Bear Country Camping

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

  1. bikerfish

    bikerfish flyfishandride

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    but then you miss camping is some truly awesome places. Hell, most places worth camping are gonna be bear country.
  2. Xylx

    Xylx Been here awhile

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    $10K for the wolf? Feds have a thing called the McKittrick policy. Look it up. Assuming the facts are as stated feds would not normally go after someone for those facts. Unfortunately the locals sometimes don't get the memo. Maine still insists mountain lions went extinct there in the 40s. I have a photo of a dead one from a roadside in the 60s. As for guns- Bullets will bounce off a brown bear skull. Only firearm I used to carry for them in AK was a sawed off shotgun with double aught buckshot interspersed with slugs. I gave up on that in the 80s and carried only bear spray for years. Never had a problem. But the advice about cooking is very good. Especially changing clothes. The best idea listed here was cook early and drive down the road for camping. I've heard of brownies going down from a .357 but that was a shot in the mouth. Black bears are scarier than browns, they will eat people for food. Brownies tend to attack for defensive purposes only. Don't surprise them and if you smell something really disgusting it's probably a kill site and get away fast. They protect their kills (after they pee all over it). Guy and a women got it 3 miles from my house in Anchorage, just out for a run. Finally, polar bears are the worst if you're way up in the arctic. Unlikely on a bike. People I know who run rivers up there use a bear fence. It's an electrically charged fence you put up around your tent site. Here is a link. Thing weighs under 4lbs. with the battery. Maybe you could power it from your bike's battery and save some weight.

    http://www.udap.com/bearshock.htm
  3. Motoguy

    Motoguy Adventurer

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    While backpacking in my backyard here in Oregon and Washington I've had encounters with black bears and in all but one of these situations the bear has turned and run away. Although, while backpacking solo on Mt. St. Helens I encountered a rather large black bear who engaged in a "stare down" with me. He didn't move but just stared at me. He saw me before I saw him. I was high on the mountain in an open meadow and he was no more than 50 yards away. I was absolutley petrified, but remained still, stared back, and after what seemed to be an eternity he lumbared off. I still had a couple of nights to go before I was done with my trip and let's just say I didn't sleep well after this encounter.

    However, I've spent a lot of time in bear country and I always hang my food if there is not a bear locker available. I also cook at least 25 yards away from where I am going to sleep. Also, the advice of keeping your cooking utensils, toilitries, etc, away from where you sleep is also sound advice.

    Last summer I went on a solo motorcycle trip through Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons and camped the entire trip and had no problems following those rules.
  4. bauerboy

    bauerboy Adventurer

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    My buddies and I rode offroad through Colorado and into lower eastern wyoming. We camped during this trip and I never even worried about bears even though they scare me something fierce. We are picking up our trip in Montana this September and will be camping, maybe. This ride has made me nervous since we planned it because of the bears. I have decided either we go and take all precautions and enjoy it or don't go and cancel all of our rides that take us to places with potential danger. I hope to see some of you in Montana, I'll be on the GSA with a Riverside BMW plate frame.
  5. Solarbronco

    Solarbronco Been here awhile

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    I backpack in areas heavily populated by Grizzly in the summers. A few pieces of advice that I have learned.

    1. Never sleep in public campgrounds, unless in an RV. Too many fat assed idiots with food in their tents and on the ground. (this means stay away from ATV owners).

    2.Pistols are worthless, leave em at home. Fish and Game find Grizz with multiple bullets in em, that have been in them for years all the time. You also will not have enough time to shoot them in their few weak points. Shooting them in the head is almost worthless because their skull is like iron. It will only piss em off worse.

    3. Playing dead? Good phucking luck. If a pissed off Grizz gets that close, you will hardly be able to control yourself.

    4.Carry bear spray, it works. Just aim in their general direction, their sensitive noses and nerves will feel like one thousand bee's on fire just flew in their head, they will drop to ground and start freakin out, letting you escape.

    5.Avoid early spring and fall (pre/post hibernation). Simply put, when they are hungriest and don't give a shet what they eat, as long as it its warm.

    6. Hike with a bell or two on your pack, this lets them know you are there and 80% will just haul ass, and the sound of which will still make you piss yer pants the first time.

    7.Hang food up wind, about 250 yards away from where you camp. Hang food in a bag with a long parachute type cord. Hang it 6 feet out from tree on a branch at least 12 feet high. This takes practice tossing, but you will get it.

    Years ago a hunter here in Idaho shot a Grizz four times with a 308 rifle. It still ate him and spit the bones out, wondered off bleeding, and ate another hiker 20 miles away two weeks later before Fish and Game shot it down with a 12 guage slug.

    Other than that, sleep well and have fun up here!! :rofl
  6. Solarbronco

    Solarbronco Been here awhile

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    Black Bears are nothing like Grizz. Nothing at all. Black bears all over Olympia National forest near Quinault river where I hike in Spring and encounter tons of em, they just run or sit there and look at you. Black Bear mothers will run away and leave their cubs behind. Grizz will take a few bullets as they run up, break you in half with one punch and then eat you while you scream.


