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  1. #61
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    To add to any analysis of the presence or lack of food, also consider how our food situation varies. For example this Friday I will start hiking in SNP where bears are very likely to be food conditioned AFAIK. BUT my food will be 100% sealed MH etc will very little odor and by the time I'm in Harpers I will be carrying several opened and used containers which will have nice smelly, aged food remnants(an argument for cleaning ALL containers) but little bear activity, which represents a greater risk? And how does such correlate with known bear attacks? Having food does NOT tell the full story of how it may or may not have influenced a bear attack. Its all in the details we rarely get.

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWODaddy View Post
    My general rule of thumb is to sleep with my food everywhere that bears are not protected from hunting, and hang or use a bear canister everywhere they're protected. Yes, there's obviously exceptions.

    My food isn't safer while hung, but I am as the bears in these areas often have no fear of humans and associate them with food. Black bears become dependent on the food source and then become more aggressive as measures (bear boxes, cables, canister rules, etc.) are implemented.

    Too often in these threads, people conflate opportunistic stealing of food with predatory attacks by black bears. A day hiker (or even a person in hammock) being killed by a bear has nothing to do with food storage.
    Excellent post. Like Lone Wolf I keep all my 40-50 lbs of food in my tent vestibule---. I used to try to hoist 50 lbs of food on a bear line but I never could get it more than about 5 feet off the ground. And I think black bears understand the notion---"He (me) will defend his kill!!".

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post

    Yes I've read that a bear's sense of smell is ~21x better than the average dog (which is 100x better than the avg. human). If that's the case, I figure I'm toast anyway -
    Yes, agree. This has been my understanding too---about a bear's incredible sense of smell.

    Let's say you hang your food bag. What about the 1-2 lbs of dinner inside your stomach's food bag? How are you gonna hang that? And aren't we all just walking or sleeping cheese sticks to a bear? So do we hang our bodies up in a tree all night in case a bear wants to eat our greasy bodies???

  3. #63
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    Default To hang or not to hang?

    To Tipi and others with many years experience keeping your food in your shelter, how often have bears come sniffing around your camp? Of those, how many were more persistent and started pawing at your tent or poking around under your tarp?
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    To Tipi and others with many years experience keeping your food in your shelter, how often have bears come sniffing around your camp? Of those, how many were more persistent and started pawing at your tent or poking around under your tarp?
    I don't backpack in the Smokies because of their burdensome rules (and where their black bears are protected)---and with their 11 million tourists---so I can't speak for the Park. But I backpack everywhere else in the Southeast and generally where black bears are hunted (except for the Citico bear preserve---spent hundreds of nights in Citico)---and have never had a bear come sniff my tent or paw it.

    By far the worst mammal pests are hunting dogs left to roam unsupervised for days at a time. These beasts will claw apart a tent, jump inside and claw your thermarest, and steal food bags. Mice will also chew apart food bags but they will do the same with hanging food as they scurry down the cord. I take a few mouse traps.

    I've seen dozens of black bears over the years while hiking and about 4 or 5 circling my camp and tent when I'm not hiking and just hanging out in camp. They were never tempted to get my food.

    I suppose one day when my number's up I could get eaten by a black bear---or crushed by a falling tree trunk or tree limb---or hit by lightning---or burst a heart artery or stroke out. Or die on the couch watching TV.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    To Tipi and others with many years experience keeping your food in your shelter, how often have bears come sniffing around your camp? Of those, how many were more persistent and started pawing at your tent or poking around under your tarp?
    I don't backpack in the Smokies because of their burdensome rules (and where their black bears are protected)---and with their 11 million tourists---so I can't speak for the Park. But I backpack everywhere else in the Southeast and generally where black bears are hunted (except for the Citico bear preserve---spent hundreds of nights in Citico)---and have never had a bear come sniff my tent or paw it.

    By far the worst mammal pests are hunting dogs left to roam unsupervised for days at a time. These beasts will claw apart a tent, jump inside and claw your thermarest, and steal food bags. Mice will also chew apart food bags but they will do the same with hanging food as they scurry down the cord. I take a few mouse traps.

    I've seen dozens of black bears over the years while hiking and about 4 or 5 circling my camp and tent when I'm not hiking and just hanging out in camp. They were never tempted to get my food.

    I suppose one day when my number's up I could get eaten by a black bear---or crushed by a falling tree trunk or tree limb---or hit by lightning---or burst a heart artery or stroke out. Or die on the couch watching TV.
    I kinda figured that would be the answer. Bears in the woods are probably much like sharks in the ocean, around us much more often than we realize and want nothing to do with us.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  6. #66

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    While I've seen many bears and wild pigs---COYOTES are the real mammals who rule the forest. I spend alot of time hiking and camping in the snow and it's amazing to wake up every morning and leave my tent and see coyote prints all around my camp. These guys check out everything. And you'll never know they're out and about as you sleep.

