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A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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  1. #21
    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Exclamation A flaw in your logic

    the bear spray from a long way off, which is highly offensive to them
    This is plain wrong. Bear spray is NOT a repellent, it's an irritant. In the same way that chili powder makes bland food SMELL better but is NOT something you'd want in your eyes, the red pepper oil in bear spray might SMELL quite good to a bear, but spraying it into their eyes and noses will definitely cause them terrible (but temporary) pain. That's why
    https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/s...hould_know.pdf
    states, "DO NOT PRE-SPRAY OBJECTS. Bear spray does not work like an insect repellent. If used this way, it may actually attract a bear because of the residue’s strong odor."
    and why
    https://bebearaware.org/deploying-bear-spray
    states, " Never spray yourself, your clothing, or your tent - doing so could actually attract a bear to the scent"

  2. #22
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    A Yellowstone ranger told me that every year they have a couple of people dial 911 after they sprayed themselves and/or their gear with bear repellent thinking it worked like DEET. Once dried, the peppers in the spray become sweet and attract not only bears but all manner of scavengers.
    Be Prepared

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    And who hangs their food when actually hiking?
    Love this. Although I don't presume to "know" any perfect right answer (nor would I trust one), I do have to say that I've thought about this particular point quite a bit. We always hear about bears making their bold & brazen food raids at night; we don't hear about bears taking down food bags during the day -- when they're simply hanging from a hiker's back.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  4. #24
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    When explaining why bear spray repels bears but the residue attracts them, Tom Smith says "I like to drink milkshakes, but I don't like to have them sprayed up my nose."

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoSpirits View Post
    Love this. Although I don't presume to "know" any perfect right answer (nor would I trust one), I do have to say that I've thought about this particular point quite a bit. We always hear about bears making their bold & brazen food raids at night; we don't hear about bears taking down food bags during the day -- when they're simply hanging from a hiker's back.
    I personally know a man who was thru-hiking the AT and -- he stopped to take a break, got out his gorp and while eating it, was hit in the back and knocked over. He turned around to see a bear running off with his bag of gorp.

  6. #26
    Registered User Majortrauma's Avatar
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    Thanks GoldenBear. Good gouge. Based on that information and my additional "research" it appears that my plan is indeed flawed.
    I'll still carry the bear spray with my 9mm as back up.

  7. #27

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    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthr...ock-Wilderness

    This is yet another series of incidences caused by improper food storage (keeping food in tents or unattended). The bear(s) involved are now "trained" to look for unattended food left by hikers. Until this bear(s) are relocated, even the most experienced hikers, who do not hang or can their food at all times, are at risk. Along with the bear(s) involved.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seatbelt View Post
    I personally know a man who was thru-hiking the AT and -- he stopped to take a break, got out his gorp and while eating it, was hit in the back and knocked over. He turned around to see a bear running off with his bag of gorp.
    Wow. Just...wow.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seatbelt View Post
    I personally know a man who was thru-hiking the AT and -- he stopped to take a break, got out his gorp and while eating it, was hit in the back and knocked over. He turned around to see a bear running off with his bag of gorp.
    In No. Cascades NP I had a mouse pull a similar stunt. As I sat in the woods eating my GORP, nowhere near a shelter or campsite mind you, I heard something so I turned to see a mouse eating out of my GORP bag about 1' away.
    Be Prepared

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloud View Post
    In No. Cascades NP I had a mouse pull a similar stunt. As I sat in the woods eating my GORP, nowhere near a shelter or campsite mind you, I heard something so I turned to see a mouse eating out of my GORP bag about 1' away.
    Dang BlackCloud, I was eagerly awaiting the part where the mouse knocked you over the head. Still a good story.

  11. #31
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    The onus of separating wildlife and humans is on humanity not wildlife since after all humans are supposedly the most intelligent species on Earth.

  12. #32
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    This comes down to not fences or more extinctions but knowledable responsible human behavior. Humans are not the only Earthlings. We must share the planet.

  13. #33
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    That reminds me of a quote I heard from a Yosemite ranger earlier this year when discussing the storage of food in the park and the need to use bear boxes, etc. The quote was along the lines of "The margin of intelligence between the dumbest human and the smartest bear is small".

