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Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby oldranger » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:31 am

I love it. Everyone has a "folk" remedy for preventing bears from getting food. It's as if they are the first to come up with the idea. I hate to admit that he might be right but listen to George, gdurkee to newbies on the forum. George is about as old as the Grizzley Giant and has spent years in the BC in Yosemite and SEKI and has heard of every technique known to man (and woman). If a technique other than making food totally inaccessible to a bear (lockers and canisters) has worked for you it is for one of two reasons--a bear never happened by or the bear for some reason just wasn't interested (once we inadvertently left food out in a remote backcountry location and later that night I watched a bear walk past our "kitchen area" without even sniffing around. If I were to base my technique on this experience I guess we wouldn't ever have to worry about bears.

Three rules for people on this forum if they don't want bears to get their food.
1. Use a canister.
2. Pay attention to what George has to say.
3. Remember 1 and 2

mike
Last edited by oldranger on Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike

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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby gdurkee » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:32 pm

George is about as old as the Grizzley Giant


I am a young and vigorous pup! Though with knees that sound like a squeeky chew toy... .

Woof.
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby Cross Country » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:08 pm

"About 350 thru hikers cross the Sierra on the PCT every year. All the hikers I met at KM had a bear canister but I heard tell that some did not simply beacuse they were already carrying 10 days of food and the extra 3 lbs seemed prohibitive to them.( I know they are being selfish bastards.. as I said I did carry a canister myself) Wouldn't we rather they use something to safeguard the bears from their food?
You can make more money, but you can't make more time."

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I don't remember ever meating a backpacker in the backcountry who I thought was behaving like a (selfish) bastard. I met some who I thought sould behave differently, but selfish bastard? No. Tom.
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:15 pm

It's not only selfish, it's breaking the law.
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:54 pm

rlown wrote:It's not only selfish, it's breaking the law.


There are people who never have a bear mess with their canister and think it's a waste of time... it's like speeding. Sometimes you get caught, sometimes you don't, but you're gambling - instead of just risking a fine, you are risking a fine AND the life of a bear that should not be learning how to get people's food from you. It's not the bear's fault you have to be there for him to forage from. You're the thinking being and the visitor - be responsible, be sure the bear can't get it.

I usually just tell folks going on overnight folks with me in the Sierra that they are carrying a canister, and if they can demonstrate a proper counterbalance at the trailhead, they can leave it in the car for hikes into areas where cans aren't mandated, otherwise take the $%^^&## can, suck it up, save a bear and your sanity - don't leave the can behind if you're prone to getting out there, getting tired and sweaty, and giving up too easily on finding a good branch for a good hang.

If it's an alpine outing, we take cans.
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby sirlight » Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:28 pm

Ok, I know this is a bit off topic, but I’ll bring it up anyway. In areas that canisters are required, of course I use one. Usually in other areas I hang. I have found counter balance be very difficult to implement. The past few trips I have been using the so called PCT method. What do you all think about the effectiveness of PCT versus counterbalance?
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:54 pm

I use the PCT method most of the time - it's still difficult (for me, with my girly arms) to hoist up a food bag without getting rope burn, but there are workarounds for that.

One of the group is a counterbalance pro - she can get the food in two sacks up high and far from the tree. I'm still working on a good throwing arm. I usually just take a canister unless there are no bears and I can get away with a lame hang to keep the coons out.
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby Ozark Flip » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:25 pm

I thought moth balls were a snake deterrant. :lol:

Myself, being a packer, I'm curious to hear how other packers store their food. Anyone else on HST frequently pack with animals? If so, how do you store your food? Anyone hired a pack service? If so, how did they store the food? Anyone else ever seen a group of backcountry visitors with a large scale cooler, somewhere remote, at least two days in? They did not carry it in.

I have been stopped by rangers requesting to see my permit and cannister. I would show them the permit then open up a pannier, show them a cannister and they were okay. One time, they were fine simply 'feeling' the cannister from the outside of the pack. Seven remaining panniers unchecked which could have bookoo food stored improperly (not in approved cannisters). As long as you have "a" required cannister, life is good.

Also, don't think for one minute that pack animals deter problem bears. I own both horse and llamas and have traveled with both. Problem bears will stroll right through camp unphased by terrified pack animal alerts.
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby Jay » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:36 pm

AlmostThere wrote:

I've always thought that it would be worth a try for the FS to start shooting bears in areas like Yosemite with paintball guns as long as they changed the kind of ammo they used. I say shoot them every chance they get with paint balls filled with pepper spray instead of paint. At the same time they could place booby traped ice chests, backpacks, bear lockers, and just about anything else with bear spray. Of course the baited pepper traps would have to be marked or protected somehow from the public. My point is that because of a bears intelligence I don't think it would take much for them to get wise to the smell of pepper spray. After that all you would have to do is wipe the smallest amount of pepper juice on the bottom of your pack tent or even ice chest and I don't think that a bear would come within a 100yds of your camp.


Pepper spray doesn't work that way. It needs to go into the mucous membrane of the target animal, not the coat of the animal. It only works if you spray it in the eyes/nose. You can't booby trap anything with it and expect to get a reliable dose administered where it needs to go.

As someone who's had pepper spray I can tell you it does nothing when it's on your skin. It's when you forget you handled the nozzle, rub your eye, and get a tiny bit of it in the corner that you realize it's there.


They make paintballs filled with a powdered pepper. They use it on people resiting arrest. It hits them in the chest, they instictively gasp, and the powder instantly goes into the nose and mouth and does it's job. That could be applied in the way that he mentions, and then just the smell on a pack would be a deterent. Not saying it would be succesful, but you can deliver an effective pepper dose ballistically, it doesnt have to be in a spray.
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby oldranger » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:04 am

As I understand it the irritating effect is rather short lived. Then the remaining odor of capsaicn will be food! So spraying your pack with the stuff is likely to prove an attractant! Don't know what the effect of the taste will be. If the bear has roots south of the border it might really like the taste of it. A midwestern the bear might be deterred. Strictly a western bear???? ;)

Mike
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:15 pm

Jay wrote:
They make paintballs filled with a powdered pepper. They use it on people resiting arrest. It hits them in the chest, they instictively gasp, and the powder instantly goes into the nose and mouth and does it's job. That could be applied in the way that he mentions, and then just the smell on a pack would be a deterent. Not saying it would be succesful, but you can deliver an effective pepper dose ballistically, it doesnt have to be in a spray.


So you're willing to play roulette with your chances of running across only bears who have experienced the sting of pepper spray to the point that just the smell deters them? Or will there be a budget to go train all the bears in any given area to avoid the smell rather than be captivated by that unfamiliar smell and seek it out to test their theory that it might be the smell of something yummy?

Bear canisters are better insurance for my money....

ETA: bear spray. I have canisters on the brain. arg.
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Re: Contoversial Bear Repellant Techniques

Postby gary c. » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:32 am

I didn't mean to suggest that pepper spray could or would replace bear cans and other current policies, I completely support the use of bear cans. I just think that it could be another tool to discourage them from even comming around.
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