    Which reminds me of a story---I was camping on top of Flats Mt in TN at 4,000 feet and woke up one morning and found a huge pile of Bear crap right next to my tent.

    TRIP 118 423-L.jpg
    My camp on Flats Mt. (I hung my food bags so I could go on a dayhike water run and not leave my food on the ground unattended).

    Moral of the story?? These creatures---bears, pigs, coyotes---all know we're out with them. They smell, observe, investigate etc. And for the most part 99% of the time they keep their distance.

  7. #67

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    That's pretty interesting Walter. coyotes do the same down here. I usually find their tracks, from overnight, near my camps in the morning when I'm out in Ocala National forest. That and the predictable raccoon prints.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    To Tipi and others with many years experience keeping your food in your shelter, how often have bears come sniffing around your camp? Of those, how many were more persistent and started pawing at your tent or poking around under your tarp?
    never had a bear sniff around my tent

  9. #69
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    And then there is this: SNP has closed Bluff Trail for backcountry camping due to bear activity but are saying Gravel Springs shelter is fine....they are separated by less than 500'. Could it be bears dont like to climb trails?Or they have been discouraged from visiting shelters because the bear hang is difficult to defeat?

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  11. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    never had a bear sniff around my tent
    Every other animal does. But not bears? Ha! Deep sleep on the trail is priceless.

  12. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    To Tipi and others with many years experience keeping your food in your shelter, how often have bears come sniffing around your camp? Of those, how many were more persistent and started pawing at your tent or poking around under your tarp?
    About 20yrs ago I had one walk up to my tent - I watched him press his nose into the side.

    All my food (and everything else except for what we needed to sleep) was 30ft away in the trunk of my car at the time.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    Every other animal does. But not bears? Ha! Deep sleep on the trail is priceless.
    correct. no bears sniffed around my tent.i'm a very lite sleeper. i'm a Marine

  14. #74
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    interesting discussion. I have very little experience camping in bear country
    I've got to say thought that I think the most logical idea is what tipwalter mentioned....what about the food in our stomachs? residue on our hands? and our own bodies are food for a carnivore! Exactly along the lines I've thought for a long time.

    My other thought is that hanging to me, seems mostly a defense against rodents, coons, etc.... especially if given the idea that so many hangs are sub-par for whatever reasons.... These threats are the ones that I've camped around most....so I'd guess that they pretty much apply almost everywhere...not just bear country

  15. #75

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    My section hike this year I would come across people each day that the mice destroyed gear looking for food. That included chewing though tents. As a side note A couple of years a go I was working with a ranger from Western North Carolina that was telling me they had a sow that was successfully able to open BearVaults and was teaching her cubs to do the same AND they had a male bear that would steel a can, toss it over a cliff, let let gravity open it, and then chow down.

  16. #76
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    what about the Ursack? How's that working for you guys?

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sojourner74 View Post
    what about the Ursack? How's that working for you guys?
    I have the AllMitey and I haven't had any problems for 2 years.
    Blackheart

  18. #78

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    A friend's ursack was shredded by a bear on Mount Mitchell a few months ago when we camped there. Didn't look like it held up for long at all.

  19. #79
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    Like SWODaddy the only places I hang my food are where the bears are not hunted. I will use the bear boxes where mandatory if I actually hang my hammock near a shelter or campsite. With that being said; in all the years I've been hiking on the AT I've slept with my food the rest of the time. I've had more issues with critters chewing on my pack straps or trekking pole straps when I am lazy and don't hang said items.

    Bears will smell your food whether it is in your pack, in the air or in your car. They smell the odors on your clothes and gear. They smell your toothpaste and tp. They smell your fear. If you are going to be attacked by a bear its because that is your path. Black Bears are about possession. If they feel you have possession of something they will not try and take it. Opportunistic feeders and gathers they are. The smartest black bear will get the best hang every time. Seen bears climb bear poles, cable ties and the likes. So to me it seems you and the rest of us are in quite a pickle huh!?

    Ursack Mity is your best light weight option as to a bear canister. I use scent proof sealable bags for waste and food. For a long time my food bag was a stuff sack from OR that was waterproof. Upgrade to the Ursack for critters and westerly adventures. PCT hang(easiest) and the eagle hang.
    "I choose to carry very little, but that little is chosen with care." Earl V. Shaffer

  20. #80
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    Didn't realize so many people don't hang there food but it makes me feel better now when there's a bunch of people camping and mine is hung.... Same thing sometimes I do a hang I feel isn't the greatest but you know there's at least 5 easier ones for the bears to get

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