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Old 09-26-2014, 01:40 PM   #21
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We really enjoy seeing bears, and actively look for them, though a face to face with a bear is not common. During most of our encounters we have been in our truck and the bears were crossing the road.

My favorite places to camp during summer is in the mountains of NC and VA. There are no grizzlies, only black bear. I have encountered black bear from the very northern end of the Skyline Drive to the southern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Smoky Mountains. Every one of the campgrounds in the Blue Ridge Parkway have bear warning signs. The 15 or 20 bear I have encountered in the last 10 years have run away, with the exception of two times. Those two times there were cubs and a mother. Once we were in our car when we saw 4 cubs and a mother from 50' away. The cubs climbed a tree and mom stood guard on the ground. The other time my wife and were walking down a trail and met a cub just a few feet in front of mother, about 20' down the trail coming right toward us. The mother stood her ground, the cubs ran behind mother, and we quickly moved away from them. No problems! Had we been closer before we saw each other or panicked and ran, that bear might have attacked. Calmly/slowly move away from a bear is my advice, the bear is afraid of you too! The only reason a bear will attack is to protect young or get food.

I have been in campgrounds and on hiking trails where others have had a close problematic encounter with bears. Without exception these bears have been trying to get at food left in the wrong location by tent campers and hikers. A few hikers forfeit their lunch when a bear smells it and comes looking. Tent campers are usually the people that have problems in campground. Children especially, leaving snack food in a tent cause problems. If you are in one of these campgrounds, when finished eating store food inside the vehicles or use the metal food storage boxes provided at each campsite.

From my experience, it would be extremely rare for a bear to attempt to enter your trailer or even let you see them when they are near by. In short, do not leave food out where bears can get at it and you will be unlikely to have a problem.
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Old 09-26-2014, 01:55 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by PharmGeek View Post
I want to photograph them one day....with a LONG lens (right now I only have a 70-200mm nikon lens, f4 as my longest lens)

I am guessing baby bears could prove a dangerous scenario as well? As in parent(s) nearby very territorial?
Go to a 500mm cat or add a doubler to your zoom. As an NPS ranger (bear management qualified) I have been face-to face with them, but always feel much better/safer (especially when concentrating on getting the picture) from a longer distance. Even a 12g, 44RM, or 300WM seem insignificant when you are sent in to clear a closed area / trail and are confronted; I also recommend Bear Spray (OC resin) ...although there are many documented cases of it not working on two-legged "bears".

I have observed them go past fruit tree orchards and break through both wooden and metal doors - if they are intent, it is very hard to stop or deter them ... again, suggest bear spray.
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:38 PM   #23
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500 or 600 mm lens one day will happen - but not any time soon - in my retirement - nature photography will occupy a lot of my time - love it (when I get time as a busy parent of babies at this point)

I need to get some bear spray it seems - what is most compact you can get it?


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Old 09-26-2014, 02:47 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
We really enjoy seeing bears, and actively look for them, though a face to face with a bear is not common. During most of our encounters we have been in our truck and the bears were crossing the road.

My favorite places to camp during summer is in the mountains of NC and VA. There are no grizzlies, only black bear. I have encountered black bear from the very northern end of the Skyline Drive to the southern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Smoky Mountains. Every one of the campgrounds in the Blue Ridge Parkway

This is exactly where we are headed!

Actually can't find a place to camp with the RV toward skyline drive in mid Nov. Most seem to be closed!!!
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Old 09-26-2014, 03:24 PM   #25
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PM me when you know which route you choose to travel. If I have any experience with something along your route I'll let you know.
Are you planning two nights on the road while traveling each way?
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:35 PM   #26
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For the bear experts... 20 years ago we went tenting in Alaska for a few weeks. I took a 12 ga with magnum 000 buck loads. Was that silly? We don't have bears in Kansas just wondering...
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:05 AM   #27
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Another tip for bear country…

If you drive a diesel, avoid using B20 or higher biodiesel. You don't want a bear to eat your tow vehicle because it smells like French Fries!
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:23 AM   #28
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"Recently here in NJ we had someone killed by a Black Bear."

But the time before that was in 1852, that's how rare it is for black bear to kill a human.


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Old 09-29-2014, 06:25 AM   #29
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Protagonist - you made my day! LMAO!
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:35 AM   #30
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I have been a bear hunter for 20 some years. I have hunted bears in Alaska, Canada, Wyoming, and Minnesota. I think I know a thing or two about bears.

Now, I'm not big on hiking as a sport. If I'm walking in the woods, I'm probably hunting. If I'm hunting, I'm carrying a big gun.