  7. willys

    willys Long timer

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    I have camped all my life from the age of 18 and up, I'm 54 now...still alive and sort of kicking. I can't sleep well at night without earplugs and I do wear them at all times. I never eat in my tent, don't store food in there either. But I also have all possible weapons I can think of on my person at that time just incase. The best working bear threat item I have found is the all favourite bear banger! I had the priveledge of getting to use one last summer while camping at Bell II on highway 37 on my way home from Dawson City. I was just walking back to my tent after a nice hot shower with nothing but a towel and smelly bar fo soap. Caught with almost my pants down! I didn't even see them until I was maybe 50 feet away from them! A mother black bear and her two cubs! She was eating dandelions as if it was her favorite desert. The cubs close by. I froze! It was almost cartoonish! I stood there watching them to see what was next....she didn't even think twice about me, she saw me for sure. She looked up just enough to show me she knew I was there and then kept eating. After maybe 5 minutes I settled down and enjoyed the show. She moved from site to site getting closer to my site as she moved. I made the decission to move slowly to my tent and get the bangers. She was still in the same place as when I started moving. She had sent the cubs up the tree next to her when she first saw me. They stayed up there for the entire time but slowly started down after I returned. I waited for them to get to the ground before setting off the banger. Once they were near their mother I let one rip directly infront of them. You must be careful as not to overshoot the distance and send it to the far side of them as to direct them into you. As it went off....they in an instant shot straight into the bush as if it wasn't there! She wasn't a small bear by any means....the cubs were the size of a medium dog. They alone could do you some harm I bet! But the mother could have easily had her way with someone my size, 220lbs of flab compared to her I'm sure!

    So, for the cost of the bangers and the pen launcher a total cost of maybe $40....it worked extremely well! I now carry them at all times when camping I have it loaded but not armed at all times as it takes just a flick of the thumb to airm and a nudge to fire. It is extremely loud and has a good result.

    I also use The Snizzle's appoach when in my tent.....I sleep next to my bike on the kickstand side and use it as a tent tarp pole that covers my tent and bike over night. IF, I were to find a bear so close to me....Yes I would probably pull the bike onto me in hopes it may help! Chicken Shit is almost my middle name when it comes to fearing something that can eat me!!!:deal
  8. Nc987

    Nc987 Adventurer

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    I have read most of this thread and if I missed it I apologize but has anyone used or mentioned road/marine flares? I have heard of rangers using them as a deterrent because the noise/sound/ sight combination freaks the bears out. Just curious about others thoughts on their use.
  9. willys

    willys Long timer

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    Flares start fires.......bear bangers do not. Just the main reason I went with the bangers. Plus the bangers are so small they are by far the easiest thing to carry.:deal
  10. Dustodust

    Dustodust Long timer

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    I have had close encounters with Black Bears in California so that makes it a very limited experience with a beat down bear population . However, these bears do have little fear of humans. They have learned how to rip car doors off and to loot out of campgrounds.
    I learned that they do not like the smell of gasoline . In one incident with a "crazy" mom with cub, the entire backpacking camp lost their food , but somehow mine escaped detection because I put it in a hole under a large flat rock, splashed stove gas all around the rock, and had soaked gasoline on the food storage bag before I left my bike(1967 CB 450 Honda) to hike overnite, One camper guy tried the pan banging and hit the bear with a stick and got scratched real bad with claws and was bleeding real bad, his group walked him out that nite. Everyone in the camp was terrified and up all nite , but I seemed calm and jovial actually enjoying the mayem and 3 european tourist chicks from germany asked if they could camp with me. I had a big bottle of Wild Turkey, jiffy pop, pretzels and a harmonica, we stayed up late and sang stupid songs around the campfire and no one complained because the harmonica seemed to keep the bear away. We must have sang "I dont want a pickle" and "Heart of Gold about 100 times. We all slept in a huddle but I didnt get lucky even though I had morning wood and it made them giggle, one girl giggled so hard she wet her panties(only believable part of the story) they had also lost all their food to the bear the previous nite. In the morning we all had my 6 eggs, 2 potatoes and canned bacon.
    This was above Yosemite 1972, before they had bear spray or steel bear lockers in the remote backpacking camp sites, and your results may vary
    I have other good bear stories but to keep it short this one is the most useful (and you probably wouldn't also believe some of the others anyway)

    Dogs howl at harmonicas and I suppose it annoys bears also
    (or it could have just been the Neil Young music)
  11. Nc987

    Nc987 Adventurer

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    I wasn't anticipating throwing it on the ground or in to dry sagebrush. I am talking about a marine flare that has a handle, burns for a few minutes and then goes out.
  12. Backlash

