dryer sheets & bears

I heard hanging dryer sheets in your yard keep animals away. Do you think they would keep bears away while camping?

I don’t know about bears, but
if they will keep those freaking deer from eating our flowers, mountain laurel and the new buds on the Christmas trees, I’ll gladly try them

Jack L

They keep me away…
I can’t breath around those things.

I doubt it
Dear meopilite,

I would think that an attractive scent would do more to draw in bears than keep them away?

They do recommend that you put dryer sheets in a camper that has been closed up for the Winter to discourage mice from getting in.

I’ve never tried that though but I do plan to trying it this Winter with my boat that I keep in my garage.

Last year mice got into it and managed to gnaw on quite a bit of the Styrofoam floatation and I’d rather that didn’t happen again.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

thx, gonna try that here this winter
for the camper.


– Last Updated: Sep-02-14 9:58 AM EST –

do help with the kayak storage area funk on a trip, a little. At least the tent doesnt smell like bear butt. (see that tie in?)

I can’t wear clothes treated with them.

They kill cats that eat them.
Not sure why a cat would ingest them, but it kills them.

I’ve always heard
that bears are attracted to any unusual scent. Remember bears, unlike deer are predators, not prey animals. While unusual scents might be cautionary to prey animals that is probably not the case with predators. Bears do not seem to be afraid to investigate new things. Who really knows, just conjecture.

Also, bears are really intelligent

– Last Updated: Sep-02-14 1:06 PM EST –

Bears are smart, and they already have a reason for coming into camp. They've learned they can find good things to eat there. They may even be willing to confront humans in the process, something that in most cases they'd rather not do. I'm sure their real reason for entering camp wouldn't be diminished too much by some strange odor.

Since one is supposed to put toiletries
… and any cosmetics with scent into the “bear box” while camping, including, but not limited to, deodorants, body powders, toothpaste, lip balms, etc, and keep that stash with the food AWAY from the tent or camper when sleeping, I don’t understand why perfumed drier sheets, which reek, wouldn’t be like putting out a giant Neon Sign -


And the bears would already be trained to associate that smell with other edible goodies.

I am always surprised at how far that laundry chemical smell carries when I am out on some trail somewhere, or even going down the river. Also, people wearing a lot of it, via their clothes, leave a scent trail even I can pick up if there isn’t a breeze. And the scent from somebody’s house, which is doing laundry, tends to travel downhill for over a hundred yards just for us with the sensitive noses, it must go at least a quarter mile or more for bears.

I’ve countered with deliberately wearing some scent when I go out, like diluted tea tree or citronella oil, besides repelling mosquitoes, I would like the (potential) bears to know that I’m human, even if my laundry detergent is unscented. What I really worry about is bears getting sort of real accommodated to the dog companions (with their bells) that are supposed to scare off the bears. We’ve come back to the car and there was a bear checking it out and the bear did NOT care that we had a good size dog with us, and these things can break into your car if they want to. So I can vouch that they don’t care about air fresheners, or dog scent, if they smell trail mix. :frowning:

So you’re asking for an opinion on
an Advice, Suggestions, and General Help column.

You do have the option of starting this on the Discussion forum, and what with no data, discussion is all it’s going to get.

Dryer sheets blowing around campgrounds. Not a pretty sight.

first thing I notice
…when I get back from a backcountry trip is the perfumes and soap smells. Ugh.

When I’m out there I just use my own smell. It always develops if I give it time.


– Last Updated: Sep-03-14 9:48 AM EST –

+1 on BearRiver (Edited: and for completeness, +1 on goobs)
Minor quibble with guideboatguy -- only SOME bears already associate humans (and their camps) with getting a food reward -- at least around here. The idea of bearboxes and hanging food is for bears not to get a reward even upon smelling humans and their food.
The bears who do get a reward (smart or otherwise) are often on their way out of the gene pool -- again I can only speak for around here.

I love the old Indian (attributed) saying "When a pine needle falls, the deer hears it, the eagle sees it, and the bear smells it."

I think Bears prefer Downey Soft Liquid
to dryer sheets!

depends on in the bear associates it.
Here in the Yellowstone area…A N Y T H I N G associated with food/smells etc should be hung and are required. If a bear previously tore into a bag of jerky that also had a tube of chap-stick it most likely will eat chap stick too the next time it encounters it.

We hang everything that smells or is food related… cleaning sponges, stoves, coolers, cutting boards, chap stick, sun tan lotion, chap stick, medicine, tooth paste, empty pop and beer cans etc… better safe than sorry and better not to train the bears for future campers who camp there too.

I’ve found griz scat that had digested whole cans of tuna that had been eaten and passed through as well as cooler and lawn chair parts in it… just sayin.

should I be
hanging my lawn chairs? :-))


Dryer sheets are said to work to repel
gnats and some wear them tucked into collars for blackfly avoidance

I have no idea about bears. I will say I was wearing nice smelling Bounce treated clothing when the bear walked by our campsite.

He didn’t come in but he didn’t run either. He was on a mission to gather thimbleberries.

Oak Island Apostle Islands WI

I already said that
Dear tetonjohn,

I already said an attractive smell didn’t seem to be a good idea.

I loved the explanatory quote about animals at the end, it shows I’ve been paying attention for most of my time on this rock.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

Fart in 'em more
That should be self explanatory.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs