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Old 09-16-2014, 08:38 PM   #1
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Storing food in bear country?

Just before getting bit real hard by the AS bug, we were camping near Yosemite and were warned to use the supplied bear boxes in the campgrounds. We were told not to leave any food in our cars. What do you AS owners do in bear country like, say the Tetons or Montana? Is it safe enough to keep food in the fridge and cabinets? I imagine a determined bear could do a lot of damage to our beloved AS.

Thanks in advance,


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Old 09-16-2014, 08:52 PM   #2
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As an old bear hunter, I can tell you that a large black bear could do a lot of damage to almost any trailer. I have seen them rip apart cars, minivans, and pick ups. Tents and pop up trailers are especially vulnerable.

However, I have not seen many hard sided campers bothered by bears. Not sure why. Next week I'm going bear hunting for the first time in an Airstream. Pity the bear that bothers my Baby.

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Old 09-16-2014, 10:28 PM   #3
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Bears may go for the pic-a-nik basket before your AS. Depends upon which smells the tastiest.

I do not recommend "electrifying" the shell of any AS. BUT IT WORKED FOR Jules Verne, Capt. Kirk and Thomas Edison. Also, someone might accidentally get hurt.

Rather, using a rope over a limb to raise grub out of sniff range may work....
Try to not get food scent on the rope. That will attract them.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:36 PM   #4
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Bears apparently have varied tastes. In a state park in Idaho, one chewed the heck out of a standard slinky type sewer hose that was connected between the trailer and one of those blue portable waste storage tanks. There were also muddy bear prints on the side of our Bigfoot trailer, where he had obviously looked in the window. I'm fairly sure that would have dented an Airstream. One of the inside screens on that window was torn, which must have been one of our cats getting in the bear's face.

It was probably Daisy (my avatar). She doesn't take much guff.

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Old 09-16-2014, 11:24 PM   #5
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Those are good stories but I don't have a gun (yet) or an overly protective cat. So I'm assuming nobody strings up their food in an ice chest over a branch and just takes their chances with their food kept in the fridge. I'm also guessing if a bear box is available, one should place the ice chest inside. I was hoping someone could testify as to the odor sealing properties of a fridge but I guess there's no such thing as your average bear.
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:14 AM   #6
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Storing food in bear country?

Chances are slim that a bear would try to rip open an AS unless you leave something very fragrant out . Bear behavior is based on smell and sight. Often times they'll break in to a vehicle because of a visible cooler or other object of familiarity. Keeping a cleaned up interior and not having a visible target is key. Use common sense and make sure your food is put away and not visible, and as odor free is possible. Your AS is as safe as you're going to be in the wild . We're heading to Yellowstone in the morning from San Diego, I'll report on my bear advice....

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Old 09-17-2014, 05:47 AM   #7
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In some campgrounds you need to keep your grill out of sight or it will get stolen.
Not by bears, but by the park management.

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Old 09-17-2014, 06:16 AM   #8
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Do any of you carry bear spray with you?
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Old 09-17-2014, 06:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by youngpeck View Post
Do any of you carry bear spray with you?
I do in the North Country when canoe/backpacking, but not when ASng.

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Old 09-17-2014, 07:21 AM   #10
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I live in bear country and usually have a visitor at least once a year. They come around to raid the bird feeders and anything else they can find like grills or open garages with refrigerators. I am amazed by how smart and strong they are. I have seen the damage done to a neighbors car for a pizza box.

The bears in the big western national parks are conditioned to check cars for coolers and food. It’s a pass down learned trait. You need to keep all your food in the trailer or the bear box. That includes snacks, gum, wine, soda, everything. Put your grills in the bear box too. In your trailer you want to clean up after dinner, no dirty dishes, food put away and garbage to the dumpster, especially if you keep windows open. There is usually enough commotion in the CG during the day, but at night is when you need to be a little more cautious.

I never carried bear spray until I was bluffed charged and face to face with a bear on her haunches standing taller than me. Luckily she had a cub up a tree and was just giving us fair warning. That was on the trail in the Tetons. I was also in Yellowstone in 2012 when they found the bear mauled remains of two hikers. I now always carry bear spray when hiking in bear country.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:33 AM   #11
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I spent August volunteering at Yosemite and as has been said before, keep a clean trailer inside of any type of food and my grill stayed in the bear box.
I saw 5 bears total and heard 1 in the campground one night.

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Old 09-17-2014, 08:04 AM   #12
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What MOJO said. I have little experience with Grizzlies, but here is what I have found with about a dozen encounters with black bears. When in the wilderness, where the bear has little experience with human interaction, They are generally scardy cats. Unless YOU do something stupid, like leaving food out (including EVERYTHING like prescriptions and toothbrush, etc.); or you walk stealthily and surprise them. I have bear bells attached to my bear barrels just to be noisy when walking and to let me know if a visitor is messing with the barrels at night. even when they have cubs, make your presence known and pay attention, and you'll likely not even know they are near because they have skedaddled. However, in more populated areas, like National Parks, where STUPID humans have conditioned them to be more fearless, be very cautious. HUMANS make bears aggressive...or at least assertive (nuisance bears).

I just returned from the Boundary Waters last Saturday. The Ranger said that there hasn't been a single sighting this summer, due to an abundant berry year. They want nothing to do with humans, unless they are hungry and we have conditioned them to where the food is.

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Old 09-17-2014, 08:11 AM   #13
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Been camping in bear country for over 50 years never had a problem.
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Old 09-17-2014, 06:34 PM   #14
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Be Aware of your Neighbors in "Bear Country"

Hello Jeff. You cannot be too safe or too concerned about deterring bear activity at or near your campsite. Hunters in bear country know that just the frying of bacon in the morning will bring the possibility of bear in the evening. Bacon, frying fish or cooking any food(s) that YOU can smell will travel miles... to a bear's nose!

I posted a photograph of our trailer, the night before we left on a trip, with bear prints to the trailer and print marks of the front paws on the side of the trailer. He was looking inside the small window to the left of the front door. We know we have bear here and most neighbors take precautions. I say... most.

It is the camper next to you that leaves the picnic table full of left over hot dogs, buns, mustard, soda and soiled baby diapers in a bucket next to the pop up camper. BE AWARE OF YOUR NEIGHBOR(S).

Our sightings of bear in Idaho and Montana were after we were leaving our off the grid camp site and see a bear, or two, taking their time walking down the Forest Service road. Never while we were camping... but obviously they are making their rounds.

Bear are opportunists. Just ask about any sightings at the camp you are setting up to spend the evening. As a few campers. It is also a great way to meet interesting people. Be sure to look at other campsites. Although most of the problem people would be offended by your pointing out bear problems at their camp site, try to contact the camp host or flag down the first Forest Service truck you see and explain the situation. Sometimes the offending people are worse than the bear that might wander into the camp for a quick snack.

You cannot empty the trailer of all packaged foods. It is not practical. Do the sniff test and consider securing cantalope (whew), bacon grease and paper towels and anything that has an obvious smell... where trash belongs and foods with great odor. Bears can climb trees, so when hanging food baskets on a limb, make it difficult for a bear to access! Even a hiker that takes all of the precautions is never 100% safe from anything. You use your best judgment. Be aware of your surroundings. Find bear prints through your campsite... consider if you may want to move, or was it something else attracting the bear. The local Forest Service people can give you the best local information and current situations.

If you want to attract a bear... you now know how to increase your chances. If you DO NOT WANT TO ATTRACT A BEAR... do the opposite. Bear attacks are rare, but you do not want to be that "rare event".

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