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Old 07-19-2009, 06:04 PM   #21
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Now listen to this... A relative of the owner of the ranch who lives nearby is passing around the story that the reason the bear came and wanted to climb into my trailer is because he was after my dogs as his next meal. This doesn't sound right to me, but apparently others are believing it and saying maybe I shouldn't bring my dogs up there when I camp in the trailer. All this sounds backasswards to me as I think they played a good part in chasing the bear away now that I know he ran off in the opposite direction from their approach, actually towards the direction my friend's truck was coming. Plus they were the ones that woke me up and let me know we had a visitor. There has been no report from anyone up there of a bear going after any dogs.
I personally think the bear had previous experience of getting food from a trailer since there is a huge camping area at a very nearby lake with hundreds of trailers visiting all year long. Especially due to his large size, one look at him and I'll bet most people wouldn't have held out as long as I did defending my trailer.
Help me out on this, as I really don't want popular opinion here getting so strong on this that I don't get to bring my companions with me.
Or tell me if I am wrong.....
Carol
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:37 PM   #22
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ont , Ontario
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i'm sure you are 100% right about the bear's previous experience getting food from a trailer. aren't you a little nervous to go back there though?
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:22 PM   #23
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I am going to wait a week or two, then check out the trailer to see if he has made any further attempts to make an entrance while I am not there. If I see no evidence of that and the trailer is still in one piece; I will get a new screen made, load up at the hardware store with a giant sized pepper spray or two, (that I will try out as soon as I get home) put a new battery in the remote for the car alarm, park the car at the side of the trailer by the front door instead of up front so that I will be in range to activate the alarm, put the marine horn cannister next to my bed, a fire extinguisher under my pillow, my cell phone turned on and placed alongside the car keys in direct sight across from my bed, keep the dog collars on them all the time and their leashes on a hook by the door right next to a large stick, sandles under the bed, consider wearing pajamas, keep the windows mostly closed, plenty of tossable ammunition nearby, make sure a friend is going to be camping nearby the same night and let them know I am up there and to keep their cell phone next to them at night and THEN I will go back up there and bring my shaggy best friends with me....
Carol
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:08 PM   #24
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Sounds like you've got good planning going!

I don't think the bear was looking for a dog meal. Probably just curious, or hungry for something he smelled. After all, in many places, bear hunters use dogs to hunt bears (black bears, anyway) and the dogs chase the bear and if all goes well, tree the bear. Of course, sometimes things don't go well and the bear turns and fights and often in such circumstances, the dogs don't come out of the engagement. But I've never heard of bears deliberately "hunting" dogs. Mountain lions, yes. Wolves, yes. So I don't think your ranch owner's relatives have got this one right.
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:18 PM   #25
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I feel like my dogs are my best protection and no one can change my mind about that.
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:19 PM   #26
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Dogs and Bears

Dogs are a great deterrent to most bears. The bears are not scared of the dogs, but they are pretty shy and do not want to have a confrontation either. Here in Alaska, we usually hike with our dogs for that very reason. A well behaved and barking dog has a great effect on most bears. Last season a friend turned a corner and was face to face with a Black Bear with cubs. The dog was leashed, barked one time and the bears slowly turned off the trail and retreated into the woods.

A dog that cannot be restrained or is ill-mannered is more of a hazard than a help, especially if the dog wants to start something. Having to try and figure out how to get your dog back after he takes off after a retreating bear is a real problem, because the bear will eventually turn and destroy the dog.

I seriously doubt that the bear was looking to make a dog a meal. That is way more trouble than most bears will go to. They are very opportunistic about food left out or poorly stored. I have never heard of a bear attacking a dog for a meal. I have heard of bears killing dogs in self defense. I think that I will go along with the curious bear or the bear that has been taught that humans have food.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:24 AM   #27
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Ya'll are much braver than we.
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:12 AM   #28
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ont , Ontario
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sounds like you will be prepared!

I think if the bear had wanted to make a meal of your dogs, he would have, when the one chased after him. But the fact that barking dogs didn't deter him from trying to get into your trailer suggests he got a pretty good reward the last time he climbed into one!!

