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Old 03-30-2012, 11:01 AM   #21
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Ditto on the good toilet

And a good shower head. Sal.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:16 PM   #22
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Like people, bears are opportunistic, look for an easy meal and don't care what they eat. You are safer in a metal vehicle, but bears are far stronger than we are and can rip the door off a car or the side out of a trailer. It is important not to piss them off. That is the best way to get attacked. They much prefer the easy meal. They don't like a fight.

There was a photo of an Airstream posted years ago that showed a big piece of the trailer ripped off, but a cabinet was behind it and the bear gave up. Keep food and things that smell good to a bear (scented soaps and shampoo, for ex.) inside a metal vehicle or a bear box. Ventilate the trailer often. In a campground you can be somewhat assured someone else will be sloppy and may attract a hungry bear; hope they are not parked near you. The smells from a campground are very enticing to a bear and they can't easily distinguish one camper from another as the source. They are smart enough to know a tent is a lot easier to investigate, so have your relatives you really don't like stay in the tent. Give them some candy in case they get hungry during the night and help them with a new will.

When people spot bears in places like Yellowstone or Alaska, they stop and get out of their cars. I have seen this even when it is a momma bear and cubs 30 or 40' away. Momma bear can cover that distance in seconds. Always stand behind a few other (juicy) tourists and plot the escape route to your truck or car if the bear gets agitated.

Don't be less cautious with black bears than brown (grizzlies). They are all potentially dangerous. Grizzlies are really big and can do a lot of damage very fast, but black bears can do lots of damage almost as fast and are bigger than most of us.

In Colorado, bears invade houses often enough to be noted. They almost always come through a screen door. A screen door means nothing to a bear when they smell food—with their poor eyesight, they may not even see it. I prefer to open double hung windows for ventilation (the upper sash only). Bears can smell food miles away—they have better noses than even dogs. A subdivision in the forest or a campground can be party time for bears, but be careful, follow the rules (they usually make sense) and the likelihood of being attacked is very, very small. Some campground with a history of bears only allow hardsided campers, not tents or popups.

We do not leave windows open in the trailer at night or when we are away. We rely on the fans for ventilation. I prefer not to leave the door open, but during the day, it is pretty safe.

We have never met a bear on a trail, but I am sure they saw us and were uninterested. Mountain lions surely see people and we never see them, and they are no fun either.

The most dangerous times for bear attacks are spring and fall. In the spring they are hungry after a winter without food, and in the fall, they are feeding voraciously for winter.

A small black bear lives in a canyon several miles away and we've never heard of any problems. There are houses in the area. The deer probably are a prime source of meat, but mostly they eat small animals and vegetation. We have seen scat on our property (kind of looks human to me, but more of it), but never the bear. Bears generally keep to themselves. They don't like being around other bears or us either. There is usually plenty of food, so the risk of a fight with us isn't usually worth it. The pictures you see of a group of bears in a river during salmon season or at a dumpster are hardly typical of bear behavior. They will take some chances (being around other bears) for easy food, but we aren't easy food to most of them.

You'll probably see a bear before an attack and have some time to respond. They can be intimidated. They rely on intimidation when they meet other bears and mostly don't want a fight. They may charge (more than once) and stop trying to scare you off. If you don't scare, they hopefully will give up. It is very hard not to run in that situation, but they can run faster and longer than you can. They are scared too, so you have to take advantage of that. A mountain lion will wait for prey from a high place—often a big boulder—and jump the prey. They take no chances and if you meet one on the trail, do not run, stand your ground and try to look big to them. They do not like to attack without stealth, so if you see one, that is far, far better than one landing on you. To a mountain lion, running triggers the attack response—you become a deer or a mouse in their minds. With either one, slowly backing off is a good idea. Bear spray helps as it makes the idea of attack seem less desirable and intimidates. Bear spray deteriorates with time, so you have to replace it from time to time.

If confronted by a dangerous animal, I suspect most people are so nervous as to forget everything they have learned and have a tough time aiming any weapon. Bad aim with a gun can cause damage to someone else or only anger the bear. Bear spray can't kill anyone, but can deter a bear and a bad shot still can be effective when you keep your thumb down on the button and spray all around where the bear is.

You have to fight a mountain lion and make it figure "this isn't worth it". People often try to fight off bears and sometimes that works.

We had a grizzly with 2 cubs cross in front of us in the Northwest Territories several years ago. We stopped and they showed no interest in us. They were eating plants near the road. They were about 30' from the 4Runner and I cautiously opened the door to take photos. I was nervous, but I didn't get much out of my seat, got off a few shots and closed the door, quietly. They were completely unconcerned. It was as if we weren't there. Another vehicle came along, and we left figuring that was enough of an intrusion into their lives. But you can't know what will spook an animal (or a human). Two vehicles increased the risk of an attack, so it was time to go—best for us and best for the bears. In a place like Yellowstone or Denali, animals become acclimated to us and our vehicles, so they are less scared of us. We saw wolves walking calmly down the road between the tourist busses one time. This is not normal wolf behavior. Wolves hardly ever attack a human. For large meat, they attack herds in groups and enjoy the chase. They understand the actions of herd animals, but humans are strange and do weird things. Wolves are predators and so are we. They rarely attack predators. It isn't worth the unexpected behavior and a fight. They know their strength is in pack hunting, not an individual wolf. If a wolf pack sees a bunch of people, they have no interest in challenging our pack—we are too much like them and they know it. We are also funny looking standing on two legs, all having different coats (we call them clothes) and strange things (like cameras) in our upper paws.

Wild places are extraordinary places to visit. It is pretty normal to be fearful of big predators because we have little experience with them. Far more predators will see you (or smell you) than you will ever see or smell (our noses are pitiful compared to theirs). Few want to tangle with us. Learn what to do and you will be fine. I've logged many miles in the wilderness on my feet and never felt I was in danger. Having a dog helps where it is permitted if you can control the dog. A crazed dog is no help and may cause more problems. Enjoy the wilderness.

I wonder what the tinkling of bear bells means to a bear? I suspect not much if they even hear it. They may cause indigestion. Singing and talking loud may be better. A walking stick provides some defense along with spray. I know my singing would scare off any human. Also, pour grizzly urine over you. They will smell that and keep a distance.

Gene
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:14 PM   #23
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To all i have enjoyed reading your posts. They have been very informative.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:17 PM   #24
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If you get an opportunity to observe bears (safely) in their own habitat - then you can get to see some fascinating behaviour. We were able to view (under the watchful eye of a USFS Researcher) two bear "families" at a fish weir during the salmon run many time during our 3-day stay at Haines, Alaska last year.

Quite a treat.

Here are just a sample of the hundreds of pictures we were able to get:

- Mama having a "moment" with 1 of her 2 youngsters.

- Who doesn't like to take the time to examine a pretty rock?

- What the fuss was all about - the salmon run .....

- our trusty Researcher - shooing bears off the weir - and making sure rubberneckers keep their distance ......



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Old 03-30-2012, 08:37 PM   #25
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On a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters, we were paddling and fishing. Camped on an island with a designated campsite and bear boxes. I was cooking dinner, burgers and beans, heard noise down by the canoes. The noise stopped and up through the brush came a bear. I picked up a pot and a spoon and beat the hell out of it and he turned and ran off. We made sure we didn't have any food in the tents, bathed in the lake and stored the food in the bear box. The only thing I left out was a nalgene bottle with Stoly vodka in it. I heard huffing around two in the morning, peeked out of the tent and there was our bear with the plastic bottle in hand, he (she?) bit into it, got a mouthful of Stoly, let out a painful arrrgh, dived into the lake and swam off. I got up and watched under the full moon a bear swimming so fast I could have wakeboarded behind him. I still have the nalgene bottle, its a great show and tell item!
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:08 AM   #26
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A friend of ours was in the Boundary Waters some years ago and was woken up in the middle of the night by his new wife. She said there was a bear outside and he didn't believe it. But, to humor her, he went outside and there was a bear. Our friend is about the size of a linebacker, but not as big as the bear. In a valliant effort to protect his wife, he started throwing things and yelling at the bear—I think it was about 10' away. The bear had discovered some shampoo and found it tasty. The bear was not impressed by all the commotion and went about his business of inspecting everything outside the tent despite the lunatic yelling at him.

After a while the bear got tired on the insane human and went away. Not much sleep was had the rest of the night. At dawn, the happy honeymooners got everything in the canoe and started paddling. They looked back after a while and there was the bear, swimming after them. They crossed a lake, portaged and the bear was somewhere back there. They just knew it. Another lake, the bear swimming behind. After a while, the bear got tired of the slow speed chase and disappeared.

