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  1. #1
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    Default Any animal issues?

    Hello everyone, Im new to this site and relatively new to the AT. I am section hiking starting in MD. I am stationed in MD so thats why im starting in the middle.... Its the closest part to me. Anyways, I was just wondering if anyone has ever had any problems with bears in MD or VA? I plan on hiking in the spring or summer. And, what kind of precautions for bears, or any other animal that would like to make me its dinner, do you have to take at the the shelters or campsite? Also, if anyone is interested in hiking in the spring or summer in MD and VA let me know.
    thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    The only animal to worry about is ticks - Lyme and Rocky Mountain can set your plans back
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  3. #3
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    Yes TICKS! The only critter that I fear on the AT. I got Lyme disease in MA on my thru this year, but it is very prevalent in MD. Learn everything you can about this disease and be prepared for it. I was carrying antibiotics prescribed by my doc just in case and caught the disease before it got too bad. I made a (hopefully) full recovery. Permithrin and Deet will help prevent ticks.
    Also in "09 Phoenix got bit by a rabid raccoon while he was sleeping in a shelter in MD. That's the only incident like that that I've heard of.
    There are bears of course in MD and VA (and throughout the AT) so use appropriate measures such as hanging food.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

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    dogs are more dangerous than bears. ticks the most dangerous.

  5. #5
    Registered User rusty bumper's Avatar
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    Yes, ticks are the only critter you really need to be concerned about. I applied 100% DEET to all my exposed body parts 3 times each day from VA thru VT and never had a tick problem. The DEET also kept the gnats and mosquitoes from landing. Often I'd see ticks crawling on my socks and I'd watch them move up toward my DEET covered bare leg, where they'd do a 180 and head back down toward my foot. I saw a total of 13 bears on my journey and none of them was a problem....most either ignored me or ran off...just be sure to hang your food bag every night.

  6. #6
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    I recently sectioned hike the AT in Eastern Pa. , The evening I was in the Wind Gap area 5 bear were seen , In the areas of the lookouts , 1 was a Moma 2 cubs , My 1st exp. of ever seeing a Black Bear was that day and was also on the Trail directly ahead of me, I did an about face after yelling n carrying on to no avail , The bear never followed as I met up with Hikers behind me , The other day Hikers said about the 5 of them , It was a pretty humbling Exp. I would recomend Bear spray but have yet met anyone that has had to use it. Even though you will be in Md. in Va. , Your gonna be on the Bears turf , So do take percautions , and even though this was just in Nov. 2011 the ticks were still active. As I was finding them on my clothes looking for body parts.

  7. #7
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
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    Yep, ticks!

    Once in Md., I was chased down the trail by a woodchuck that refused to yield the trail to me (bossy thing!). As long as you don't smell like a pound of bacon, and hang your food up and away from your sleeping area (NOT on the front purlin of the shelter), the bears should leave you alone.

    Bear spray??? Oh, you mean "Piss-me-off spray"?!?!
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain!

  8. #8
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerboy57 View Post
    dogs are more dangerous than bears. ticks the most dangerous.
    54 years old and still fear...? by any chance you have Peter Pan itous?


    There is considerable debate on whether or not certain breeds of dogs are inherently more prone to commit attacks causing serious injury (i.e., so driven by instinct and breeding that, under certain circumstances, they are exceedingly likely to attempt or commit dangerous attacks). Regardless of the breed of the dog, it is recognized that the risk of dangerous dog attacks can be greatly increased by human actions (such as neglect or fight training) or inactions (as carelessness in confinement and control). A person bitten by an animal potentially carrying parvovirus or rabies virus should consult a medical doctor immediately. A bite victim may also incur serious bacterial infections of the bone called osteomyelitis which can become life threatening if untreated, whether or not the animal has parvovirus or rabies virus.

    It is my understanding that dogs have to be trained to attack humans. But some humans run like gazelles down the trail invoking behavior of the flight response....
    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 12-31-2011 at 13:56.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    54 years old and still fear...? by any chance you have Peter Pan itous?


