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Old 10-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #16
Merlin III
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I had a black bear in camp once and it is unsettling. This was my best advice in the referenced thread:
"Prevention is the best cure. Camping in groups, maintaining best practices with food, making noise to warn bears of your presence, and carrying bear spray. Using a large tent as opposed to a backpacking-one man tent is also wise. Bears have been known to grab the whole tent with the person in it. A larger tent with you sleeping in the middle of it may give you an extra second or two to cock that 45 and get one shot off.

As far as defensive weapons go, the Forest Service did an analysis and determined that, by far, bear spray was much more effective than firearms.

As for camping at campgrounds, I would definitely get a site in the middle of the campground or near the ranger's residence if there is one. The more people around between you and the bear, the better your chances are.

Here is another good site: http://www.udap.com/safety.htm
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Merlin III screwed with this post 10-01-2012 at 11:11 AM
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:06 AM   #17
Blaise W OP
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Yes, agree. This bull was right behind a cow with her calf. They trotted on thru, but the bull stopped for some threat consideration. He watched for about thirty seconds, then turned and trotted on thru the camp.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:17 AM   #18
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You stated anecdotally that a 'camper was recently dragged from his tent and eaten'. Define 'recent', with the drama around bears that may have been 5-10 yrs ago. Lose the hyperbole and it was more likely that the bear was looking for food, opened the tent, screaming panicked camper, defensive bear, dead camper. Unlikely he was eaten.

There is a web site that details every bear attack in North America. My Google isn't working right now, or I would find and post. The gist of what I gleaned is that; 1) Attacks are few and far between, 1-2 deaths per yr in all of N America. 2) Many are provoked, directly or indirectly.

Bears will go to unbelievable lengths to get a tiny morsel of food. In Glacier Park, serious bear country, even water bottles are required to be stored away from camp.

Do what ever makes you feel safe.

Safety is an illusion. You are riding a motorcycle...danger, duh.

I live in Idaho, have worked in the woods. I carry no active defence for bears. By the time you see a bear, they are often to close to do anything if they did turn aggressive. Most are running as soon as they are aware of a human. Try not to surpise them. They do get preoccupied when feeding, so it is possible, while riding a quiet cycle, to round a corner and see a bear. I hammer the brakes and let them move off. That is usually at a dead run in the opposite direction. They are very fast.

I surprised a black bear a couple weeks ago. Rounded a corner onto a fair straight section. A bear about 50 yds away, casually walking down the road. He stands up, wheels around and bounds into the brush. I didn't even have time to brake. Fast. I rode up to the spot where he jumped off the low side of the road, but he was gone. He was probably out there watching me, smelling the cookies on my breath.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:42 AM   #19
Merlin III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetourist View Post
You stated anecdotally that a 'camper was recently dragged from his tent and eaten'. Define 'recent', with the drama around bears that may have been 5-10 yrs ago. Lose the hyperbole and it was more likely that the bear was looking for food, opened the tent, screaming panicked camper, defensive bear, dead camper. Unlikely he was eaten.

There is a web site that details every bear attack in North America. My Google isn't working right now, or I would find and post. The gist of what I gleaned is that; 1) Attacks are few and far between, 1-2 deaths per yr in all of N America. 2) Many are provoked, directly or indirectly.

Bears will go to unbelievable lengths to get a tiny morsel of food. In Glacier Park, serious bear country, even water bottles are required to be stored away from camp.

Do what ever makes you feel safe.

Safety is an illusion. You are riding a motorcycle...danger, duh.

I live in Idaho, have worked in the woods. I carry no active defence for bears. By the time you see a bear, they are often to close to do anything if they did turn aggressive. Most are running as soon as they are aware of a human. Try not to surpise them. They do get preoccupied when feeding, so it is possible, while riding a quiet cycle, to round a corner and see a bear. I hammer the brakes and let them move off. That is usually at a dead run in the opposite direction. They are very fast.

