Bears in the camp!


Thanks Murph1
I think you’ve said it well. Just needed some education on this before I get into such an area.

Tonight at scouts we dug quinzees in some snow piles. Some of those scouts handle a shovel like a woman but none were afraid to get into the snow and work hard at it. Learned that you need two kinds of shovels, a long one and a very small one to widen out the tunnel into a small room.

Overall scouts is very educational for both kids and leaders and I am sort of living a childhood that I never had since I wasn’t in scouts but did want to be.

snow shoveling
…now thats going to win a lot of points from the women shoveling out from this snowstorm…

and then the bear came along and took that shovel and…

Well the OP
was trollish so I expected that remark.

Where can I find a good snowshovelling bear?

They all refuse to get out of bed.

I guess I will go take my womanish shovelling technique outside and start on the deck and steps and driveway. We have about 16 inches here overnight.

Who needs a man?

Bears in Camp
I’ve struggled with the whole “Don’t leave food where bears can get to it” thing when I am kayaking in Georgian Bay. It’s all rock there with very few trees. Typically there is no place to hang food. I have always double packed food in dry bags and left it in my kayak. I have also put straps on the covers to keep out the raccoons. I always keep the boats away from the tent.

I guess I’ve been lucky - no intrusions. I have often wondered what would happen if a bear wanted the food. I think my Explorer would be shards of fiberglass.

So what would you do in this situation?

georgian bay
has been the place I had the most encounters with bears.5 days we had 3 in our camp from point aux barrel down to the mink/mcoy’s and ending at franklin. We had plenty of trees to hang where we were however. And man can those blackbears swim!

they can climb too
And some of them can get out on ropes.

Hanging properly is sometimes tough to pull off.

it sure is.
seen some pretty nice set ups in a few camps that people had left there.

Who Needs a Man!

It is a proved fact that men produce more body heat than women because of larger muscle density. On a cold night we just might come in handy!

Sound advice from an “Old Irishman” Ho!

On the topic of storing food away from bears. Out here in California and the Pacific Northwest almost all kayakers, backpackers, climbers, and river runners carry their food in Garcia Bearproof Barrels if they are in problem bear country. No one hangs food unless it is from established wires installed by the Park or Forest Service. A Bearproof barrel costs around $60.and weighs around a pound and a half. So far no bear I know of has figured out how to insert a coin or knife blade into the two locks on the end of the barrels in order to open them.

I do know, and have seen bears chew through cords used to double hang food out from the trunk of trees. I know of one instance where a sow taught her two cubs to jump onto packs hung from wires between trees. Bears are very sharp and where food is concerned will go to great lenghts to get to it.

Watched a bear at Tanaya Lake Parking area in Yosemite rip a door off of a sedan which had a water cooler sitting in the back seat visible to the bear through the windows.

I am also probably the only backpacker to ever hike eighteen miles into the backcountry to feed the bears my week supply of food. It took one bear about ten minutes to chew through my nylon hanging cord, grab my stuff sack full of food, and take off running with me throwing rocks at him as he disappeared into the darkness. Must be why I don’t backpack in Yosemite any more.

Sorry you all had to “bear” another Murph bear story!!! Take Care!

Happy Paddling

My wife firmly believes that just looking at a snow shovel on my part will induce a heart attack.

So who am I to destroy that belief? :slight_smile:

throwing rocks
I have used rocks to repel raccoons, and squirrels with good results. I have attempted to use rocks to repel a dog and a badger. That doesn’t work so well. I was able to get away from the badger. The dog, not so much. I would suspect that against an aggressive bear, throwing rocks would be more likely to provoke it to attack than repel it. Something to think about anyway.

Bear spray is probably better than rocks.

Sticks & Stones!
The effectiveness of throwing rocks at bears depends on three things:

l. Kind of Bear

2. Bears Mind Set

3. Size of the Rock

A rock thrown at a Black Bear who is not people oriented may get it to leave. A rock thrown at a Grizzly is probably going to piss the bear off substantially and you are going to have a big problem. As for Polar Bears it taint very likely you are going to have any rocks to throw in the first place.

I have never thrown rocks at a bear, but have thrown Ponderosa Pine Cones at one. It was a black bear and it did flee the scene.

