Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 31
  1. #1

    Default mice climbing the bear cables

    Hey Hey,

    I just finished a short, solo (my first - woot!), section hike from Woody Gap to Unicoi Gap in GA. Whilst camping at Low Gap Shelter mice ate through my food bag EVEN.THOUGH it was correctly hung up on the bear cables. Funnily enough, there are 2 sets of cables and I noticed there was a piece missing from one of them (one of the spinny-noodle-things between the tree and the metal disk on the highest cable) and moved my bag to the other set that looked intact. And still there was a hole in the morning, and gnawings through my ziploc bag and into my breakfast cereal. The cheek!

    So, 2 questions:
    1) Fortunately it was my last day and it didn't matter if I didn't eat what I had planned for b'fast as I had plenty of other food to choose from. But it made me think: if this was day 1 of a 5 day hike, could I still eat the food that a mouse had nibbled at? Or does the whole lot need throwing away? What mousey-diseases would I be risking if I did eat the food? Or maybe I'm overthinking this?

    2) What are we supposed to do when the mini-bears learn to outsmart the cables? Are bear canisters and kevlar bags (like Ursack Minor) our only option?

  2. #2

    Default

    Try a GrubPack to keep the little critters out. Stainless steel bag

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-27-2003
    Location
    northern whites
    Posts
    3,875

    Default

    BTW - Flying squirrels have been known to swoop down on a food bag properly hung and gnaw a hole through the bag. I have watched one long ago raiding my food bag one late evening. The only option is stainless steel bag. The brand that I have heard of before but no experience with is a "Rat Sack"

    The surprising thing was how accurate the squirrel was, it drilled directly down to the spot with the peanuts.

  4. #4

    Default

    I carry a bareboxer can, 1.6 lbs. Nothing gets into it.

  5. #5
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-18-2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Age
    57
    Posts
    331
    Images
    52

    Default

    Unless there's a proper bear box, I always hang my food using my own resources. The key to keeping the mice out is two-fold. First, be sure you hang properly, with the bag well away from trunk or limbs in the tree, so that the mouse can't just leap onto the bag (mice can jump a surprisingly long way for their size.) Second, use a line that the mice can't really climb down. That generally means very thin dyneema line, because it makes it hard for them to grip (small line diameter) and it is very slick. I've done this for years now and never had the mice raid my food, even when others at the same site have.
    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
    Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

  6. #6

    Default

    I started carrying a BV450 to eliminate this.

  7. #7
    Registered User Red Sky's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-29-2016
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Age
    62
    Posts
    58

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Candr01 View Post
    Hey Hey,

    I just finished a short, solo (my first - woot!), section hike from Woody Gap to Unicoi Gap in GA. Whilst camping at Low Gap Shelter mice ate through my food bag EVEN.THOUGH it was correctly hung up on the bear cables. Funnily enough, there are 2 sets of cables and I noticed there was a piece missing from one of them (one of the spinny-noodle-things between the tree and the metal disk on the highest cable) and moved my bag to the other set that looked intact. And still there was a hole in the morning, and gnawings through my ziploc bag and into my breakfast cereal. The cheek!

    So, 2 questions:
    1) Fortunately it was my last day and it didn't matter if I didn't eat what I had planned for b'fast as I had plenty of other food to choose from. But it made me think: if this was day 1 of a 5 day hike, could I still eat the food that a mouse had nibbled at? Or does the whole lot need throwing away? What mousey-diseases would I be risking if I did eat the food? Or maybe I'm overthinking this?

    2) What are we supposed to do when the mini-bears learn to outsmart the cables? Are bear canisters and kevlar bags (like Ursack Minor) our only option?
    I stayed there last year and this happened to another hiker's properly hung food bag. Those mice are really clever! They didn't touch my Ursack, but this guys lightweight bag was empty when he got up the next morning, and there was a pile of paper, wrappers and empty zip lock bags on the ground underneath. This is also where I decided to stay in an AT shelter for the first time, and these little guys kept everyone up till about 3:00 AM. One even tried to crawl in the bag with me!

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-14-2015
    Location
    Rome, Georgia
    Posts
    257

    Default

    Low Gap is the only place in nearly 600 miles that I've had mice in my pack. There must be super-mice at that location.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-06-2008
    Location
    Andrews, NC
    Age
    60
    Posts
    3,640

    Default

    I witnessed a flying squirrel on the bear bag cables at that very shelter one dark evening while heading away to take a pee. This was well over a decade ago. I have been using an Ursak Minor and have had zero issues with vermin getting my grub.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-27-2003
    Location
    northern whites
    Posts
    3,875

    Default

    BTW, most folks would not be able to tell the difference between a flying squirrel gnawing a hole in food bag from a mouse doing the same. Mice are acrobatic but still suspect that food hanging from a bear cable is more prone to flying squirrels or up north a pine marten (the scourge of the Adirondack backcountry and now moving into the whites shelter sites). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_marten

    I was at the Garfield shelter in the whites on July 4th and the caretaker commented that a pine marten had moved into the site. He said the marten was taking care of the shelter mouse population. He said several of the other huts also had them.

