bear tactics

11:25 p.m. on June 12, 2001 (EDT)
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A few years back(?) I ventured across two individuals doing a through hike on the JTM. They were using "stainless steel air craft wire" to hang food with. Their observations were that bears can't chew through it. Any experience out there with it? Do bears chew through rope to access the cache or do they use there paws in some fashion? They were hoisting the vitals, not suspending btwn two points. I do not advocate, but look for comments and experiences.

1:59 p.m. on June 13, 2001 (EDT)
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aircraft cable

That's true, but ... If you are in an area where the bears are not yet educated, aircraft cable will work. There are a couple problems, though. First is that the cable acts like a saw and will cut into the branch. Aside from the obvious damage this does to the tree, a sappy tree (many pines, for example) will tend to glue the cable in place overnight.

Second problem is that as bears in many areas have become educated, (Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, the whole John Muir Trail, major parts of the Appalchian Trail), they use other tactics, like simply chewing the branch off or even putting enough of their bulk onto the cable to pull the food bag up over the branch or tear the cloth so that the bag just dumps its contents. Some of the Kamikaze Kubs will leap onto the bag from the branch and sink their claws into the cloth bag, tearing it open. These are the same areas that counterbalancing no longer works.

In answer to your question about chewing through the ropes - yes, Yosemite bears have been doing that for years. The steel cables were used as a bit of a deterrent, but note that they have their own problems and weaknesses, as described above.

10:45 p.m. on June 17, 2001 (EDT)
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a.k.a. Andrew, Andy, arboral

I have had several run ins with bears in the Adirondaks. They have adapted so well to every trick that we throw at them, that quite frankly I would very afraid if they ever develop opposable thumbs. To that end I have given up on ropes, wire etc. I now carry a bear barrel, or hikers cache. It is a hard plastic barrel with a flush top that locks down. I've had a bear play soccer with it but never got inside. Eventually he got bored and decided to go after easier meals, as the screams resounding around the lake did attest.
The barrel is available in most outfitters. I do know that Mountain Equipment Co-op does sell them.

-Andy

Quote:

A few years back(?) I ventured across two individuals doing a through hike on the JTM. They were using "stainless steel air craft wire" to hang food with. Their observations were that bears can't chew through it. Any experience out there with it? Do bears chew through rope to access the cache or do they use there paws in some fashion? They were hoisting the vitals, not suspending btwn two points. I do not advocate, but look for comments and experiences.

7:07 p.m. on June 18, 2001 (EDT)
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Opposible thumbs

So far, the bear containers work well. They lock and unlock with a quarter or similar sized coin in the screw slot. But if a bear walks up to you and asks, "Spare change, buddy?", then you really have to worry.

12:32 p.m. on June 19, 2001 (EDT)
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Re: Opposible thumbs

Quote:

But if a bear walks up to you and asks, "Spare change, buddy?", then you really have to worry.

They gotta do that. No pockets to keep the change in.

September 18, 2014
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