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Old 04-06-2009, 08:52 PM   #15
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I've tent camped in the hills of West Virginia black bear country, and never worried much about it.

I've also spent two weeks in Canada canoeing the lakes and rivers in bear country, and never worried much about it.

I've also tent camped in the mountains of Utah in bear country, and never worried much about it.

I've tent camped in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, and had far too many encounters with skunks than I want to remember.

I spent a summer, on a dairy farm, in Idaho, about three hours from Yellowstone, and had far too many encounters with skunks than I want to remember.

I would worry about the skunks, and ignore the bears.


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Old 04-06-2009, 09:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
Just curious, are the local campgrounds with hookups (e.g., KOA, etc.) any safer, as far as bears are concerned? We are also planning a trip to Yellowstone, but will stay at KOA-type parks for the convenience (grandkids); and will disconnect and take day trips into the park.

In similar excursions into Yosemite, we didn't see any bears...
We've camped in Teton Villiage twice, been to the Yellowstone/Teton area 4 times and seen one bear....that was on a hike around the backside of Jenny Lake in the Tetons. The bear was several hundred yards away and even then was very shy.
The improved campgrounds are all in locations where I wouldn't expect that you would even see bears, let alone have a problem.
My disclaimer is that I have only been there in June, July and October.

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Old 04-07-2009, 04:34 AM   #17
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I came face to face with this black bear at the Loft Mountain Campground off the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park, Virginia last October. I turned to return to my Airstream and he was there blocking my return. When he stepped behind the 5th Wheel I was able to get back.

The rangers told me that he was a 250 pounder and had been causing trouble in the campground and wouldn't stand down if confronted.

It's smart to give them their space, after all, it's their home, we're just visitors.

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Old 04-08-2009, 07:08 PM   #18
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I've spent a lot of time camping in Yellowstone. Sometimes bears seem to be everywhere and sometimes they're elusive but I've seen dozens of bears in my time there. About 3 years ago we had a young adult Grizzly come into our campground twice. You really have to follow the rules in the campgrounds and you'll be fine. Since we like to do a lot of hiking into some lesser traveled areas I always carry bear spray but I've never had a close encounter with a bear. For $30 it gives a little peace of mind.

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Old 04-08-2009, 10:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Woody.303 View Post
I would worry about the skunks, and ignore the bears.
LOL. Black bears are usually not a problem. If you make enough noise, they disappear long before you ever see them. However, younger ones seem to less fearful and more of a nuisance, and will come to campgrounds at night looking for garbage. (They also like consuming leftover fruit - from trees that were not picked - in the fall, and I've been told that they will happily gorge themselves, perhaps eating 40 lbs at a sitting, without any regard for the gastrointestinal consequences!)

Grizzlies are the real cause for concern, but I've been told that they tend to stick to the upper 1/3 of the mountains, e.g. above 4000 or 5000 ft elevation, and that sightings are quite rare. A friend had a grizzly tag last fall, and wasted several weekends hunting for one, without success.

I'm more concerned about mountain lions. They are known to stalk humans hiking alone, but are not an issue as long as people stick together.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:36 AM   #20
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The Silver Dragon still has a bear claw mark in the refrig door, got there at the prior owner's yard in Truckee, CA. No marks on the trailer door tho.
I keep a dish of ammonia or PinSol in the refrig and trailer while it's winterized, havent had any trouble in the trailer, while my yard has lots of bear manure during the apple and plum season.
In my camping experience, don't have any bacon in your gear, period, true bear bait. It's been said they don't like strong citrus.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:01 AM   #21
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Some very good comments and advice as to bear control has already been offered. A pepper spray can, attached to your belt, will give you confidence in the event you encounter a bear that is not afraid of humans. A helpful hint: Read the instructions on how to point... and operate the pepper spray can! When your knees are shaking from your first bear experience, finding your car keys is an something to be filmed for America's Funniest Videos.

Want to attract bears... cook salmon on the outside grill and let the wind send out the message. In Yellowstone Park, the rangers are well aware of where the trouble bears are and they trap and remove them when trouble arises. Of course, some bears keep coming back and the park patrol will put them down. Again, a former people problem causing a bear problem... as said earlier.

Yellowstone RV parks are the safest place you can stay. Rockdocking in the deep woods is a bit more sophisticated and a camper understands the risks and knows how to be safe. Camping in the National Forests have their risks, but being prepared to prevent problems are more important for your safety. Many camp hosts will alert new arrivals to any bear problems. From dusk to dawn, they tend to be more active in the wild. These bear tend to keep their distance. You can tell the difference between Black/Brown bears and Grizzley by their scat. Black bear have many seeds and crushed acorns in their scat. Grizz' have the brass bells in their scat, that hikers wear into the forest... A joke, guys. This is the western camper's bear joke, not to be taken seriously.

