Authorities found a bear in the same trap where they detected paw prints on Saturday in the remote Cherokee National Forest Chilhowee Recreation Area, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Sharon Moore said.
The bear looked to be the same weight as the 350- to 400-pound bear that attacked a mother and her two children on a trail in the recreation area on Thursday, she said.
"We're very hopeful this is the bear," Moore said. "It's basically the same size bear. There's truly not that many bears in the 5,000 acres we have closed off."
Moore said authorities planned to euthanize the bear on Sunday and send its body to the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville to determine whether it was the one that had attacked the family.
Authorities also will keep all roads and trails leading into the recreation area closed off until the school's report is issued.
A bear attacked and killed Elora Petrasek Thursday afternoon as she and her family were leaving a waterfall pool on a rugged, 1,800-foot-high mountaintop, about 10 miles from the nearest highway.