after a man reported being dragged from a hammock while camping on the island.

TWRA reports that victim Matt Marvin was camping at an “undeveloped campsite” across from the 421 Access Area.

Marvin was asleep in a hammock early Sunday morning when he woke up to a bear biting his foot.

Marvin told investigators he defended himself by shooting at the bear.

Later Sunday evening, TWRA says that Marvin reported the incident to Washington County, Virginia 911 and told TWRA about the encounter on Monday.

TWRA reports that Marvin gave them a photo of the injury, which showed “a small wound to the heel of his foot.”

A dead or injured bear was not found at the campsite, nor did investigators find any sign of one.

TWRA reports human food was left behind at the campsite, and a warning of bear activity has been left in the area.

TWRA reminds campers of the following advice to limit bear encounters:

  • Do not store food in your tent.
  • Cook 100 yards from your tent.
  • Clean the cooking area thoroughly.
  • Don’t sleep in the clothes you wore when cooking.
  • Store food, trash, lotions, toothpaste, and deodorant in a hardtop vehicle with windows closed and doors locked OR a bear-resistant container OR suspended in a tree 100 yards from sleeping area.

This is a developing story. Look for updates tonight on News Channel 11 and online at