Removing fish scent in Bear country.

Anyone have experience successfully ridding one’s self of fish odor while wilderness camping in bear country, besides deodorant and bathing. Having experienced unwanted visitors in the camp, I’m concerned about fishing while wilderness camping. I’d really love to do some fishing on an upcoming Georgian Bay trip, but I’m afraid of ending up in the tent at night with leftover fish scent.

Eat lots of

– Last Updated: Jul-18-08 9:29 PM EST –

Beanie weenies, that should cover up the fish smell.

Seriously, black bears are unlikely to join you in your sleeping bag. Be prudent, wash yourself, and be sure all your food is secure and out of reach of any animals.

Where are you going in Georgian Bay? One of my favorite places to paddle.


past experience.
after you’ve been woken up by one sniffing your head through the tissue paper that is your tent, perspective changes.

Yeah, I suppose…
But you’re still with us.

So where are you going?


So much for non-answers, lemon Juice

– Last Updated: Jul-19-08 8:04 AM EST –

Bottled lemon juice which is also good flavoring on sea food. Rub it in and rinse.

Also Mud, that's right plain old soft mud. This is an old indian trick. Mud contains plenty of natural abrasives and can remove just about anything from your hands or body, even skunk smell. I've had to explain myself several times when primitive camping as to why I was wringing my hands with mud. Yes it works...try it.

beenie weenies just like Trixs, are for kids. A pretty disgusting foodstuff for camping.

Not true Andy
the smell is left on your clothes which if you are in big time bear country should not be brought into the tent with you.

They should be left in a separate container about fifty yards away from the tent.

Experience from a few wilderness Alaska trips !

All “smellies” like tooth paste, and perfumed soap should also not be in the tent.



But Jack
I’d venture to say there is difference between Black bears and Grizzly (AKA Alaskan Brown Bears). I’ve experienced a good amount of time in the Georgian Bay area, Black bears tend to go in the opposite direction of humans.

I’d agree about smelly clothes, keep them away from the tent. You don’t want to lure any bears that don’t follow the norm.


Here’s What I Used to Do
I always had a bit of Dawn dish washing liquid to wash with; Dawn breaks down the oils. And, after washing, I would grab a handful of balsam, strip it off the limbs, and rub it into my hands. Takes away the fish smell AND nothing smells as wonderful as crushed balsam!

The “Tip” about the clothes is good, too. I once had a black bear in the BWCAW chew my pants and underwear that was left outside the tent; I had cooked steaks and onions in the clothes and apparently the cotton jeans and underwear absorbed those odors!


Wrong again Andy
Black Bears are more unpredictable that Browns.

The Blacks are kind of like that new ski of yours, where as the Browns are more like my QCC.



Oh! Oh! Now yer gone went an’ done it
"beenie weenies just like Trixs, are for kids. A pretty disgusting foodstuff for camping."

Dem thaar be fightn’ words waar GK comes fro’…


What we do in PWS
Use CampSuds or Biosuds, wash all dishes in oceanwater, these both work in fresh or saltwater, no scent. We REQUIRE all participants on our trips to bring ONLY items that come with NO scent. Deodorants, lotions, shampoos, etc, the only thing I can’t find in unscented is toothpaste. Once again, brush teeth in the water, and put all toiletries, food, kitchen items at least 50-100 feet away from the tent area. Use an URsack,OPsack or bear proof container if possible. NEVER take food items into tent to leave smells behind. Wash clothing out in above soaps immediately if food or toiletry items are spilled on them. We keep a VERY clean camp, I have had bear encounters, but never at our campsite yet.

Good luck to you,


30,000 Islands region
or so we think. Georgian Bay is a new spot for us, so any recommendations, things learned you wish you would have known sooner, etc. (by all readers with experience there) would be appreciated, if you would email direct.

Are you, perhaps, worrying too much?
Bears look for food caches, not for people with smelly hands.

Thank you Dr. Science
I’ll just post a sign outside letting the bears know there’s no food in the tent.

OK, Mr. Worrier, post me some
accounts of people attacked in their tents ONLY because they had fishy hands.

I think you’re probably right, g2d.
BUT, why then the recommendation to clean fish immediately after catch at the water’s edge and cleaning everything well to avoid bear incidents? They, presumably, can smell the raw fish after a catch.

I’ve never heard of a bear attack from “smelly hands”, and you’re probably right that it’s not that strong a risk, compared to other risks. But when there are bear attacks, the root cause isn’t always well-known either, so there may be more to it than what’s reported.

Just a couple pennies worth of thought . . . .


Thoughtful ideas were wanted.

– Last Updated: Jul-22-08 12:35 PM EST –

I posted two questions to this forum, hoping to get some ideas from folks kind enough to offer their insights. You obviously have nothing to offer, either to this post or the other. I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with you sir - I simply do not value your opinion. Respectfully, please be on your way.

Advice from state wildlife dept.
We had a bear clawing at our enclosed front porch one year. My husband did not heed the warnings (from the previous owner and from me) to remove stored birdseed from it, and it finally happened.

The wildlife dept. rep told me that we would need to not only remove the birdseed but, for a few days, spray ammonia around the premises. The ammonia smells so strong that it keeps the bear from smelling the old scents of birdseed (which linger a while after removing the seeds).

Yes, it worked.

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!
jackl is right. You put any smelly things in a canister w/a lid which you hang from a tree away from your tent. You can use a compound container. Pack things in it so it doesn’t take up space until you need it. Some camping areas provide rope to hang your canister, if not, bring your own.

You also hang things to keep them away from crows who will rip into cheap plastic grocery bags if you try and hang them and hanging also keep stuff away from racoons.

I took my bear canister down to get my food and left it on the ground momentarily. Racoons came and started to drag the bucket down the beach.

I forget the distance, but bears can smell things for miles. You can buy a “green” soap to use in the water to clean up with.


Just wipe your hands …
… on your BUDDY’S tent.

Good Luck!