The usual argument I hear about dogs and bears applies to a different situation totally - dogs roaming on a camping trip can provoke a bear and then they run back to camp, bringing the bear with them. Your dogs didn't do that, they were just minding their own business.

Good luck with the situation and be careful!!
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:56 PM   #29
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While resting quietly back here at home, I have been doing some research.
I discovered that there is a difference between personal pepper spray and bear pepper spray. The bear pepper spray is more potent and is available in larger cannisters which spray farther and for a longer period which sounds very good to me.
After reading through some books on bears and searching the internet under "bear deterrents," I found stories of bears making subsequent charges even after that first blast in the face and other accounts of multiple bears coming in from different directions--baby bear starts the problem and mama bear comes charging to the defense. Don't want to run out of spray at that time! A few other hair raising tales have made me decide to NEVER carry a portable cannister INSIDE a day pack or fanny pack, but instead right in a holster on my hip while hiking through bear country. Like the one where the bear has the guy's leg in his mouth while the guy is still frantically searching in his fanny pack for the spray. Not to scare anyone; he was way out in the wilderness hiking in grizzly territory, surprised sow with cub, luckily his friend nailed the bear with his pepper spray and the guy survived.
After comparing different brands, I think I will try "Counter Assault" which is sold online and at REI, it sprays the farthest and longest according to the info I looked through. Considering that the bears can charge at 35 MPH, I want to stop him before he becomes intimately involved with me. I also liked the fact that they tell you it should be replaced with a new one in four years and they come with an expiration date printed right on the can to remind you. Especially now that I think back to how long I held on to my dinky little can and all the ballyhoo that ensued...
Carol
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:09 PM   #30
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I'm sorry, but I just don't understand HIKING IN BEAR COUNTRY!!! Why take these risks?? You're lucky you and your pups are alive. There, I said it and I won't say it again. Please be careful.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:17 PM   #31
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Thanks for your concern,
This is on a ranch only five or ten minutes from downtown Ojai, there are two big houses on the property where people have lived since 1980 with rarely a sight of a bear, I just was talking to the son only last week who told me he grew up there for the last twenty years and had never seen one and I only got a quick glance at a very small one who ran off when I flicked on my flashlite in the whole last year... I think it has just been really hot lately and the bears are coming down from the mountains, but believe me, I will be careful!
Carol
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:25 PM   #32
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If you don't go to bear country, you are probably confined to midtown Manhattan, Key West, and a few other places. You don't see them because they don't want to be seen. They aren't as good at remaining unseen as mountain lions, but they are certainly better at it than humans are. If you don't hike in bear country, you don't hike.

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:32 PM   #33
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The dog story is crap. I left my dog leashed for 1/2 a day in the Tetons in the Camp ground the ranger came a took her. A lab.. There was nothing about leaving it outside in any of the brochures...

When I went to pick her up he said she was bear bate and gave me a ticket for $65.

I confronted him on the fact that a bear, well feed or even hungry, in that area would not attack a dog, well not a big dog. maybe a yappy one.

He finally did agree that the chances of it happening were pretty slim but they didn't want the bears around and felt that dogs out might attract them. I said then they need to put it on a sign stating this.

Personally I know from hiking with my dog that Bears would rather avoid a dog than eat it. I have seen bears running when my dog Belle is barking.

I take our lab with us and feel safer for it. She warns us of other dogs, people, and wild critters. And with 2 kids a like that.

I also have the bear pepper spray in the trailer, not a gun, not with the kids. plus the pepper spray is more effective and easier to aim / redirect....

I would hate to kill something that was just looking for food, because some Idiot feed it before.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:33 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post
I'm sorry, but I just don't understand HIKING IN BEAR COUNTRY!!! Why take these risks?? You're lucky you and your pups are alive. There, I said it and I won't say it again. Please be careful.
95% of colorado is bear country.... Sometimes you just don't have the choice. In fact you can find bears just about anywhere out west...
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:21 PM   #35
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While trying to think about what else might have attracted the bear to my trailer, does anyone think it might be this? Since I had not cooked any food in the trailer that day, or for that matter, had not even been there for the previous three days, I did have a very small bag of dry dog food inside the trailer wrapped up in plastic.