    There is considerable debate on whether or not certain breeds of dogs are inherently more prone to commit attacks causing serious injury (i.e., so driven by instinct and breeding that, under certain circumstances, they are exceedingly likely to attempt or commit dangerous attacks). Regardless of the breed of the dog, it is recognized that the risk of dangerous dog attacks can be greatly increased by human actions (such as neglect or fight training) or inactions (as carelessness in confinement and control). A person bitten by an animal potentially carrying parvovirus or rabies virus should consult a medical doctor immediately. A bite victim may also incur serious bacterial infections of the bone called osteomyelitis which can become life threatening if untreated, whether or not the animal has parvovirus or rabies virus.

    It is my understanding that dogs have to be trained to attack humans. But some humans run like gazelles down the trail invoking behavior of the flight response....
    hey woo. no im not afraid of dogs never been attacked by one, but i will admit an ownerless dog in the woods makes me more nervous than seeing a bear.yes, i do have peter pan syndrome. i dont care about getting old, i just dont want to grow up.
    have a happy new year.

  10. #10
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
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    Any dog will chase any creature that appears to be fleeing - that response is hard-wired in canines. In fact, when one of my huskies gets loose - if I see them break away at the outset - since I know that I can't outrun them (you CANNOT outrun sled dogs), instead of trying to chase them down, I'll get their attenttion, then begin to run at 90* to their intended direcction...most of the time the "chase-response" takes over and they will come after me! (much easier to collar them that way!)

    Never run from a dog (walk away slowly), and if confronted, never turn your back on a threatening dog.
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain!

  11. #11
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Animals in Order of Danger (being as honest as I can)

    1) Ticks (as stated) - in season, check for them daily
    2) Bees (if you could be allergic / have anaphylaxis)
    3) Dogs - they are very scary and the AT walks thru areas where people let poor mistreated mean dogs run around - see post above - no running, no eye contact, slowly sideways move away
    4) Persons (especially rednecks near roads) - might should have ranked this higher - more likely to get robbed than hurt but watch for sketchy people and move-on if necessary
    5) Poisonous snakes - they want to get away from you and are not a big fear but they ARE around - just watch were you put your hands and feet (I saw 6-8 rattlers in summer '11 - esp. NC,GA,PA)
    6) Bears - I've seen a few - they have all run away (which I think is likely) but those with alternate experiences are not around to tell about them
    (seriously - most thru hikers don't hang their food - I do hang which puts me in the minority but I sleep better at night)
    7) Mice - they are not going to hurt you but you'll absolutely have to deal with them in the shelters - rank these guys #1 for pesky and plentiful
    8) Raccoons - they are in the bear family - won't hurt you but will get your food like master thief
    9) Mosquitos and Gnats - they SUCK but you're not going to get malaria on the AT (I don't think)
    10) Leeches - be careful swimming in VT and ME

  12. #12
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    1+ on the ticks. Some people freak about mice in shelters and use them as an excuse to tent. I'm lazy and don't mind sleeping in a shelter. Heck, I had a mouse steal an earplug out of my ear in the Roaring Fork shelter. Guess it needed a pillow for its den. Too funny! Use the mouse baffles found in most every shelter to hang your food and unzip all your pack zippers while there to avoid chewed fabric.

    Bears are overrated on the fear factor scale.

  13. #13
    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa D View Post
    Animals in Order of Danger (being as honest as I can)

    1) Ticks (as stated) - in season, check for them daily
    2) Bees (if you could be allergic / have anaphylaxis)
    3) Dogs - they are very scary and the AT walks thru areas where people let poor mistreated mean dogs run around - see post above - no running, no eye contact, slowly sideways move away
    4) Persons (especially rednecks near roads) - might should have ranked this higher - more likely to get robbed than hurt but watch for sketchy people and move-on if necessary
    5) Poisonous snakes - they want to get away from you and are not a big fear but they ARE around - just watch were you put your hands and feet (I saw 6-8 rattlers in summer '11 - esp. NC,GA,PA)
    6) Bears - I've seen a few - they have all run away (which I think is likely) but those with alternate experiences are not around to tell about them
    (seriously - most thru hikers don't hang their food - I do hang which puts me in the minority but I sleep better at night)
    7) Mice - they are not going to hurt you but you'll absolutely have to deal with them in the shelters - rank these guys #1 for pesky and plentiful
    8) Raccoons - they are in the bear family - won't hurt you but will get your food like master thief
    9) Mosquitos and Gnats - they SUCK but you're not going to get malaria on the AT (I don't think)
    10) Leeches - be careful swimming in VT and ME
    Very nice list Papa D. I normally do not miss reading your posts and this post confirms I am right.

