Bear Country Camping

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

  1. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    Fair enough. I've read some pretty wishful thinking on this site about how effective a pistol would be on a bear, that's why the concern. This particular thread has focussed more on realistic options like careful camping, that minimize the possibility of an encounter, but a deterrent and last resort certainly are part of a bear safe scheme - or two legged varmint scheme, depending where you ride!
  2. PukaWai

    PukaWai Been here awhile

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    For backbacking in the California High Sierra, canisters are now required in the Nat'l parks since it's the only food storage scheme the bears there haven't figured out... yet. While it's much cheaper to rent one, I bought one because it's less hassle. It also fits perfectly into one of my touratech panniers, so I also use it on all my motorcycle trips - if a bear can't get into it, then neither can any other opportunistic critters.

    There's a good link post #19 listing fatal bear attacks. Over half of those had to do with food, cubs, or supposedly "tame" bears. Given that these can be eliminated with a little common sense, compare the number of apparently unavoidable attacks to the millions of people that live in or "invade" bear habitat: So, is this something really worth worrying about????








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  3. Cruzin2b

    Cruzin2b Cruzin On 2

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  4. bigskydrift

    bigskydrift dual sport hooligan

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    there are a few good videos on hanging your grub bag in a tree on you tube, lots of good info on the net as well, keep your camp clean, especially your tent.

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  5. triplenickel

    triplenickel Long timer

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    Sleep in one spot and do everything else in another. It makes no sense to cook and eat a few feet from your tent then move your food away for the night. The splatters and spills remain plus there's no telling how much bacon grease, steak juice, and peanut butter the last campers left for you especially the area around the fire pit. Bears are just as curious as hungry I've seen them tear open a 5 gallon jerry can of gas even after they discovered it wasn't food. My bike, food, sweaty gear, toiletries, cooking area, and everything else stay front and center, the tent goes away where people wouldn't usually be.
  6. FloorPoor

    FloorPoor Been here awhile

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    OP, when camping in serious bear country, buy a bear tag and keep a .44 handy, then you can have as messy a camp as you want, and you'll NEVER have a bear in camp (even if you want one to show up :rofl) Thats my father-in-laws plan, it works for him.

    No, seriously though, as others have mentioned, keep a clean camp, but if you only have one set of clothes, and are in an area where a fire is permitted, toss some green sage or cedar on the fire and smoke yourself/clothes a bit after cleaning up, before you zip in for the night. The smoke will erase the "tasty" scent. (It also does wonders for funky riding gear you've been wearing for several days :D)

    IMHO, bears only seem to be a problem near touristy/well traveled areas where bears have, for generations, learned to associate people with food. I have spent many nights in wild areas, and have seldom seen bear sign, and never had a bear in camp (even while camping with my father-in-law, a great guy, but possibly the sloppiest camper I've ever seen :lol3)
  7. FloorPoor

    FloorPoor Been here awhile

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    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[/QUOTE]

    Agreed, I've had a couple REI granola type backpackers go from being real friendly, to acting all nervous and anxious to move on , as soon as they noticed my sidearm. :lol3

    I have to wonder, if they are worried about meeting an armed man in the wilderness, why don't they go armed themselves?
  8. HBr

    HBr Flirting w/Martini's law

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    Just do whatever. Worrying about a dumb old bear in your camp will just make you tired, not safe. Having spent most of my life in black and grizz country, backpacking, car camping, moto camping and so forth, the only time I have had an issue was with a textbook setup (food and smelly stuff away from the tent.) The bear was interested in... ME! He eventually went away, but visited my tent three nights in a row. When he left, the wolf showed up. Walking fools they are, never caught up to him.

    Bottom line is that a bear is where he wants to be, and will pester what captures his interest at the moment. Bear spray works - but you had better know how you deal with it too! You can't choose wind direction. I carry heavy metal bear spray, less dispersion, but also no blow-back. Don't spend your time worrying about bears. They are cute and like to have their tummies tickled. Just make them purr and sneak away.
  9. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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    Forget about it! 7.62x39 ball ammo will just bounce off a big grizzlies head, and just piss him off, then he'll take that pee shooter stick it up your bum and then proceed to eat you.

    The absolute minimum firepower would be a 44 magnum with 300 grain loads and that would be good for shooting yourself if a grizzly did get a hold on you.

    Generally the brown bear(grizzly) is very shy and will avoid people like the plague. It's usually surprising a bear in brushy country were you might have problem.
    In AK there is usually one mauling a year and it happens in some brushy alder tree area. Unless you're really unlucky like the Anchorage lawyer and his wife who got eaten up on the Hula Hula by a big coastal brown bear in the spring before the Caribou arrived. They much prefer to eat moose calf and caribou to humans. But I've seen where one will tear open a hillside like a freaking excavator just for a little squirrel.

    My experience is the east coast black bear in the Shenandoah valley who are the biggest nuisances.

    If you do ever encounter a bear do not run, he will think you are food, make a lot of noise and act aggressive,
  10. pne

    pne Been here awhile

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    so bears can smell canned food right thru the can..

    whats the use of hanging your food up in a tree? Surely he can smell the bits of meat that I missed when flossing, my delicious belches and farts throughout the night.

    same with hanging up the toiletries, I'm sure he can smell my fresh armpits, my mouthwash, and the brand of toliet paper I use to wipe with. :huh
  11. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    The annual thread - camping in bear country, and "what gun should I bring?" The same, uninformed questions. The same, unending debate. This all brings to mind an incident that happened just over 40 years ago, here in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.

    Al Thompson, a Fish & Wildlife Protection Officer (think Game Warden) and his wife Joyce were going moose hunting. Al had been a Protection Officer (we called them "brown-shirt troopers" back then, as they had the same authority as State Troopers, but wore brown uniforms) for a goodly number of years. He was at home in the woods, and was very familiar with firearms and wild animals. They were asleep in their tent the first night of the hunt, firearms (rifles and high-powered revolver IIRC) both near at hand. Al woke up to a grizz trying to pull Joyce out of the tent. He interceded, getting badly mauled in the process. Despite having plenty of firepower, and the knowledge to use it effectively, there was no chance.

    The idea that people are going to ride into areas known as bear habitat, carrying pistols or revolvers, and camp, thinking they can protect themselves against an attack is pretty naive. Rather than attempt (usually in vain) to kill a marauding bruin, it is far, far more effective to keep the bruin well away from the camping area in the first place. Sometimes, as was the case with Al and Joyce Thompson, a bear is going to ignore all the rules and get itself, and its victims, in the news. But those situations are so rare that the traveling motorcyclist is hundreds of times more likely to be involved in a serious crash somewhere along his/her route. And yet, do we see threads asking "I am going to be traveling on highway X. What can I do to keep from becoming a statistic due to inattentive drivers?"? Or "Is it safe to ride through St. Louis, MO around morning rush hour? Would I be better off to wait until 10 or 11 AM?"

    Grizzlies wander through my community every summer. We try to keep trash from collecting around homes, or anything else that will attract them. We see tracks, but we rarely see bears. The bears want to avoid us, as we do them. The mosquitoes are a bigger menace.
  12. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    Absolutely. Faulty risk assessment to think that a bear is a significant threat. I say this, having a mom grizz and 2 cubs eating berries across my yard last summer, and two more families passing through. Not a big deal, and simple precautions are reasonable and effective.
  13. pne

    pne Been here awhile

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    I think I understand what you're getting at. Revolvers and pistols simply are ineffective. The real question is what type of firepower do we need against these monstrosities? Are any of the following more suitable? :evil

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  14. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    This one -
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    Anyone for bear steaks? Well done. :D
  15. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    Leaning this way, myself. Finally, somebody who understands how tough a bear is. Now to just stay awake at all times..... :eek1
  16. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    That is the crux of the problem. :nod

    When the first hint that a bear is threatening you is when you wake up with your gun-hand arm in its mouth as it drags you out of your tent... it really doesn't matter what size cannon it is that you can't reach. :nono
  17. Callahan

    Callahan Long timer

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    Some where in the past, I have read about a Bear Spray that is a little more stream projecting than the Counter Assault brand.
    Any suggestions what this brand is ?
  18. numbthumb

    numbthumb stoic in training

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  19. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    I understand the irony/humor of the mini gun, but that thing is ludicrous. Stupid movie and video game stuff.

    A human couldn't lift a mini gun and ammo and batteries to fire one for 20 sec., let alone have the strength or weight to hold it on-target. A person would be flat on their back before the gatling got wound up to speed.


    I hope the bears never find out how afraid all these cheechacos are of them
  20. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    OK guys, seriously, bears are not a big deal. Much less of a problem than crashing, having your stuff messed with, whatever. Camp carefully, don't be a goof. Yes, tourists have coated their childs hands with honey to get a picture of the bear licking their child - and it bit both hands off. But if you avoid that sort of behavior, little ill is likely to happen to you. Relax. And would you hate your parents when you grew up?