The only other thing is that I had set up four mouse traps with a dot of peanut butter a week or two before, three hidden inside the trailer, and one hidden inside the rear bumper where the sewer lines are stored. Which IS where the window was that the bear decided to climb in, though I never once saw him sniffing, pawing at or looking towards the far corner of the bumper where the trap was.
Carol
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:28 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by cclarkego View Post
I am going to wait a week or two, then check out the trailer to see if he has made any further attempts to make an entrance while I am not there. If I see no evidence of that and the trailer is still in one piece; I will get a new screen made, load up at the hardware store with a giant sized pepper spray or two, (that I will try out as soon as I get home) put a new battery in the remote for the car alarm, park the car at the side of the trailer by the front door instead of up front so that I will be in range to activate the alarm, put the marine horn cannister next to my bed, a fire extinguisher under my pillow, my cell phone turned on and placed alongside the car keys in direct sight across from my bed, keep the dog collars on them all the time and their leashes on a hook by the door right next to a large stick, sandles under the bed, consider wearing pajamas, keep the windows mostly closed, plenty of tossable ammunition nearby, make sure a friend is going to be camping nearby the same night and let them know I am up there and to keep their cell phone next to them at night and THEN I will go back up there and bring my shaggy best friends with me....
Carol
Carol, you sound like a very interesting lady. I am originally from NYC and now live in Oregon by way of California. My family are all city dwellers who think the Great OUtdoors is two trees growing next to each other. When I told them we bought an Airstream, they looked mystified. 'Camping? Why would you do that?' lol I can't wait to tell them your bear story. Their idea of wildlife is something you spray with Raid when you turn on the kitchen light in the dark.
Great story. Send it to Reader's Digest or something....
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:48 PM   #37
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My life seems to bump from one radical arc to another, first I'm a Backpacking Guide leading groups through the Sierras and then taking long solo trips into the wilderness for weeks at a time, THEN I leave California to become an ICU Nurse in New York City becoming the charge nurse for the NYU Cardiovascular Surgical ICU, back to California as a Paramedic Instructor in Los Angeles, now I'm an artist in Ojai with a couple of Labs and a Vintage Airstream....

I snuck back up to the trailer today to check for any more bear damage and to tinker with my solar system. No more bear prints, the trailer still stands and my solar system is still giving me problems. I'll take two out of three.
Carol
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:46 AM   #38
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If you don't go to bear country, you are probably confined to midtown Manhattan, Key West, and a few other places. You don't see them because they don't want to be seen. They aren't as good at remaining unseen as mountain lions, but they are certainly better at it than humans are. If you don't hike in bear country, you don't hike.

Gene
So true. My daughter and her husband were hiking up in the hills behind where we live in civilized Ashland, OR. They were on a trail where houses were interspersed on either side - swing sets, swimming pools, hot tubs, etc.

One day they were walking with their dogs and came upon an enormous tree stump. As they approached, the tree stump turned around and stared at them, rubbing one of its paws on the ground. It was a brown bear and my SIL said that had it stood up, it would have reached ten feet. Holy cow. They were able to move away slowly while the bear stared them down. They called appropriate authorities who went up there to search for it but we never heard anything more about it. I wrote a letter to the paper because people ought to be warned about a bear that size on a trail as popular as this one is. I used to walk it alone, as do many other women, and families with kiddies. Bears. Yikes.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:34 PM   #39
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Does anyone know of any bear deterrent you spray on or put around your trailer that will work even when you are not there? Something they hate to be around?
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:11 PM   #40
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Try asking the state wildlife people. The only thing I can think of is the smell of an equally nasty predator such as a mountain lion or wolf. Your local bear wouldn't know wolf though. People have tried coyote urine to scare deer away from ornamental plants, but I don't know how effective it is. Since you are an experienced nurse, you might bring a bed pan to a mountain lion and ask it to give a sample, but you may not want to wait for the opportunity.

Interesting resume. How people make life choices and move through diverse careers is interesting. You sound like a strong person.

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