I surprised a black bear a couple weeks ago. Rounded a corner onto a fair straight section. A bear about 50 yds away, casually walking down the road. He stands up, wheels around and bounds into the brush. I didn't even have time to brake. Fast. I rode up to the spot where he jumped off the low side of the road, but he was gone. He was probably out there watching me, smelling the cookies on my breath.
Here is the list of FATAL bear attacks up to 2010.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._North_America
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:43 PM   #20
Blaise W OP
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Here is a link to one attack this year, and a search will find a number of others, in Arizona, Canada, Alaska. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1891308.html

Right before my trip this year I heard on the news a story about a sow killing one man and her cubs attacking two other campers, all in thier tents I believe. Turns out this happened in 2010, and the bears were captured later and euthenized. Nevertheless, it's unsettling, and there are stories about increased bear attacks in Yellowstone. I'm not particularly worried about something like this while in a campground during the day, but I will readily admit to being worried while sleeping in my tent. Predatory attacks are still unusual, but they do happen. Get over it is the best advice I can give myself.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:20 PM   #21
Merlin III
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Bear protection may necessitate purchasing another Wolfman bag for the Bear Bangers, Bear Spray, air horn, Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag revolver, rope to hang food and cloths 200 feet away from camp, and for this http://www.udap.com/bearshock.htm


Hell, it is easier and your are guaranteed a good nights sleep if you get a motel when in real bear country.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:33 PM   #22
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Pull the trigger on the "bair horn" the guy at the sporting goods store sold you, while your in your tent.

You'll sleep perfect, cuz you won't hear chit for hours. DAMHIK
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:53 PM   #23
Hominid
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How to Sleep?

I've spent more than a few sleepless nights fixating on every little noise when I may as well have been unconscious.

Short of resorting to a hotel room while in bear country, following the advice on cooking and keeping a clean camp is a good start.

A friend of mine refers to the Glock 10mm I carry as a "sleep aid".
In practice, if a bear rips into my tent in the middle of the night my chances of getting off an effective shot are probably slim.

As for bear spray, yes, the experts say it's a better deterrent, but not very feasable to use while inside the tent while a bear is swatting at you from outside.

The key to peaceful sleep for me, I think, is to convince myself that I've done everything I can to minimize a bear's interest:

Follow guidelines for food and 'smelly' stuff.
Take the glock and bear spray 'sleep aids' to bed with me.
The 'sleep aids' may not help, but they do provide some peace of mind, real or imagined.
The glock is kept inside the sleeping bag along with a flashlight within emergency reach.

After that I put the earplugs in to keep me from fixating on every little noise and hope for the best.
If it's my day, well, it's my day.
In general, I think I'm probably safer sleeping in bear country than walking through certain urban areas.

A post dinner beverage or two and/or a little self medication doesn't hurt either

Having said that, I did recently spend one sleepless night at a CG in Oregon worrying about bears
As it turned out I had nothing to be concerned about.

A lot of good suggestions in this thread - take them to heart.

One note of caution - if you're going to carry heat make sure you understand the rules for each and every state you will be travelling through; and follow them. For example, are there restrictions on mag size? Weapons charges are a big deal and completely avoidable if you know the regs. I'm good in WA for concealed, but my cpl does not transfer over to many states. I can't carry in Cali like I can in WA.

Hominid screwed with this post 10-03-2012 at 08:04 PM
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:36 PM   #24
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I think non-lethal devices are better to have for two legged scum. Practice clean camping in bear country, that is usually enough. One time in all my years of back woods camping did a bear bother my tent. It was an adult black bear, I yelled at it, it pushed its nose on the tent, I pulled the hammer back on my sleep aid and took aim. The bear promptly left.

I guess the fellow knew what was coming next. If your going to use a firearm, choose one that will actually stop a bear, big or small. The Alaskan by Rugger is one in say at least .44 mag, better yet a .454 or a .480 cal. Or a 5 1/2" S&W .460, that has enough weight to tame such a hot round. Practice often.

I've found being ready and properly armed is enough usually. Never needed to pull the trigger yet. Its hard on the ears when you do.

Try not to tempt them in the first place. Thats a challenge when your smelling ripe though.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:55 PM   #25
Hominid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sagedrifter View Post
I think non-lethal devices are better to have for two legged scum. Practice clean camping in bear country, that is usually enough. One time in all my years of back woods camping did a bear bother my tent. It was an adult black bear, I yelled at it, it pushed its nose on the tent, I pulled the hammer back on my sleep aid and took aim. The bear promptly left.

I guess the fellow knew what was coming next. If your going to use a firearm, choose one that will actually stop a bear, big or small. The Alaskan by Rugger is one in say at least .44 mag, better yet a .454 or a .480 cal. Or a 5 1/2" S&W .460, that has enough weight to tame such a hot round. Practice often.

I've found being ready and properly armed is enough usually. Never needed to pull the trigger yet. Its hard on the ears when you do.

Try not to tempt them in the first place. Thats a challenge when your smelling ripe though.
Agree with everything here except maybe the philosophy on two legged scum

What works on a black bear might feel like a bee sting to a griz or brownie.
Good to know the population you're dealing with.

In the end, do everything you can to prepare, be smart about it - then feel good about it.
After that, you roll the dice - that's the reality.

Might as well sleep soundly - when it's time to wake up, you will!
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:34 AM   #26
charlesdarwin
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Interesting discussion. I see alot of the same in the hiker community. I just finished a thru-hike of the Appalacian Trail. In five and a half months I probably slept in a tent in black bear country a hundred nights. Saw a few bears, one pretty close and curious. Slept with my food the whole time. One thing, bears are smart and will go where the food is. You are more likely to get harassed by bears if you camp where people are, in other words, in established camp grounds.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:49 AM   #27
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Why not just install a string (fishing line) a few inches off the ground around the perimeter of your site as a trip line, connected to noise maker........pots and pans or whatever? Claymore mines, etc. Sleep tight!
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:05 AM   #28
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Bears are not your friend

Cliff note version: Some bears are not afraid of humans.

I have had an up close personal experience with an aggressive black bear in the dark of the night up in the mountains somewhere. When we illuminated the bear it was scary to see it unafraid and coming towards us rather than running away - so we made it go away.

A neighbor had recently taken care of one as it tried to enter the house thru a locked screen door. That bear is now a rug.

The most interesting part of this experience is the armchair experts who all tell me that black bears don't get aggressive and it never happened. Those same experts tell me there are no bears in my backyard here in the western NY flat-lands yet I have bear scat and sightings. Just like trying to "report" the aggressive bear "incident" to the "experts"-they would rather accuse you of lying rather than look at the facts of the situation with an open mind and be glad no one got mauled.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:26 AM   #29
Merlin III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Advntr View Post
Cliff note version: Some bears are not afraid of humans.

I have had an up close personal experience with an aggressive black bear in the dark of the night up in the mountains somewhere. When we illuminated the bear it was scary to see it unafraid and coming towards us rather than running away - so we made it go away.

A neighbor had recently taken care of one as it tried to enter the house thru a locked screen door. That bear is now a rug.