    Backlash Adventurer

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    Done a lot of camping in bear country and have narrowed down my deterrents based on location. When in the states I use Bear Spray and a pistol. The pistol may be my S&W model 29 44 MAG or my Judge revolver which is a 45 long Colt with possibility of also using 410 shot shells in the chamber.
    In Canada (NO PISTOLS ALLOWED) I bring along Bear Spray and my marine signal flare pistol. The 12 ga. signal flare pistol is made by ORION and is mandatory for me to carry on my boat while fishing tournaments on The Great Lakes and Green Bay. It is an Orange plastic pistol that has a strap on the bottom that carries six projectiles that are flares. The burn time is 7 seconds. The sound is like a 12 ga shotgun. This is the most effective when a real gun is not allowed as in Canada. Of course you have to use it wisely as if it is dry you can start a fire. You also have to use the spray wisely as if you have a slight breeze back in your direction you get sprayed. I recommend you get one and learn how to take the locking device off and see how they spray. I tell the people I have a flare gun and bear spray when asked about weapons at the border crossings. Some want to see it and I have it in my tank bag along with the spray. If questioned I tell them I keep it in my boat while in Canada and bring it on my motorcycle to be safe while camping.
    Have done the Dalton, Dempster, Denali, Trans Lab and The Cassiar. Most bears per day on the Cassiar. Will be going up to D2D again via the Cassiar this June.
    Bears can be a real hassle. One from Northern Wisconsin killed a lot of livestock and family pets. It was on my property eating apples. I made a phone call to the sheriff and he said shoot it if I could. I shot it with my bow and is now a rug in my sun room.
    Another is a nice bear rug in my basement. During a houseboat trip on Lac Seul in Canada he wanted to participate in our Friday Night Fishfry with ten of us. I had a Spring bear permit at the time and he got to spend some time in the freezer on the way home. Ontario has since suspended spring bear hunts so there are a lot of them in the areas I fish.
    Using my spray or flare gun is a last resort as the spray cost a lot of money and the flares can cause a fire. I recommend practicing how this stuff works before you try to use it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=eryxAcsTcOA
  13. UKbri

    UKbri Just a Rider

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    Haven't read the entire thread but what about an 'air horn' ? Surely a load blast from one would scare a bear away and you wouldn't have to declare it at customs. Just a thought.
  14. StriderJim

    StriderJim Adventurer

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    Armchair decision-making about what will make a bear run away is worth exactly the effort put into it.
  15. 4corners14

    4corners14 Been here awhile

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    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD class="dg-bbcode dg-bbcode-quote">Originally Posted by meagain [​IMG]
    Haven't read the entire thread but what about an 'air horn' ? Surely a load blast from one would scare a bear away and you wouldn't have to declare it at customs. Just a thought.
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    As for the air horn....I have one taped to the right shoulder strap of my day pack. As a young man on a trek, we once kept the Black bears out of our camp for three nights in a row by banging on pots and pans. Noise does help. As for the logic, I'm pretty sure that the bear won't have heard a horn that loud before and it may make him uneasy enough to decide to leave, I'm also pretty sure that he'll have already seen the stick I would otherwise have had to pick up....he's not very afraid of the stick. That's why the pistol is on the left shoulder strap. It wouldn't kill him....but, it's better than the stick! Bear spray would be better and I carry it on the bike, just haven't found the right size to carry on the shoulder strap...yet. :huh
  16. triplenickel

    triplenickel Long timer

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    Yeah they work fine, I work in heavy bear country outside daily. An air horn is first line of defense, then bear bangers, then bear spray.
  17. willys

    willys Long timer

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  18. UKbri

    UKbri Just a Rider

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    Thanks, good to know.
  19. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    That's why the pistol is on the left shoulder strap. It wouldn't kill him....but, it's better than the stick! Bear spray would be better and I carry it on the bike, just haven't found the right size to carry on the shoulder strap...yet. :huh[/QUOTE]

    Aside from the ethical issue of wounding an animal you intend to leave in the bush, there's the practical issue of have you deterred him, or just really pissed him off? And if not you, is there someone else coming along that you've just set a trap for? Hmmm.
  20. 4corners14

    4corners14 Been here awhile

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    Aside from the ethical issue of wounding an animal you intend to leave in the bush, there's the practical issue of have you deterred him, or just really pissed him off? And if not you, is there someone else coming along that you've just set a trap for? Hmmm.[/QUOTE]


    I hear you. The pistol as far as animals go is more for the noise than anything. Only as a last result for an animal, I'd rather have the spray, but like I said I haven't found the size I'm looking for yet. The pistol is more for the 2 legged varmints. If I'm seriously wary of where I'm going to be on the bike, I carry the horn and the spray, but I also carry a pistol grip 12 guage with slugs. I hope I never have to use it.. Horn, spray and then 12guage. I have a very healthy respect for bears. So far just noise has been enough.

    I get some really funny looks on the trail with the pistol....I can only imagine what the reaction would be to the 12 guage. I'd probably come back to a Sheriff at the truck. :huh