Interesting reading on bears and food

9:36 a.m. on September 11, 2018 (EDT)
5,530 reviewer rep
1,135 forum posts

Andrew Skurka's take on a Yosemite NP spreadsheet on 199 bear incidents, 2013-2017. In the spreadsheet you have to scroll right to get terse descriptions of what happened. A lot of human error  and some outright idiocy, but also conditioned/aggressive bears. Mostly in Little Yosemite Valley and a few other heavily used sites. I guess bear cans and lockers have helped quite a lot over the years, but it only takes a few successful raids to keep the cycle going.

10:41 a.m. on September 11, 2018 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
702 forum posts

Or it only takes a few enabling hikers to ruin a bear...

10:59 a.m. on September 11, 2018 (EDT)
73 reviewer rep
4,026 forum posts

Good words by balzaccom. 

I just returned from June Lake where we were warned about "aggressive deer."  They were everywhere and totallly habituated to people.  The only explanation is that people are feeding them.

A fed bear is a dead bear.  There is a lot of truth in that.  I worked in Yosemite on a contract in 1974.  Bears were everywhere then.  At the campsite in the valley, at the bus stop and in remote backcountry camps in L Yosemite Valley.   "It's the same story the crow told me, the only one he knows."

2:38 p.m. on September 11, 2018 (EDT)
2,017 reviewer rep
396 forum posts

BigRed said:

I guess bear cans and lockers have helped quite a lot over the years.

This, plus bear-aware PR campaigns, and bearproof trashcans and dumpsters.

Bears are smart, and these tactics use their intelligence against them. They don't want to waste energy pursuing food from a source that experience has taught them does not yield a reward. So bear-proofing backcountry food storage and frontcountry trash and teaching visitors to be more careful has cut way back on bear incidents in Yosemite. 

10:48 a.m. on September 12, 2018 (EDT)
73 reviewer rep
4,026 forum posts

Eliminating the trash dumps in NPs was a big step advocated by the Craighead brothers. 

Then came dumpsters and trash cans that bears could not access. 

Finally we got bear boxes at each campsite. 

People old enough, have seen massive changes in the populations of campground bears.  I can remember being visited by 4 different bears at one campsite in Oregon back in the early 1970s.  That was before we went to sleep. No telling how many came by during the night.  Now people see few bears in established campgrounds. 

Backcountry camping requires diligence. 

2:53 p.m. on September 12, 2018 (EDT)
3,173 reviewer rep
2,270 forum posts

When I first started the Smokies had chain link fences on all the shelter fronts. People would actually feed the bears through the chain link if you can believe that. Unreal that anyone thought that was a good idea.

2:27 p.m. on September 29, 2018 (EDT)
73 reviewer rep
4,026 forum posts

A few weeks ago we found bear scat in the vicinity of our camp but no bears in our camp because our food and anything with odor was hanging high in a tree.  I do not sleep with my pack either and hang it in a tree outside with a plastic bag over it.  

The gooseberries were ripe and all over the place.  That is what brought the bears to our neighborhood at 8,400 feet. . 

6:25 p.m. on September 30, 2018 (EDT)
295 reviewer rep
1,433 forum posts

I keep hearing "A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear" and it's irritating because where I go backpacking in the mountains of TN and NC the forest service allows the killing of hundreds of black bears during hunting season.

So they should change the Fed Bear mantra to "A Hunted Bear is a Dead Bear."

9:56 p.m. on November 7, 2018 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
1 forum posts

Friends use 1 1/2 inch firecrackers in the boundary waters of northern MN to scare off bears. They have never had a bear stay around longer than three firecrackers. You can carry a gun and shoot the bear, but fireworks are not allowed. You never heard that from me though.

10:26 a.m. on November 8, 2018 (EST)
73 reviewer rep
4,026 forum posts

I have run into bears in the Boundary Waters.  On the trail they are afraid of people with canoes on their heads and ran for hills, okay eskers.  In camp, we had one pesky one but my dog ran it off, never to return. 

January 25, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Alcohol Stove = awesome!! Newer: All Time Favorite Camping Recipes!
All forums: Older: patagonia capilene air Newer: Yosemite