  14. #14
    lemon b's Avatar
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    Mice and raccoons can be a hassle. One night I remember an invasion of porky's at Wilbers Shelter on the North side of greylock. Keep everyone up all night.

  15. #15
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    I left 5 animals off my list:

    Fire ants -- my daughter told me to add this - she has a bad local (nearly systemic) reaction to them - maybe because she is 6
    Porcupines -- I've actually never seen one in the wild - I hear the quills can get you - I just don't know - I suppose I'd steer clear
    Wild Boar -- we've got a bunch of these pigs in Western NC and TN - they are hunted - as long as you don't bother the babies, I think you are fine - they will attack your dog though - so I've heard
    Deer -- never had any problem with deer (another addition by my daughter)
    Moose -- got pinned in by some moose in Wyoming once - middle of the night in the Tetons - seen 'em in Maine - hiked the whole Long Trail and saw plenty of Moose poop - bummed - no moose though

  16. #16
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    dont forget over exposure to mouse dropings and dust that is contaminated can lead to these diseases, could...mice run all over those nasty shelter floors..

    http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7...es/direct.html

  17. #17
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitewalker View Post
    dont forget over exposure to mouse dropings and dust that is contaminated can lead to these diseases, could...mice run all over those nasty shelter floors..

    http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7...es/direct.html
    um. oh yeah -- we've come a long way from an OP who was scared of bears I guess. LOL

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa D View Post
    I left 5 animals off my list:

    Fire ants -- my daughter told me to add this - she has a bad local (nearly systemic) reaction to them - maybe because she is 6
    Porcupines -- I've actually never seen one in the wild - I hear the quills can get you - I just don't know - I suppose I'd steer clear
    Wild Boar -- we've got a bunch of these pigs in Western NC and TN - they are hunted - as long as you don't bother the babies, I think you are fine - they will attack your dog though - so I've heard
    Deer -- never had any problem with deer (another addition by my daughter)
    Moose -- got pinned in by some moose in Wyoming once - middle of the night in the Tetons - seen 'em in Maine - hiked the whole Long Trail and saw plenty of Moose poop - bummed - no moose though
    i seen a porcupine on the greely ponds trail in the white mtn forest....

  19. #19
    Registered User sarge95's Avatar
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    My first night in NJ 2 animals woke me in the early morning making lots of noise. I got up and shined a light in their direction. Im not sure what they were but the size was close to a bobcat. They made so much noise I couldnt sleep so I got up and sat around about an hour and they didnt leave. When I started taking down my Tent they stopped making noise until I started taking down my food bag. They caused more noise but at no time attemped to attack. They appeared to be trying to run a bluff. They followed me for a few miles until I ate breakfast and they tried their bluff again. By this time it was daylight and I didnt hear them again

  20. #20
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge95 View Post
    My first night in NJ 2 animals woke me in the early morning making lots of noise. I got up and shined a light in their direction. Im not sure what they were but the size was close to a bobcat. They made so much noise I couldnt sleep so I got up and sat around about an hour and they didnt leave. When I started taking down my Tent they stopped making noise until I started taking down my food bag. They caused more noise but at no time attemped to attack. They appeared to be trying to run a bluff. They followed me for a few miles until I ate breakfast and they tried their bluff again. By this time it was daylight and I didnt hear them again
    oh man, I forgot bobcats - I've seen (heard) two actually up close - one was in NC - skreeched at me like a crying baby - crazy loud spooky sound -- the other was last year on the Long Trail - I was sitting in the front yard of a hostel in Hancock, VT (The Gathering Place) and there were chickens in the driveway across the road - woods behind that - I actually watched a bobcat stalk his prey (the hapless chicken), pounce and capture it in his jaw -- he gave me a look in the eyes like, "yeah, what, this is MY chicken" then bolted into the forest - chicken in mouth.

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