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Bear canister, now what?

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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:05 pm

schmalz wrote:I'd rather not have to deal with a bear in the middle of the night, so I place my cannister a hundred or more feet from my tent and don't plan on defending it. Instead, I place it in between rocks, in a depression, so that the bear won't be able to move it very far if they do take interest. Maybe I'd have to mix up my strategies if I was in some popular parts of Yosemite?


Nice. ok.. where is your pack? I only say that because the smell of everything you carried is in your pack as well.

they can take your pack, and i've seen it happen at 2am. and you get out in undies and throw rocks at it until it drops the pack. I now fasten my pack to either a tree or a big rock with 1" web. (easy, i'm an external frame guy).

Everyone gauges the risk on where they are. the locked bear can will still be there.



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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:28 pm

SoxGolf00 wrote:Not sure if this will help, but my dad and I used to wrap our can in a small plastic bag (grocery bag or trash bag) and then spray it with mosquito spray. Our food never got touched. We were also able to keep out food and bags near our tent.

Any one else hear of this trick?


It's not a trick... the bag gives the bear something to carry it with, and the spray smells like something interesting, so it's basically an invitation.

You're lucky a bear with any interest in our food did not actually come by.

Canisters are made so that a bear cannot 1) use its jaws to break them and 2) carry it away. Tying, wrapping or strapping the can to something you *think* the bear can't move makes it vulnerable to loss. Even if the bear cannot break it with its jaws, carrying it away is just what a habituated bear will do. People who leave their Garcia in those ridiculous "can cozies" you can get for them are at risk for just that.
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:34 pm

schmalz wrote:I'd rather not have to deal with a bear in the middle of the night, so I place my cannister a hundred or more feet from my tent and don't plan on defending it. Instead, I place it in between rocks, in a depression, so that the bear won't be able to move it very far if they do take interest. Maybe I'd have to mix up my strategies if I was in some popular parts of Yosemite?


I would suggest getting up and chasing them away in the event they come rattling the cans.

Camping away from over-used and popular campsites is a better tactic.

While on the JMT, northern section, we had bears rattling cans each night, sometimes three times a night. Knowing that bears have actually broken canisters by rolling them off something onto granite, we 1) buried the canisters under huge fifty pound granite flakes not as a deterrent to the bear but as a warning system and to slow them down 2) got up each time we heard them moving granite 3) chased them off with headlamps waving, shouting and beating around brush with sticks.

Often I put the canister in a tree well. Then the bear is reduced to rolling it around in circles.

Bears are so stealthy they can walk through camp without making a sound. One night a friend sounded the alarm as the bear happened to be there as he opened his tent to get up to pee. The bear had put a tooth mark in my tackle box (a very small repurposed container) on his way through camp - not three feet in any direction from three other sleeping people.
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby longri » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:32 pm

I push the canister about three feet from my tent, sometimes less.

On my most recent outing I left it in the vestibule.
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby KathyW » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:08 pm

Most of the time I put my Bear Can 10 to 20 feet from my tent, but I don't know why because I often cook and eat in my tent and I always sleep with my pack in my tent. One time when I was camping with a group, a bear stole one of the guy's small platypus container with Peppermint Schnapps in it - the bear dropped it not far from camp after he bit into it and decided it wasn't what he was looking for. Other than that incident, I've never heard a bear near my tent at night. I tend to camp in places that are not popular; so that might be why I haven't had bear problems. I do see them on the trail though, but I've never come across an aggressive black bear.
Last edited by KathyW on Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:28 pm

longri wrote:I push the canister about three feet from my tent, sometimes less.

On my most recent outing I left it in the vestibule.


One can do that a lot of times before a bear visits.

Then that habit changes - a lot.
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby DLeikam » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:47 pm

Great discussion, thanks everyone for the input! I think I like the intermediate approach - stash it somewhere +/- 50 feet of tent and toss rocks if needed. Or ignore it and find the can in the morning. :cool:
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby schmalz » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:59 pm

This is a interesting discussion, thanks to everyone who is chiming in.

"Nice. ok.. where is your pack? I only say that because the smell of everything you carried is in your pack as well.

they can take your pack, and i've seen it happen at 2am. and you get out in undies and throw rocks at it until it drops the pack. I now fasten my pack to either a tree or a big rock with 1" web. (easy, i'm an external frame guy)."