The rest of the trip was full of anxiety, but they survived (thought the marriage didn't). A year or so later, they were camping in Colorado and were visited by a bear. It didn't hang around, but ever since my friend has trouble getting people to camp with him because he attracts bears.

We plan to go to a CG with him and his latest (and best) wife. We will be safely in our Airstream. I think they will have a tent, so we will be safe.

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Old 03-31-2012, 12:19 PM   #27
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:35 PM   #28
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So does that mean if attacked by a bear, scratch his back and he'll be happy? Of course, he'll come back every night.

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Old 03-31-2012, 02:42 PM   #29
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A few years back in Yellowstone, we had numerous opportunities to see black bear during the daytime. Very interesting to watch, but at the same time there was no indication of hostility or anything from the bears we saw. The only time I felt nervous on the entire trip was halfway through a 7 mile loop hike on the Beaver Ponds trail when I started seeing fresh wolf tracks in the mud along the trail. In all honesty, the buffalo and elk were the only real concerns we had. That, and dumb people who like to feed wildlife. Unless it's the chickadees in your backyard, NEVER feed wildlife.

Just give them plenty of space, and don't surprise them where it can kick in a defensive reaction. Oh, and don't get anywhere near any animal carcass you may come across, chances are something was or is planning on eating it, and they get defensive about that.

When you're in a campsite, keep everything clean from a scent standpoint. ALL your trash goes into the proper garbage cans, which is usually a bearproof recepticle in most parks. Don't leave any snacks laying around, not even a granola bar. If you're tent camping, use a bear container for all your food and trash, and keep it 100' or more from your tent, cook 100' or more from your tent. Remember that bears are more of a scavenger than a predator

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Old 03-31-2012, 03:46 PM   #30
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My daughter who camps at Yosemite several times a year calls the Yosemite bears "Park Employees"
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:06 PM   #31
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Gene,

How do you suggest they collect the grizzly bear urine? lol I wanna hear this.. Im sure you can potty train a bear.... but out in the wooods.. well u know the old saying..
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:15 PM   #32
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Gene,

How do you suggest they collect the grizzly bear urine?
This is a challenge and not for the fearful, but really the solution is simple. Offer the bear a beer. He'll chug it down (they don't have good table manners), so give him some more. As he gets happy (they take at least a couple of six packs, so give him the cheap stuff like Keystone), start scratching his back. They love that.

Since you only rent beer, he'll have to go soon and that's when you collect the urine. You can train them to do it themselves. You can demonstrate how to do it.

Now, if you want #2, feed him jalapeņo flavored chips. It goes good with beer and he'll want a lot of beer. Follow him into the woods, scratching his back, and pretty soon you have a warm salve to frighten off the mountain lions. The jalapeņo does this, so don't use just any chips.

If you can't find a bear, get some bear bells. Jingle them and the bears will show up.

You may want to have a "friend" you don't really like do this. One of those "friends" that pesters you about coming camping and you can't think of another excuse. Your "friend" will be grateful for learning a new skill and they most probably won't pester you anymore about camping.

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Old 04-01-2012, 02:58 PM   #33
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Did I not say "don't get this group started on bears"?


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Old 04-01-2012, 03:00 PM   #34
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:41 PM   #35
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Having experienced a bear pull a built in Subzero refer out of the wall and destroy teak cabinets and having another bear injure a horse to the extent that required us to put the horse down, I keep a 12guage pump handy that is loaded with slugs alternating with 00 buckshot. Bears getting into homes is not unusual in SW Colorado. The biggest bear problem while camping is sloppy campers that leave food out, including dog food. I've seen more bears in my yard than I ever saw while camping, so I leave the shotgun at home!
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:55 AM   #36
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Gene,

Would not a Grizzly bear prefer Kokanee beer with his jalapeno chips and back scratching? What if it is a sow? Should we get her a nice chardonnay or is a Bartles and James (or one of the flavored sugary drinks commonly called "Bi*ch Beers") more appropriate? Perhaps smoked salmon and cheesy bits? or is that only for "Cougars"? Though in believe in all cases a back scratch would be welcomed...

It is sad that Lucky Lager beer is no longer common - it had a flavor and scent that even had my house cat trying to sample it. I would think that Lucky, Olympia and Rainier would all appeal to a bear. Or perhaps Hamms is the official Beer for Bears... I think that a six pack of any one of those brands would cause the production of large quantities of "repellant"

I doubt that any self respecting bear would drink Budweiser, Bud Light, Tecate, Miller Lite or Coors Light. Perhaps regular Coors or Miller High Life (are they old people beers?).

On a serious note, I remember hearing a long time ago about a bear that liked to break into coolers to drink the beer... So even they become alcoholics.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:02 AM   #37
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Bears are not very discriminating about the taste of beers. Like some people, they just guzzle it down, think they have become very funny and smart, and drink another. Any bad beer (Coors, for ex.) or maybe a screw top dollar wine will do.

I understand female humans like sweet beers and I can't understand how anyone can drink them and be a self respecting drunk.

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Old 04-02-2012, 09:35 AM   #38
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Hmm so perhaps if we have an enemy, instead of burying him/her in a convenient anthill, we should tie them to a tree, smear them with honey, anoint them with beer, and leave a few cans to encourage the bears to come and partake? Does this work on the annoying family in the 40 foot Fifth-Wheel toy hauler that pulls up to a boondocking site, sets up the satellite and generator, races dirt bikes over the desert, and makes noise till 3 am? I would say that beer (of any brand) out of a 40 year old dometic propane fridge and food cooked in one of the infamous Magic Chefs with the questionable thermocouples tastes better in Bluff than anything out of such a trailer park on wheels... Then again, I doubt I can get my aluminum palace to the best sites by Bluff, it was a tight fit when I had a viking pop-up and a ford ranger. The last time i found a nice place by the San Juan in Cottonwood CG.. and was told what a nice airstream i had by all the MH denizens and SOBs in their fiberglass boxes

I have have yet to see a bear out there. But if one comes by, ill have a cold beer waiting for him (or her). But if they want TV theyll have to figure out how to hook up to a three wire antenna plug...
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:49 AM   #39
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Hmm so perhaps if we have an enemy, instead of burying him/her in a convenient anthill, we should tie them to a tree, smear them with honey, anoint them with beer, and leave a few cans to encourage the bears to come and partake? Does this work on the annoying family in the 40 foot Fifth-Wheel toy hauler that pulls up to a boondocking site, sets up the satellite and generator, races dirt bikes over the desert, and makes noise till 3 am?
Such neighbors can be trying. But there are simple answers to this problem as well, and as usual, our ursine friends can help. This is a lot more effective than the common tactics of starting a smoky fire with wet wood when the wind blows toward the 5th wheel or playing Ina Gadda Da Vida at 100 db. Throw a dead, ripe, varmint on top of the 5th wheel and a bear will find a way to get to it. Climbing up there will result in screams from the inside and damage to the side of the 5th wheel. This strategy should persuade the inhabitants to go home fast. They may leave their electrical cables and sewer hoses behind so you will get a bonus.

Don't forget to offer the bear a sixer to show your appreciation.

What I like about the Forum is how we all help each other with these knotty questions so that we may have an even better experience with our Airstreams. Bears are a misunderstood minority, but we can work with them. Just like your friends, they appreciate a beer and some chips (yes, salmon flavor as well as jalapeņo work too). The people in those luxury MH's with outside TV's do have an advantage as they can offer football, beer and chips, so we have to act fast. As soon as you get to a campground, jingle those bear bells and the bears will be there for a drink and a snack. Maybe you can go hunting together for mice and a nice green salad.

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Old 04-02-2012, 01:29 PM   #40
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What you say is very true Gene. I was camped at Chaco about two years ago and watched one of those pull in about dusk. (I was in a tent. You know what that road is like!) The landing gear came down, and through the windows we saw the NPS show and tell video playing on a VERY large TV. Forty feet away, was a group of sober (no booze allowed) college students, PhDs, and archaeologists doing a continuing education course. The students arranged themselves to watch through the picture window, and the commentary was provided by a professor and a slightly inebriated vacationing BLM archaeologist from the next campsite over. Not once did the MH inmates leave their lair or even open the door for that matter. Sad to say, a bear would have been a good thing for those people.

Would a bear show preferential treatment to somebody that has Whiskey or perhaps a Gin and Tonic to those with just beer and chips? And where is the proper place to seat a bear when it is a guest? does it take precedence over a Mother In Law.. then again, who is more vicious...

I wonder how many times the bears just sit and watch... we know the kitty cats do...
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