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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: October 21st, 2011, 8:48 am 
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Joined: February 12th, 2004, 9:28 am
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Location: Waterloo, ON
chris randall wrote:
... After all they will bite tin cans and it is not as if they can read the labels..


I'm sure I saw a story once about a bear only drinking the good beer out of a cooler. Yep, here it is:

Bear picky about beer

Are you sure they can't read the labels? :rofl:

p.s. Not sure if Rainier is any good or not, might have to try it.

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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: October 21st, 2011, 9:40 am 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2004, 4:45 pm
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Location: Canmore AB
whippypaddle wrote:
Never hung my barrels but if I did, I'd definitely take the harness off. Why give the bears something to sink a claw onto, as I seriously doubt a claw would be able to sink into a swinging plastic barrel. ymmv


That's a good idea. Of course it's much easier to just hoist it up by the straps.

Hugh

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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: October 21st, 2011, 12:08 pm 
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Joined: January 27th, 2011, 6:51 pm
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or trip with someone strong whose only task is to schlep this over the portage

http://www.yeticoolers.com/pages/YETI-Videos.html


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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: October 21st, 2011, 9:10 pm 
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Joined: November 1st, 2003, 11:20 am
Posts: 68
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
I've given up completely on hanging food, food packs. It always looks like a lot of work and seldom looks inaccessible to bears. Hanging might help keep the squirrels/mice/raccoons out but most of them are adept at tightrope too. I use a barrel and a 115 liter seal-line dry bag and i like to fool myself that they don' emit tasty smells. Then I store them at night a long ways from the tents.

I worry a bit about 'socialized' bears, especially in Algonquin Park, but haven't seen a bear there at all in 25+ years and so far i've yet to see a black bear in the woods that didn't run at first sight or scent of human. I've not camped in BC or northern mountains where you might have to worry about bigger bears. But even then, i'd rather they went after the food then be frustrated trying to reach something hanging over their heads.


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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: October 24th, 2011, 11:10 am 
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Joined: April 11th, 2009, 9:43 am
Posts: 433
Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
In 35 years of multiple annual backcountry trips in Maine, I can only recall a single bad bear encounter, and that was one that was hanging around a garbage can in Baxter State Park. Baxter has since converted to a carry in/carry out policy, which seems to have eliminated what used to be a common problem.

I have never hung food or taken any other particular precautions with food on my Maine trips. Most of my friends don't either, and I can't recall anyone with stories about food-habituated bears here.

But when I moved out of state and tripped other places, I recall bears after food in camp on a regular basis. By far the worst were bears in Porcupine Mountain State Park in Michigan's UP. (I believe the problem there is the high incidence of brats in camper's food packs at campsites. Those bears get a taste for good sausage fast! :lol: ) But I also had bear problems in the Adirondacks, in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, in Yosemite. I never lost food to a bear, but had them prowling around the campsite and poking around my hung food a lot.

I'm not sure why we don't see lots of bears at campsites here. It may be simply that use is more spread out over a big landscape so bears get less habituated to people. It's certainly no lack of bears in the woods.


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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: October 24th, 2011, 11:28 am 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Quote:
I'm not sure why we don't see lots of bears at campsites here. It may be simply that use is more spread out over a big landscape so bears get less habituated to people. It's certainly no lack of bears in the woods.


without trying to stir up a hornet's nest, I have a feeling the bear hunt has something to do with it. I have always seen or heard about more "problems" in national parks or park areas where hunting is limited.

Never hung on a Maine trip..and sometimes we take fresh meat which I would have thought would be irresistible.

We do get the odd bear at the mailbox or at the school bus stop or in the city but there is plenty of natural food for them and open spaces.

And of course no one really feeds the bears other than baiting for the hunt.


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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: October 24th, 2011, 1:12 pm 
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Joined: April 11th, 2009, 9:43 am
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Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
Maybe, but there is no hunting in Baxter, and while I've seen bears there, I've never heard of a problem. That wasn't so true back when every campground had a dumpster attracting bears.

Another factor may be that use here is a lot more spread out. Bears probably can't get used to having a party in a particular backcountry campsite most nights the way then can in more heavily used country like BWCS or ADK. But I would think the Allagash and Chesuncook areas would have heavy enough use to habituate the bears.

Who knows? Anyway, glad we don't so many problem bears here. It was a tremendous pain on trips to the Porkies--bears in the campsite almost every night.


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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: October 24th, 2011, 2:24 pm 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Math: Ontario is 415000 miles. Maine is 31,000.. Ontario being almost 14 times as big as Maine ought to have some 23,000 x 14 bears. From what I find it does not(far less at 100000) and there are significant density differences.

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Be ... 67695.html

It seems that the density is highest in the most heavily used canoe tripping country.

Allagash and Chesuncook use seems to be going down as compared to the wild seventies when people weren't quite so bear wise. Usually I never see more than one or two people and often zero save the rangers.


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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: March 19th, 2012, 9:35 pm 
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Joined: July 28th, 2008, 9:29 pm
Posts: 280
Location: Winnipeg
We use barrels for our trips. We never hang them as there are usually no trees tall enough. We have tried but it just never seems to work out. So we have started to tie them to trees now to prevent them from being scooped up and dragged away.
From a food standpoint I am more concerned with racoons than bears anyway. I generally keep my barrels where I can see them, but not right next to the tent. Lets face it, if the bear is in your site, he is looking for food. And you are not food. It will have no interest in you or your tent whatsoever. These are black bears.
Those hand launched bangers are really handy and not expensive either. Zip one of those at the bear, or coon, and they will be history. But if a bear smells food he will be back, you can count on it. If you have a nuisance bear the only real solution is to shoot it. There are lots more where that one came from and once habituated to free meals they will not be deterred.

....Christy

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 Post subject: Re: Bears and Barrels
PostPosted: March 27th, 2012, 11:06 am 
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Joined: February 19th, 2011, 10:53 am
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I doubt there's any setup that a bear isn't equipped to deal with, if they wanted to. The key is them wanting to. Most truly wild bears are cautious, and presumably take one look/sniff at your campsite, with all its unfamiliar human objects and smells, and think "What the Hell is all this stuff? Smells OK but this situation is WAY too weird for me" and get out of there.

Barrels, hanging, noisemakers...every obstacle you can put between a bear and your food can make a contribution to them deciding it's not worth the effort/risk of persisting. You can't eliminate the possibility, but you can tilt the odds in your favour. Any one thing can make the difference.

The bear in the video was clearly well-trained, smart, and persistent. But even she gave up. She could smell the food, and she had the ability to get into that barrel, eventually. No one could have predicted she would leave once she tore off the harness. But when things got tougher than she was used to, or just different to what she'd experienced before, she decided to leave well enough alone. She probably also felt vulnerable with her cubs in the open for so long, and decided to take them somewhere she felt safer.


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