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Blaise W 09-28-2012 08:47 PM

Bear Country Camping
We don't have much of a bear problem down here in Texas, other than Big Bend that is. It's not a real problem there either since there are few around. Up north in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, etc., that's a different story. On my recent trip we only camped once, at Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument, but there were signs posted warning of bear activity in the area. I didn't get a lot of sleep that night, and neither did my son who was set up next to me. We also passed close to an area west of Yellowstone where a camper was recently pulled out of their tent, killed, and eaten. Other campers nearby were attacked at the same time by several other bears traveling with the sow who was responsible for the fatality.

My question is, for those who camp in such areas regularly, what do you to get a good nights sleep? I know the odds are against having any encounters, but then some have had several in close succession. I keep bear spray handy, but if you are in your sleeping bag, inside your tent, and it's pitch black when your are grabbed from outside, what good is it going to do. You'll never get a chance to use it, even if you can find it! Is there an answer, or do you just play the odds and try to put it out of your mind.

Minisquatch 09-28-2012 08:59 PM

Find the tent furthest away from you an put hot dogs under it. :D
Seriously, store food outside and away from your tent and wash any food or fish smells off of your person, leave your dirty clothes outside the tent especially if you have been cooking. A clean camp is a safe camp. And it never hurts to "mark" nthe trees outside your camp to let the bears know you are there.

kantuckid 09-30-2012 07:11 AM

Most of us that camp in bear country are still around.:D I think your odds are pretty good unless you do something utterly stupid.

Flashmo 09-30-2012 04:12 PM

You won't keep the bears away...bears are bears...

Keep a clean camp and 95% of your problems are taken care of. Cook away from the tent, store food away from the tent, brush your teeth away from the tent, apply deodorant away from the tent, keep sweaty riding gear away from the tent.

...make sure you can run faster than your riding partner...if you have one.

bikerfish 09-30-2012 04:19 PM

common sense, don't sleep in clothes you cook in, don't keep clothes, food, toiletries, etc in your tent. use food lockers where available. I camped for a few nights last year off the beartooth hwy, LOTS of warning signs. we were the only people in the campground. we used the food lockers and used common sense. no bears. we DID have bear spray if it was needed, but I think the trout slayer ale did a better job of letting me get a good nights sleep!

oldmanb777 09-30-2012 04:48 PM

All good ideas. I just make sure NO smelly stuff that a bear might think is tasty. That includes all toiletries. Use the bear containers, and keep a clean camp. I would also say that plenty of human order will detract most bears. They would like to avoid you more than you want to avoid them. Personally, I know of only a few bears who prefer peper on thier on thier meal.:rofl
I have been trying my best to train the bears in my state to go after only the ones who have that funny 1 star on thier lic plate. But again they seem to prefer less peper.

FotoTEX 09-30-2012 05:22 PM

Be nice to us Texan's as part of your state was once part of OUR COUNTRY. We an always take it back. Easily.

jimmydeanh 09-30-2012 05:34 PM

I do all that stuff away from the tent, about 15/20 yards, but I'm just curious how far everyone else does:ear

Sport 09-30-2012 05:43 PM

All good information regarding the smells that attract bears but despite the external precautions that can be taken, bears are bears so something small, accessible and of high caliber comes to mind...just in case.

BigDogAdventures 09-30-2012 05:45 PM

I sympathize with your fears------------I've lost many a night of sleep worrying about bears and hearing noises.
I've had nights I just couldn't shake it.
It's really no fun when that happens---------but I don't let it stop me from going.
In BC and Alaska me and my buddy packed bear spray--------never used it.
And in the states my buddy carries a loaded 40 caliber automatic on his hip.
Makes me feel a lot better-------we've been traveling out West mostly and it's been legal in those states.
He's been asked twice tho to take it outside where they served liquor-------as that is illegal.
Just a couple weeks ago we got pulled over for having our headlights off and his gun was right
out for all to see----------I'm sure the officer had to see it----------he never mentioned it.
So a gun is a possibility for you here is the states------the ones it's legal in-------I have no idea which ones that is.
I know he's carried it in Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
That's where we seem to hang out-------that's where all the best riding is in the country.

And looky here: this mean old grizzly ate somebody----along with his Gerber LMFII survival knife and can of bear spray.


dutchjohn 09-30-2012 07:18 PM

Keep a clean camp
Isn't it ironic that the food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever?

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to "PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS" because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.
:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl :rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl

aquadog 09-30-2012 08:09 PM

As others have said, keep a clean camp, cook away from the tent (say, 100') and better yet, consider cooking early, riding a bit further and then pitching camp. Nothing in the tent but a water bottle and bear spray, no food whatsoever, no toiletries. Don't camp on what is clearly a bear trail, or where there is recent and plentiful sign - you'd be surprised how oblivious some campers are. I remember seeing a steaming pile that the urine was still draining away from. I decided to carry on as if I didn't know I'd just disturbed someone taking a's very unlikely you'll have a problem using common sense.

kantuckid 10-01-2012 07:00 AM


Originally Posted by FotoTEX (Post 19715238)
Be nice to us Texan's as part of your state was once part of OUR COUNTRY. We an always take it back. Easily.

Maybe, next, we can discuss "where did Texas come from"? :D

Blaise W 10-01-2012 10:13 AM


Originally Posted by kantuckid (Post 19718319)
Maybe, next, we can discuss "where did Texas come from"? :D

Ok, you got me. Some pretty good ones came from Kentucky....and never left.

Food, toiletries, etc., all stay away from the tent at night, but I typically don't keep my riding clothes or boots remote. It may be all I have to wear! If you are eating dehydrated food prepared with water from your jet boil I wonder if that would be an issue? And, does someone make unscented deodorant and toothpaste? I'll have to look at that.

Another thing to look at is a Ruger "Alaskan", 44 Mag. It looks like it is directed straight at defense against big game, up close and personal like. I seldom carry a weapon on my rides though I have plenty, in a number of calibers. Next time up north though, I think I will carry one of those Rugers and just hope that it never has to be used, and if it does, that it works. Meanwhile, this may be just as dangerous....

Merlin III 10-01-2012 10:33 AM


Originally Posted by blaisew (Post 19719671)
Meanwhile, this may be just as dangerous....

When was the last time you had one of those trying to get in your tent at night? Some bears do look for trouble. Moose are only a problem during rut season and when a mother is with calves.

Here is another thread on the subject:

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