  14. #34

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    Dispersed camping is my favorite means of protecting bears and my food.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by carouselambra View Post
    "The margin of intelligence between the dumbest human and the smartest bear is small".
    As demonstrated by this incident in the Smokies last week...

    https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/...ns/7591441002/

    In lieu of a fine, I suggest they cover her body in peanut butter and make her spend the night in the back country.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  16. #36
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    When asked why it is hard to design the perfect garbage bin to keep bears away, the ranger supposedly said "There is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smartest bears and the dumbest tourists."
    Be Prepared

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoSpirits View Post
    Love this. Although I don't presume to "know" any perfect right answer (nor would I trust one), I do have to say that I've thought about this particular point quite a bit. We always hear about bears making their bold & brazen food raids at night; we don't hear about bears taking down food bags during the day -- when they're simply hanging from a hiker's back.
    When I was much younger I helped our at a black bear rehab. There, I was told that the black bears in our charge had a law of possession: that which is nearer me is mine, that which is nearer you is yours.

    Any famished bear will disregard this in order to live.

    But I found it mostly true. When we tried to get a cabbage to the bears to eat we had to bowl it more than halfway to our well fed rehab bears. Or had to leave it and walk very, very far away.

    But is it best practice to rely on this social norm of some bears? No way. I hang my food every time. But also, I don't sleep the X00 feet away from my hanging food. It is nearest to me so it is mine to a well fed bear. And for a famished bear it is far enough away that they eat the food and not my face. Also, I am only ever in black bear territory.

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  18. #38
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    Another factor that I have not seen mentioned is the habit of some hikers of burning trash is fire pits and shelter fireplaces. Frequently there is partially burned foil from tuna packets' and freeze dried meals in the ashes of fire rings. No doubt this attracts bears and other scavengers to the campsites.

    Also a problem is that people throw leftover food and other non compostable items into the composting privies. I have seen damage to the bins where bears have attempted to tear into them to access the food residue and garbage. Evidently the smell of the poo is not enough to deter bears from trying to get to the food scraps.

  19. #39

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    This just in via a friend that just did Dicks Creek Gap to Winding Stair Gap. Lots of bear activity from Carter's Gap shelter to Betty's Creek Gap. Hiker reports: 2 diff. groups had PCT hangs - bear climbed tree, then leaped to catch the food bag - total loss. Two diff. instances of BV500 bear cans being opened. Hiker with Bear Vault lockable lid caused bear to abandon trying. One Ursak well tied to a tree, bear crushed contents but bag survived, covered in bear slobber. My take: more people on trails, more food for bears and thus more agressive getting food.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    The OP has applied the "sleep with your food" rationale that has been around for years and discussed on every hiking forum ad nauseum. As Dr Tom Smith (one of the top bear biologists) puts it, the bear's desire to avoid you is greater than its desire to get your food. Bears thus learn the best ways to get unattended food (bags hanging from trees). Bears who go after tents have learned to do this from people who leave unattended food in tents. The use of visual visual cues by bears is confirmed by the use of bear canisters. Canisters reek of food odors, but once a bear learns they can't get in them, they leave them alone. People who sleep with food are teaching bears that tents are not a place to find unattended food. In an email conversation I had with Dr Smith several years ago, he confirmed that these hypotheses are consistent with bear biology. However this model has never been tested. That would require some agency to require people to keep all food in their possession at all times (with 100% compliance). However it is likely that no one will ever do this experiment, so we are stuck with multiple valid conclusions that are consistent with the data. Ultimately, Dr Smith said that while he knows bear biologists who use the "sleep with food" strategy, he does not and instead advocates for other methods of backcountry food storage, including canisters and electric fences (yes there are lightweight fencing options for backcountry use but I don't know of anyone who uses them).
    An informative post, thanks.

    All my backpacking is in Grizzly (and Black Bear) country here in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. My method is to hang food and keep a clean camp, and I doubt I'll ever sleep with food. I've never had a problem, but I also don't backpack inside the National Park where the odds of finding a more habituated bear are probably higher.

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