Bear Spray is, in my opinion, more of a moral builder than a deterent to a bear. Grizzlies are known to go after skunks when hungry and despite taking direct hits they still kill the skunks. Bear spray is obviously stronger, but I wouldn’t count on it stopping an initial attack from a Grizzly.

Short of carrying a 300 Magnum Rifle, 12 Gage Shotgun with single ball ammo, or a 44 Mag or 50 Cal handgun your best bet is try to avoid bad bear situations, and if attacked protect your head and neck and play dead.

Considering the number of bears out there in our wildernesses and the huge number of people visiting those habitats the number of bear attacks is low each year. There are lots of other dangers in the outdoors far more likely to give outdoorspersons a problem.

Topping the list are hypothermia, drowning, heat stroke, and lightning strikes. Bear attacks, cougar attacks, and poisonous snake bites are way down the list of human problems.

Enjoy the outdoors and get over the fear of bears. Be sensible while in bear country and you shouldn’t have to worry!!!

Bears and mountain lions make fearful headlines. Myself being from Iowa where there are no bears am in want of info about all this so I don’t look stupid next summer up north.

watch your neighbors, too
A few years back I was paddling a section of the NFCT with 2 other paddlers. We had a long day of paddling, set up camp, ate dinner, cleaned up, bear proofed the site (bear barrels in the woods away from camp) put in our earplugs (heavy snorer along)and went to bed. Meanwhile, 50 yards away at the next campsite, a large party decided that it would be a good idea to “hide” their food in the deck hatch of a $2000 kayak. A short time later a bear came along, smelled the food, and reduced the value of the kayak by about $1995. These guys freaked out and chased the bear toward our site by banging pots together and throwing things at it. The bear carried a cooler into our site, made himself comfortable about 6 inches from my head and proceded to chew on the cooler.

The next morning, Mr. Kayak came over to our site and was incredulous that we didn’t wake up. All I could say was, “thank God you DIDN’T wake me up!” If I had unzipped the tent and seen the bear 6 inches from my head I would have had a heart attack. These guys were traveling in the same direction as us and we saw them at a few portages over the next few days. Believe it or not, they were calling US “the bear guys”! Anyway, even if you do everything right, remember that bears don’t have a copy of “the rules” and may wind up chewing on a cooler right next to your head.

Bear in the tent
I was in the neighboring campsite when the bear went into the Scouts tent. The Scout had several packs of twinkies in the tent. After eating the twinkies the bear apparently had trouble finding the exit and did a panic run. The Scout in his sleeping was in the way as the bear was running. The bear finally got out of the tent, which received a lot of damage. The did not attack the Scout. That is what is called collateral damage. The next year that Scout worked on the camp staff.

black bears
I’m assuming you are talking about black bears here, not grizzlys—as long as you keep a clean camp(no food loose or near or in the tents) you shouldn’t have a problem–black bears are generally not very aggressive and somwhat shy—I’ve had three encounters with them in Maine–in two cases the bears ran off after they saw me—in the third case I retreated–I came across a sow with cubs–always avoid a mamma bear with kiddies–

my advice to you is to stop worrying about it. The only incident of a black bear attacking a person that I’ve heard about in Maine involved a hunter who wounded the bear and had to track it in thick brush. He came across it unexpectedly and it attacked him. It inflicted minor injuries before he was able to shoot it.

my wife

– Last Updated: Feb-10-10 7:47 AM EST –

has been handling a snow shovel very well for the past four days--even though she's not a scout master--but hey, if you need some practice come to my place and I'll let you shovel all the snow that you need to

Campground Bears
Black bears who get habituated to humans and our food can be a problem.

I’ve encountered wild bears who disappeared as soon as they realized I was there. I’ve also encountered campground bears who were not afraid of a large group of us and really didn’t want to leave without our food. They didn’t get it but I was not at all confident of the outcome.

Also don’t sleep in the same clothes
you cooked dinner in.

If you’re truly concerned
then have one person always on watch in camp. Make each adult or older boy take a 2 hour shift. Give them a couple pots to bang together if a bear approaches camp. That would do it.

When I was a sea scout we were in the habit of always having someone on watch when we were sleeping in the boat at anchor or a mooring. Anchors can drag, the wind can change direction, etc., and someone needs to be on watch to handle that.