Do not see any of those movies that have the bear attacking hikers and helicopters before you go to Yellowstone Park... My dad worked for the Montana Forest Service in the 1950's and it was not unusual for a bear to be pulling on the cabin's cellar doors trying to get a meal. Just stay calm, do not run away... but slowly back up. Climbing a tree does no good, as bear are good climbers as well. Always be aware of any footprints on the trail, overturned boulders (bear looking for large grubs and crickets, etc.) and bear scat on the trail. They MARK their territory.

I know this is a bit windy of a comment, but after living and camping in the deep forests of the West much of my life, the children survived, we survived, the dogs survived and we have seen plenty of bear. The closest calling of a bear was at home in Roxborough, Colorado where an adult bear was trying to get into the house in the middle of the night. Our Blue Heeler came out faster than I could in my underwear to investigate the racket and the bear disappeared into the scrub oak and into the woods. I must add... after we were grilling salmon a friend gave us from his Canadian fishing trip!
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:13 AM   #22
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I'm sure Flagstaff residents have seen bears. People in cities and towns surrounded by forests have more and more bear encounters since they, or their neighbors, are not careful. You might be safer camping in Yellowstone because you are more aware of the proper things to do and the NP rangers keep the areas relatively safe.

We've hiked all over Colorado, tent camped many, many times (including at Yellowstone) and never seen a bear. Many years ago I was pretty careless about bears when camping, but had no mishaps. But, we've seen many bears driving around the west and in Canada. I suppose from our experience, you could assume it's more dangerous to drive.

As there are fewer and fewer hunters, there is more and more wildlife. Although local TV "news" makes is sound like disaster is around every corner, don't pay attention to those stories. They are just to scare people and pump up ratings. Take reasonable precautions and enjoy the backcountry.

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Old 04-12-2009, 11:35 AM   #23
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Go to Yellowstone

I live in bear country about 4 hours from Yellowstone. My advice: GO! The Park Service wants you to have a positive experience. Read and heed what they give you.

Lots of reading available on bear behavior. Remember that park bears and back country bears are two different things. I don't agree that climbing a tree does little good. Black bears climb well-grizzlies don't. I live in a grizzly corridor and I'd feel real good about being up a tree--except when I had to come down. Black bears climb well, but I've never heard a story about one of them coming up a tree after someone. I'm sure it's possible, but I don't think it is likely.

Anyway, pay attention to the Park Service suggestions and have a great time.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:31 PM   #24
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Where would you rather be—up a tree or on the ground facing a bear?

Of course, I'm like a grizzly when it comes to climbing trees.

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Old 04-12-2009, 03:22 PM   #25
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I remember hearing once upon a time about how you tell a black bear from a grizzly---a black bear climbs up the tree after you, a grizzly takes hold of the tree and shakes it until you fall down.
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Old 04-14-2009, 01:47 PM   #26
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Bear are the least of your worries...

I am sure you might have some reduced sensitivity about Bear Country now, but when you visit Yellowstone Park, be sure to ask some questions about Yellowstone itself.

It is still a very active geothermal hot spot and has the potential of blowing every bear in a hundred mile radius into the upper atmosphere. Ask the Park Ranger why the south end of Yellowstone Lake is becoming shallower... Ask them about the last time when Yellowstone sent a plume of ash that actually buried and suffocated rhinoceros in Eastern Nebraska in the not so distant geological past. Ask about what made the sediments to the east of Yellowstone Park in the high Wind River Mountains. Ask how close the magma is to the surface of Yellowstone. Yellowstone has the potential of burying thousands of square miles to the east and southeast of this active caldera sometime in the future and it is "when" that nobody can answer. I am in no hurry to see it, so I can be patient, living southeast of what will be some bad weather that year, for sure.

Now, after you receive answers for these questions, you will not be spending a moment worrying about bear! Maybe several good shovels could be more helpful.
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Old 04-14-2009, 04:09 PM   #27
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Flyguy is probably headed to Florida by now to escape the volcano.

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Old 04-14-2009, 04:18 PM   #28
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The debris should help offset global warming (if there is any). One should bear in mind that the earth is dynamic and well over 99% of the species that we know about that have ever lived have gone extinct. If the Yellowstone system goes up, one might just as well have front row seats.......


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