It depends. My pack is usually fastened to my tripod which is setup near my tent, to keep it away from marmots and make it very clear if a bear tries to steal it. I would definitely defend my back if needed. I also have it in my tent sometimes depending on if I think it might rain.

"I would suggest getting up and chasing them away in the event they come rattling the cans."

Can you explain your reasoning? I'm totally open to changing my habits but would like to know more as to why you think that. My thought is that if I place the canister in a place where the bear cannot move it then I risk less by not messing with the bear than trying to deal with it in the dark. Can they really move a cannister out of a depression with a bunch of big rocks in it? I don't see how. Is the logic that allowing bears to mess with canisters might make it easier for them to learn how to open them?
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby rlown » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:57 pm

schmalz wrote:Can you explain your reasoning? I'm totally open to changing my habits but would like to know more as to why you think that. My thought is that if I place the canister in a place where the bear cannot move it then I risk less by not messing with the bear than trying to deal with it in the dark. Can they really move a cannister out of a depression with a bunch of big rocks in it? I don't see how. Is the logic that allowing bears to mess with canisters might make it easier for them to learn how to open them?


They don't belong in your food or your space. We're trying to keep them wild. That means know your surroundings and potential bear threats. and be defensive almost to the point of being offensive.

There is a caveat. Once, the Bear was a momma bear, and we didn't know her cubs were behind us. That's the only time to back off.

Otherwise, you have to teach a bear to go be wild and not look for an easy meal. Always important to keep a clean kitchen as well.
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby lensman137 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:59 pm

I'm going to get flack for saying this, but I've only used bear canisters a couple of times in 45 years of backpacking. The system I've been using has worked flawlessly. I simply keep my food in nylon stuff sacks, and the majority of the time I sleep within ten feet of that food. I usually put the food sacks in my pack. Every day I spray the sacks and pack with spritzes of simple household ammonia, and have I never been hit in 45 years, after over a hundred trips to the Sierra. And it doesn't affect the taste of the food in any way. I should add that I also sleep with a can of Counterassault right next to me, and will, and have used it on occasion. I observed a yearling bear from a distance one evening, maybe it was a two year old, walk up to my pack, and as soon as he got within wind, jerk his head away, and then go back for more. He again jerked his head back and quickly trotted away and was gone. I think the entire bear canister meme is flawed. I completely understand and agree with the necessity of preventing bears from accessing human food. But use of canisters should be voluntary, IMO. And why hasn't the Park Service approved fabric based bear bags which can hold more food and are much easier to pack? I'd consider carrying one of those, along with the ammonia spraying routine. My buddies and me have also hung food successfully for just as many years. Some will say that's simply luck. But as it stands, I'll risk the penalties and continue NOT to use canisters, until someone comes up with a better idea.
:soapbox:
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:14 pm

lensman137 wrote:And why hasn't the Park Service approved fabric based bear bags which can hold more food and are much easier to pack? I'd consider carrying one of those, along with the ammonia spraying routine. My buddies and me have also hung food successfully for just as many years. Some will say that's simply luck. But as it stands, I'll risk the penalties and continue NOT to use canisters, until someone comes up with a better idea.
:soapbox:


AS has been often said - you can make the same mistake over and over out there, and believe it's not a mistake until the day you pay the piper.

It does not matter that you have never had an issue - you clearly have been extremely lucky. Because bears DIE every year after people let them get food repeatedly. They are the losers in the deal.

Ursacks FAIL repeatedly, so they do not pass the testing necessary to be approved.

Canisters are best because they are easy, foolproof, and the vast majority of the time when used properly, they save the bears and our food.

You can take risks with bears' lives all you like - some day you will pay the price - or the bear will.

I for one will not allow anyone in my hiking group to hike with me without having PROPER FOOD STORAGE. I do occasionally hang food in areas where bears are less habituated, but most of the time in the Sierra, I suck it up and carry the can.
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Re: Bear canister, now what?

Postby longri » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:15 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
longri wrote:I push the canister about three feet from my tent, sometimes less.

On my most recent outing I left it in the vestibule.


One can do that a lot of times before a bear visits.

Then that habit changes - a lot.


Oh, don't be so silly. Mr. Bear isn't going to eat me.
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