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Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby oldranger » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:57 am

My take on the situation and I hope George steps in if I am wrong is that the problem with the Ursack (I own 4, by the way) is that they are subject to user error much more often than canisters, enough so that bears are rewarded enough that they are not deterred from trying. Much the same way that counter balancing did not work--counter balancing always worked for me-- and still does where permitted--a 2 ounce bag that gets smaller as the trip continues outweighs the time costs of doing it right. And since canisters are being used by the masses the odds of a bear in the camp have been greatly reduced over the 1980's.

In Yosemite I use my canister.

Finally, as I recall the superintendent of a national park can make special regs that can be enforced consequently the regs requiring canisters on the Rae lakes loop and the woods creek drainage in SEKI. Also if I recall correctly an Ursack must be counterbalanced in SEKI to be legal.

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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:45 am

Yosemite rangers have told me horror stories. I'll keep my canister.

I don't think anything a habituated bear can get its teeth into is worth it. They'll get torn open, just like the ones I've seen pictures of - some of the pics are here in this forum.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:42 am

Those of you who do carry a Ursack, have two myself which were used for overflow
and above treeline against small critters, have you had a bear attempt to get into
your Ursack? Have seen the aftermath of such an incident, and even though the bear
was not successful at tearing it open, everything was crushed and mangled in the
sack, and lets not even start about all the bear saliva all over the sack, gross, it sure
wouldn't be going back into my backpack after that.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby oldranger » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:03 am

Maverick

The only bear in the backcountry I have seen in the last 23 years has been in Pate Valley in 2009 when I camped there with you. That bear was never interested in our campsite. The canisters have been great in creating a lack of interest on the part of bears in campsites as a source of food. So nothing I use, including counterbalancing where legal has been challenged since 1990. Of course camping far away from trails helps. In 1990 a bear was interested in my food when horse camping at Vidette Meadow. Everything was in metal boxes secured by heavy leather straps but clearly not bear proof. When I heard the bear I put on my boots chased and cussed at the bear for about 200 yards and it never returned. But apparently it did hit some backpackers up at Vidette Lakes! When I was the ranger for ranger lakes area every August a bear would travel between Ranger Lakes and Twin Lakes and hit camps in both areas on the same night.

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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby longri » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:09 am

I also have Ursacks and have used them where it was legal and also at times illegally as a temporary overflow for when my food wouldn't fit in the canister. I have not had a bear try to get into one. The only time I know of where a bear tried to get my food was when I was counter-balancing over near Mammoth about 25 years ago.

My untested theory with the Ursack is that by keeping it tied to an immovable object near where I'm sleeping I will be awakened by a bear attempting to get the food. The Ursack, while not 100% bear-proof, should last long enough for me to chase the bear away. I might then be up all night. It isn't a perfect solution but there's no way I'm going to carry two canisters or go hungry.

As for crushed food by a bear? In order to get all my food in a canister it has to be pre-crushed anyway.

I prefer the Ursack in most areas as I almost never see bears but I understand the reasons for the policy. It's kind of like herd immunity with vaccines.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby markskor » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:17 am

Thoughts...
While still not officially approved for use, (See the "Look the other way" situation now seemingly in place), It would appear that Ursack use could be widespread this season - or at least until some official edict again bans their use.
Personally, I find those using Ursacks in the High Sierra selfish. Why invite a bear into camp...if not yours, the next guys? Hard-sided cans work - the bear learns/has learned to recognize futility in even bothering with them - If used correctly, a proven efective deterrent.

Ursacks, while also highly effective, still allow the bear a taste...It might take a while but a hungry bear, working on a un-supervised Ursack, makes visible progress, learns that there is hope. Having seen multiple chewed-up, slobbered on, mangled food bags - dinners crushed and no longer edible - maybe the bear only partially won, but the fear is that he has learned to return.

While not fearing the bear per se, still, incidents of bear-human confrontations will undoubtedly increase.
Repeat bears, those learned, get tagged; some eventually get put down.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:19 am

Oldranger wrote:
The only bear in the backcountry I have seen in the last 23 years has been in Pate Valley
in 2009 when I camped there with you.


I have never seen a bear while traveling crosscountry (off trail), have seen paw prints of
bear and mountain lion, but that's it. Have had a few encounters while traveling on trail
in the backcountry like the one in Pate Valley, also at Rancheria Creek, Grizzly Lakes,
Paradise Valley, 1000 Is Lake and East Lake. The Ursack incident occured at 1000 Is Lake.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:30 am

Longri wrote:
My untested theory with the Ursack is that by keeping it tied to an immovable object near
where I'm sleeping I will be awakened by a bear attempting to get the food.


That may work in some cases, but it depends on which of you are more determined.
A friend of mine who was camping between Garnet and 1000 Is Lake was hit in the
middle of the night. They tried to get the sack away from the bear by making noise,
throwing objects near it, but the bear did not pay them any attention. Only when they
finally started a fire did the bear release the sack and run off, this ordeal lasted about
an hour. Everthing in their sack was crushed, and the bag had saliva and blood all over
it, with 3 days left of their trip they decided to hike back to the car at Agnew Meadows.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby rlown » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:03 pm

you don't throw objects "near" a bear. You throw objects (rocks) at the bear. A rock on the head caused the idiot to drop the empty pack (other than the toothpaste).. it wasn't my pack..

I'm not an ursack fanatic. I like my can. I can sit on it.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:31 pm

Rlown wrote:
A rock on the head caused the idiot to drop the empty pack (other than the toothpaste).


Have read and have always been told by rangers to never throw anything hitting the bear
in the head which may make it charge or attack.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby rlown » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:07 pm

needed the pack back.. sorry if i didn't follow Bigfoot's rock-throwing etiquette guidelines.
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Re: Ursack approved in Inyo Forest?

Postby Rockchucker » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:07 pm

I see bears every year, I saw 3 last year. But I deer hunt and explore areas that have higher populations of bears. I've never used a ursack but the weight savings is enticing.
I'm no suture for my future.
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