  11. #11
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    12-13-2004
    Location
    Essex, Vermont
    Age
    64
    Posts
    2,240

    Default

    When I don't want to carry my Bear Vault, I pack my food in a plastic pretzel jug. Waterproof, bug proof, and mouse proof.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-04-2017
    Location
    Central CT
    Age
    32
    Posts
    161

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    BTW - Flying squirrels have been known to swoop down on a food bag properly hung and gnaw a hole through the bag. I have watched one long ago raiding my food bag one late evening. The only option is stainless steel bag. The brand that I have heard of before but no experience with is a "Rat Sack"

    The surprising thing was how accurate the squirrel was, it drilled directly down to the spot with the peanuts.
    Exactly why I'll be switching to a bear canister... I had no problems with hanging my food bag all the way until those flying Squirrels in ME (I'm sure they are elsewhere to). One night I thought maybe something could of jumped from a branch even though it shocked me. So I did my next 2 hangs extra good, very high and in mid air... 2 nights after the first whole in my bag I lower my bear hang and there's a damn flying squirrel still on there - I had to kick my food bag to get it to jump off.

    I haven't gotten to a bear canister yet but I only got to camp 2 nights since finishing the AT (ain't that depressing...), It will be a permanent part of my set up as soon as I find what I want. (I carry a lot of food on longer trips so I gotta get the right canister and pack for my hiking style).

    ...oh one more thing, like you mentioned they know exactly where to go... chewed right into my granola from the outside of my food bag both times!
    NoDoz
    nobo 2018 March 10th - October 19th

    I'm just one too many mornings and 1,000 miles behind

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    17,739

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daddytwosticks View Post
    I witnessed a flying squirrel on the bear bag cables at that very shelter one dark evening while heading away to take a pee. This was well over a decade ago. I have been using an Ursak Minor and have had zero issues with vermin getting my grub.
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    BTW, most folks would not be able to tell the difference between a flying squirrel gnawing a hole in food bag from a mouse doing the same. Mice are acrobatic but still suspect that food hanging from a bear cable is more prone to flying squirrels or up north a pine marten (the scourge of the Adirondack backcountry and now moving into the whites shelter sites). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_marten

    I was at the Garfield shelter in the whites on July 4th and the caretaker commented that a pine marten had moved into the site. He said the marten was taking care of the shelter mouse population. He said several of the other huts also had them.
    Same. Also in one of the AT GSMNP Shelters. I've seen bats on hung food bags on the AT too.

    Doesn't Low Gap Shelter have metal plates or pie plates on the horizontal wires or verticals.

  14. #14

    Default

    Animals seem to learn where the food is every night. Not putting it in those locations is one solution. Iím not suggesting that bear cables are a bad idea, but a properly hung food bag away from that area is best IMO. If no good branches are present for this, then donít rely on a bad hang.

  15. #15

    Default

    That’s why the bear can rules. No bad hangs, ever.

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-16-2004
    Location
    Purgatory, Maine
    Age
    79
    Posts
    933
    Images
    18

    Default

    My old, but nearly pristine Ursack is listed on the For Sale section.
    Everyone has a photographic memory. Not everyone has film.

  17. #17
    Registered User Elaikases's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-26-2016
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Age
    63
    Posts
    397

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    BTW - Flying squirrels have been known to swoop down on a food bag properly hung and gnaw a hole through the bag. I have watched one long ago raiding my food bag one late evening. The only option is stainless steel bag. The brand that I have heard of before but no experience with is a "Rat Sack"

    The surprising thing was how accurate the squirrel was, it drilled directly down to the spot with the peanuts.
    I've used a Rat Sack. For the volume it is lighter than many other options, but the things are large. We have two (my wife has one as well) but haven't used them for the past 700 miles or so of our backpacking. I've thought of using them though.

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-20-2017
    Location
    Saint Johns, FL
    Age
    52
    Posts
    629

    Default

    just a friendly re-direct.... I noticed that nobody so far has answered the OP's original question number 1... which was basically "do I eat the mouse's leftovers or are there some diseases I might catch by swapping spit with the little bugger?"
    ..../no offense intended to posters though....the question number 2 discussion about solutions is of course good too. I only posted because I am also interested in the group's opinion of number 1.

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-13-2015
    Location
    Orangeville, Ontario, Canada
    Age
    69
    Posts
    403

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
    "do I eat the mouse's leftovers or are there some diseases I might catch by swapping spit with the little bugger?"
    Can you cook it, i.e., heat it and keep it above sanitization temperature for long enough to kill germs? If yes, and if really hungry, perhaps Iíd eat it. Otherwise, whatís a bit of hunger?

    Iíd also be wanting to know that the little bugger hadnít emptied his bladder and bowel in my food Ö


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-06-2008
    Location
    Andrews, NC
    Age
    60
    Posts
    3,640

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaikases View Post
    I've used a Rat Sack. For the volume it is lighter than many other options, but the things are large. We have two (my wife has one as well) but haven't used them for the past 700 miles or so of our backpacking. I've thought of using them though.
    I too used a Rat Sack years before I went with the Ursak Minor. Some of the chain links became broken/loose on it. Got a puncture in my air mattress from stuffing it next to the RS in my pack.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •