Bear Country Camping

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Blaise W, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    #81
  2. byways

    byways byways

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    I have camped in bear country all of my life--and that's more years than I want to disclose here--including here in grizzly country. These days I bring spray, because the grizzly population is expanding, but there simply is no substitute for:

    • hanging food and food-related garbage out of a bear's reach, well away from your actual campsite
    • preparing food that doesn't send up a strong smell
    • maintaining a clean camp, and
    • not bringing a snack into the tent for nighttime nibbling.
    #82
  3. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    <label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label><label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label><label for="rb_iconid_24">[​IMG]</label>

    On raft trips, we leave the food on the boat - few trees, too much to do anything else with - but it's all sealed, camp and kitchen are at the points of a triangle with the boats at a reasonable distance. Haven't had an issue, but if someday I wake up to find the rafts shredded, at least it won't be the tents.
    #83
  4. klr650goldwing

    klr650goldwing Adventurer

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    Okay, so here is a question I havne't seen on this thread yet: The portable urinals that are available from Cabella's and other places; if one of those is in a tent and has some urine in it, do you think the urine odor would repell or attract bears:?
    #84
  5. Eddy Alvarez

    Eddy Alvarez Long timer

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    Neither, it is much more interested, and can smell, your food. Pee into an air tight Gatorade bottle, problem solved!
    #85
  6. 4corners14

    4corners14 Been here awhile

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    Better hope you don't dribble!:rofl :rofl :rofl
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  7. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    I like the sealed bottle...and am getting to the age where most nights I need to. :evil I have one portable rafting toilet with claw marks on it, apparently they'd had chili that night or the like, and a bear tossed the toilet around....
    #87
  8. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    What? No bad ass gun to blast your way safe?..no sidearm to brandish with superior human authority? You mean common sense over caliber? Huh.....what a concept.
    #88
  9. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Great post. Straight forward info without hysteria or fearmongering.
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  10. 568V8

    568V8 Ontario Vstrommer

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    #90
  11. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    So Aquadog, are you saying for a grizzly to play dead but for a black bear,fight back? Also, you mentioned that grizzlys respond well to bear spray, but if it doesn't work,THEN play dead? Would the bear then be aggravated after being sprayed?

    I have been lucky to only see bears at the side of the road, if one came into my camp, I would shit bricks.
    #91
  12. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    As far as I know, current thinking is to stand your ground during a charge (which may well be a bluff) unless you're actually contacted. If it's a grizzly, many times they simply seem to want to eliminate a threat, so playing dead is your option - it's highly unlikely you could discourage a grizzly by fighting. If a black bear has been stalking you and appears to have predatory intent, and it contacts you, fight back. Rules of thumb only, from joint work done by Alaska, Yukon, B.C. bear biologists. Resulting videos are "Staying Safe in Bear Country" and "Working in Bear Country".

    Bear spray works pretty well. I don't think sprayed or not is going to change what a bear does if it manages to continue the attack...and there is also some evidence that "looking big and tough" may deter a threat. Being Canadian, we say to "hold a hockey stick over your head" which gives you a bigger profile, that's the idea. Groups are less likely to be attacked than individuals, again a larger profile. Wild animals live a risky life, so have to do a cost benefit analysis of actions - is it going to hurt me, or is it worth it? Mothers with cubs aside, who have a different motive...and like people, I've met biologists who claim to have observed 'crazy bears' - they are individuals.

    The chances of meeting a bear is pretty remote, even here. At certain times of year and location, I could probably take you places where you are likely to see a bear, but most of the year they're scarce. Lucky to see one. When you do meet one, 98% of the time it's going to move on, ignore you, or at most, want you to carefully move out of it's territory.

    It's one of those "what's the real danger" things. My weather trivia calendar says that lightning kills more people in the U.S. annually than hurricanes and tornadoes combined, but what gets the big press?
    #92
  13. h2o_snow

    h2o_snow Water, snow & dirt too.

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    +1 on these observations. Bears are attracted to an easy food source. Don't make it easy and your odds are good. I have spent some time in the Bob Marshall Wilderness where the bears use the trails as do we - travel corridors. Unnerving to see more bear tracks than horses or humans on some trails. Sleep in clean cloths away from all food/food smells and greasy clothing and you will be OK.
    #93
  14. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Ha! I amgoing to sleep fully geared including my helmet and then I am going to pull my bike over on top of me to save myself!!!!!:D
    #94
  15. triplenickel

    triplenickel Long timer

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    Whoa bear!
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  16. StriderJim

    StriderJim Adventurer

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    Then you probably don't want to do any camping in the U.S.
    #96
  17. atravlr

    atravlr Been here awhile

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    Just work a little harder, save a little more money and splurge for a decent room. There will always be time to camp in other areas. It is not enjoyable to sleep with one eye open in bear country. I've been there and learned my lesson. My trash was stolen/rummaged in the night and I did not hear a thing. Maybe my snoring was enough of a deterrent.
    #97
  18. GrizGirl

    GrizGirl Long timer

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    If you hadn't left your trash out where a bear could get it you would not have had a problem. CLEAN camping is the key. Safe camping in bear country is not that big of a deal as long as you respect where you are and who you are sharing the woods with.
    #98
  19. atravlr

    atravlr Been here awhile

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    My trash was out from my camp and not near my tent. I was camping in the woods not in an area where there to be containers, showers, or restrooms. I feel sorry for the person who keeps their trash and food nearby overnight.
    #99
  20. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

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    As all bears (and other wildlife) often "do not get the memo" that they should not eat us superior humans, you are correct.

    But that is one of the strong points of the book, the author doesn't make them into saints or demons, just predators that we must respect.

    For many years I have heard "there has never been a recorded case of XXXX attacking a human without provocation" and similar dogmatic statements.

    But nature is an opportunistic and evolving force, so don't expect hard and fast rules, 'cause there never are. You can only mitigate risk to a reasonable extent.