BEARS. Yes, Bears.

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WhiskeyIsMySpiritAnimal

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Hello, living in Missouri and Kansas all my life this is nothing I have ever had to think about. I am well versed in the never ending battle against raccoon getting into the camp food, but I think nature just turned things up a notch.

My wife and I moved to AZ this past Aug and we are getting to do our first trip into Black Bear country (Coronado National Forest.)

It's unclear to me if any of the stops will have bear lockers and I've read wildly mixed messages about bear bags. Some ranger sites advise it is OK to place food items like your cooler inside a hard side vehicle, while most national park sites expressly advise against that. I really don't want to invest in a yeti or something similar just because it's certified bear resistant.

So what is the preferred and responsible method of getting yogi out of the pick-a-nik basket?

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/bears/storingfood.htm
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/bears.htm
https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5330935.pdf

dumpster bear.jpg
 
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Winterpeg

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Like the research you've done... it will depend on the area you are going into by the sounds of it.

Where I go (deep wilderness) the bears are not conditioned to think of humans as providing a food source so they are very skittish and don't want anything to do with us. So I put my stuff in a lockable aluminum bin bolted to my trailer and in my vehicle. I haven't had any problems and nobody else who has gone into that area has had problems and they have been far less careful than I from what they tell me.

Sounds like you are doing the proper research for your area... just go by what the local recommendations are for each of the areas you go into.

My horn button on my keyless entry is my first form of defense against yogi, then I have a few other things including (but not limited to) a "bear banger" - pictures below which fires off a charge a little ways away and then explodes with a good bang. It's the size of a pen.
IMG_20150728_153306.jpg
 
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theick

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You can't underestimate how strong they are. I watched a big brown momma bear peal the outer skin off of a steel commercial door in Tahoe. It didn't even slow her down.

The best thing you can do is hang your food from a tree limb 100yards from your camp. Also don't cook in camp which is hard to do obviously. Typically if you are in camp and making noise they won't come around.
 

MA_Trooper

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I hang my bear bag between two tall trees. It's a little elaborate but where I am from, smaller black bears will climb to the top of a tree to get some food. Always check with the rangers where ever you are going. And never cook right in camp.
 

boehml

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I do all my hiking in bear country. Grizzly, Black and Brown. Store your food well away from camp, and eat the food in that same area. Anything that gives off an odor (deodorant and the like), store it with the food too. So the 100 yard rule, its pretty hard and fast.

Other than that, I consider it a treat to be able to see a bear. I've had one literally centimeters from my tent and others hundreds of yards away. If I had stored my food correctly, I would have avoided the tent surprise. As with most animals, they don't normally do much unless they feel threatened (just like a human). If you're really lucky, one might even sit with you!

 

JKU Overlander

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I do all my hiking in bear country. Grizzly, Black and Brown. Store your food well away from camp, and eat the food in that same area. Anything that gives off an odor (deodorant and the like), store it with the food too. So the 100 yard rule, its pretty hard and fast.

Other than that, I consider it a treat to be able to see a bear. I've had one literally centimeters from my tent and others hundreds of yards away. If I had stored my food correctly, I would have avoided the tent surprise. As with most animals, they don't normally do much unless they feel threatened (just like a human). If you're really lucky, one might even sit with you!

That's absolutely awesome and terrifying at the same time. I'd have to go into my pack for some new underwear after that. What a video!

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boehml

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That's absolutely awesome and terrifying at the same time. I'd have to go into my pack for some new underwear after that. What a video!

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When I had a bear next to my tent in the dark, I just held my breath quietly rolled over and covered the mouth of the other person in the tent with my hand and went back to sleep. I didn't want it to feel threatened by some white guy in boxers jumping out of a tent door with a flashlight, lol.

The morale of the story is, try and keep them away from you, but understand that you may see them out there.