However, if I were to go hiking in the bear woods, I would carry a rather large revolver, say a .454 Casull, or at least a .44 magnum. (Yeah, I know, you Canadians are out of luck on the handgun thing. For you guys a 12 ga. loaded with slugs will work.)

Better to have had real protection and not have needed it than to have needed it and not have had it.

(BYW that's Huey and Louie. Dewie is around here, too)
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:40 AM   #31
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In our subdivision above Santa Fe, really dumb folks have been feeding the black bears. One such lady left her kitchen door ajar.

When she returned, a back bear was in the kitchen browsing the pantry to select the next meal. It was an issue trying to un-invte the bear from the kitchen.

Some folks really work hard for the Darwin award! Where they improve the human gene pool by removing themselves by stupid behavior.....
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:19 AM   #32
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I had a black bear come at me two years ago while archery elk hunting. I saw him but he did not see me. When he was 25 yards from me and still approaching me, I stood up so he could see me, he still approached so I raised my bow over my head stood my ground and made soon noise. At approx 20 yards he stopped, looked at me, and wandered off unconcerned to my right. On reflection I should have stood up sooner but I thought he would wind me and veer off by himself. To those who would ask "why didn't you shoot" the answer is this, a bear coming straight at you with his head down does not present an archery shot, besides I did not want to harm him. At that time I slowly backed myself up the ridge keeping him in sight and quietly left the area.
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:37 AM   #33
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I had a black bear come at me two years ago while archery elk hunting. I saw him but he did not see me. When he was 25 yards from me and still approaching me, I stood up so he could see me, he still approached so I raised my bow over my head stood my ground and made soon noise.
Bears have excellent color vision, but they're nearsighted. Within the range of their vision they see as well as a human, with superior depth perception because their eyes are so widely spaced. But beyond the range of their nearsightedness, they detect movement a whole lot easier than they detect shape. Waving your bow would have made you more visible than just holding it overhead.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:26 PM   #34
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Oh I was waving it around over my head a lot, trying to make myself look bigger.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:33 PM   #35
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Oh, by the way... the wife is TERRIFIED.

I must sound like a big sissy. but I'm actually a pretty seasoned underwater hunter (spearfisher) but I'm not used to land based predators and their behaviors/motivations. I just like to be informed as I'll be without firearms as I have very curious sons, who like bears - can tear open steel to get at anything they are after.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:05 PM   #36
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Oh, by the way... the wife is TERRIFIED.

I must sound like a big sissy. but I'm actually a pretty seasoned underwater hunter (spearfisher) but I'm not used to land based predators and their behaviors/motivations. I just like to be informed as I'll be without firearms as I have very curious sons, who like bears - can tear open steel to get at anything they are after.
I don't think you are a sissy at all. I do think you might be a bit crazy to swim with sharks and other nasty ocean predators with nothing but a sharp stick and some rubber bands for protection.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:21 PM   #37
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Oh, by the way... the wife is TERRIFIED.
It's all Yogi and Boo-Boo's fault that people mistakenly think bears are cute*, but it's just like Yogi says, "You just gotta be smarter than the average bear!"

*Or maybe it's Teddy Roosevelt's fault, but a heartily-shouted "Bully!" isn't nearly such good advice for dealing with bears, so I'd rather stick with Yogi on that score.

On a side note, I'm not terribly worried about bears. Alligators terrify me, especially since my kayak is inflatable and not strong enough to resist being eaten as an appetizer before the gator gets to the main course…me! I once canceled an entire day on the water because that morning a gator was sunning himself on the dock right alongside my kayak.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:39 PM   #38
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When I was a kid a (job) recruiter asked me if I had 3 years experience or 1 years experience three times. In that spirit I've had frequent but minimal bear experience and don't really know much.

A few weeks ago I tore apart some scat that was ~4 yards from my front door. Aside from the usual undigested nuts and berries there were a few plastic bags. Poor thing.

A few winters ago I followed some tracks around the house and I could see where the bear stood up on it's hind legs and looked into our basement window.

My very non-expert advice based largely on reading: look as large as possible by e.g. opening a jacket and holding the opening outwards, back off slowly, and keep speaking softly.

I've seen very few cougar but they are what scare me. Oddly I've only seen them in my yard.
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:18 PM   #39
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My very non-expert advice based largely on reading: look as large as possible by e.g. opening a jacket and holding the opening outwards, back off slowly, and keep speaking softly.
Some Corps of Engineers park rangers I work with say the same, EXCEPT, instead of speaking softly, make lots of noise. Rattling a can half full of pebbles works, especially in rattlesnake country. Setting off your car alarm via the panic button on your remote is also good, if you're close to your vehicle.
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:00 PM   #40
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