The most interesting part of this experience is the armchair experts who all tell me that black bears don't get aggressive and it never happened. Those same experts tell me there are no bears in my backyard here in the western NY flat-lands yet I have bear scat and sightings. Just like trying to "report" the aggressive bear "incident" to the "experts"-they would rather accuse you of lying rather than look at the facts of the situation with an open mind and be glad no one got mauled.
Spot on! I agree, game officials have conflicting motivations in cases like this. There are wolves in Northern Maine. The State and Fed deny this. About ten years ago, a hunter and guide shot a coyote. After viewing it up close, they had their doubts. They took it to the State lab and had it tested. It was a wolf. The Fed fined them 10,000 dollars and to this day still denies that there are wolves in Maine. The same applies to Mountain Lions.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:09 AM   #30
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Lots of good advice on keeping a clean camp.
I have been an avid hiker, camper, ds adventurer and spent MANY nights in bear country out in a solo camp and in camp grounds.
I have had a couple of bear encounters but no serious issues.
1 event was when we were young and dumb camping in the Sierra Nat forest west slope and we had all been drinking and having a great time. We hit the sack and after a bit we all heard some rustling, my buddy jumps up, pulls his .44 Mag and jumps out of his tent to see Yogi sitting at the camp table eating the Oreos we stupidly left out. My buddy was 10' away and the bear turns just as surprised to see him with DUHHH RUT ROH look on his face and white stuffing all over his face.

My pal was all set to shoot him but just said "ahh we caused it and he is not hurting anyone. We backed away a safe distance and gave hime some room, made some noise and he went away. We cleaned up, moved everything to a safer spot and went back to bed....a bit wary, but ended up sleeping some.

The 2nd was a bit closer and scaryer. We were in the Los Padres NF behind Gorman OHV park in the Grapevine area of So Cal. We had a group of about 10 that did the 7 mile loop up and around the top of the mountain and were coming down. Me and a buddy were riding sweep, it was SOOO beautiful that day so we killed the MX bikes motors and were just quietly coasting down the fire road at about 30 mph with no noise but the buzz of the chain thru the guides.

We round a corner with my buddy in front about 60' of me and a smallish black bear runs right accros the road in front of him. It was like he hid as the powered group went by and thought it was clear then just went accross the road....scared the snot out of my buddy...until he looked back and saw BIG Mamma bear run right between him and I....she did not seem happy to be separated from her cub by us....I was locked on my knobbys and cutting left...kickking the bike over as fast as I could...revving out the motor as soon as it fired and we HIGH TAILED it outta there and caught up to our group...safety in numbers I guess.

The scariest time I had turned NOT to be a bear although I was SURE it was at the time. We were in Kennedy meadows in the Fish Creek camground overflow area. I had a truck back cab over camper on my truck but I let a friend, his wife and young daughter sleep in it since they needed more than I. Slept completely out doors near the lulling fire right on the ground in my sleeping bag. It was beautiful out under the stars.

After a bit I heard what sounded like a big bear crunching something near me..I rustled around noisily finding my flashlight and flipped it on only to see NOTHING. I looked all over and nothing, no sign. Back to bed..within a minute or 2, same noise...bear crunching....again after a bit of rustling out of my bag...nothing...what? That bear is FAST.
It will not get me again...I with my bag unzipped and my flash light pointing RIGHT where I hear the noise and my thumb on the switch....2 minutes later...CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH...flip on the light only to see a small field mouse or chipmunk something about 2 feet from my head munching on a couple of Dorito chips a kid had left near the fire...the terror look on that poor little guys face as I lit him up and my surprise that it was not a bear, not even a racoon, but a 3" tall rodent...I laughed my butt off, cleaned up a bit and went to sleep...soundly.

CLEAN camp is the point of 2 of my stories, a bit of noise is the point of my other story.

You have WAAAAYYY more chance of hitting a deer, an Elk, a Moose....or a stupid car pulling out in front of you or a dumb texter crossing into your lane on your bike than ANY chance of a bear...

If you look at those stats on Wiki there that were posted, of 38 attacks in the lower 48, 16 of them were from captive bears and idiot owners or caretakers. Only 22 fatalities in 110 years from wild bears and many of those were in cabins or outside of cabins walking dogs and things like that. Not too many were people in tents...a few, but only a few over 110 years.

Pretty good odds. MILLIONS of Nat Park and NF visitors every year in major bear country and still only a few deaths. Ride smart, camp smart and clean and sleep well. Get some bear spray if you think that will calm your fears some, but remember firing that off inside a tent that a bear is rustling around will likely ruin your night ALOT more than the bears...
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