Any Bear and Snake problem in winter months in So Cal mountains

3:09 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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Do I need to bring bear cannister when camping during winter months in So Cal? I am also wondering about snakes during winter in So Cal. Personally, I have not seen a snake since November. Just wondering.

7:59 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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No snake problem in SCal mountains during winter, nor even usually at the lower elevations. Since snakes are cold-blooded, they move sluggishly if at all below 40 deg or so.

Bear canisters are generally not needed in SCal any time of year for camping. Bear bagging is pretty much all that is needed. During late spring through late fall, there are occasional bear forays in the resort town areas in the hills (Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, but never saw any when I worked at summer camp in the Idyllwild area or during my years of actively climbing at Tahquitz and Suicide). OTOH, canisters do keep out other critters, like mice, raccoons, etc.

5:50 a.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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I use a canister only when required by the authorities; otherwise I tree hang my scented items, as described in this post.  As always, call a head to determine if you are required to bring a canister.


2:27 p.m. on February 3, 2012 (EST)
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Still Hang,

Still Carry,

and be bear and snake aware at all times.

Just a lot less risk in the winter for bears and almost a 100% non risk for snakes.

But remember to tell that tot he one that bites you.

Bear spray does not only work on bears.

5:58 p.m. on February 18, 2012 (EST)
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(1964) "An estimated 221 (138 in-patients and 83 out-patients) people were bitten by snakes annually, an incidence of 1.41 bites per 100,000 people. However, the estimated case-fatality rate was less than one-half of one per cent." (

Detailed by month:

Most often encounters are inebreiated young males idemonstrating  their handling skills.

Where are you planning to go hiking? I've only seen rattle snakes below 4,000'...but then I wasn't looking for them.

1:24 p.m. on March 3, 2012 (EST)
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Amazingly, I haven't seen a bear since highschool while in Yosemite.

As for venemous snakes, I have seen them as high as 8000+ feet, in weather as low as the 50's. The 2 I've seen in San Jacinto State Park at those elevations were moving very slowly. Expect the unexpected...

9:11 a.m. on March 15, 2012 (EDT)
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If the temp is above 50, you could see snakes. If the temp is between 40 and 60, they will be pretty sluggish though, unless they have warmed up sufficiently on on a dark rock in the sun. 

10:50 a.m. on March 15, 2012 (EDT)
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snow again today

12:45 a.m. on March 17, 2012 (EDT)
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The way the weather has been this 'winter' it seems anything possible. I kept getting woken last night by a mosquitoe (or mosquitoes). In March...

I guess I should head over to the 'Best Defense Against Mosquitoes' thread...

February 22, 2020
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