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Them damCan Regs.

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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby Troutdog 59 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:38 am

Wow!! I've kinda sat back and watch this thread morph ugly like so many others of recent, but wanted to chime in based on a few recent comments. First off, I use a bear cannister because it has helped reduce the numbers of habituated bears. I dont really like it either due to the weight, but if it will help keep bears out of our food and looking for natural food sources, then I'm for it.

That said, I didnt use one for years and actaully just got my own. Dont get all worked up, I used one over the last 10 years, but either a loner from my bro or I rented one. I also did several trips without them (West Side TH's) and never had a problem. You might have already guessed I fall into Mr. Donehoo's line of thought. I carry one, but never had a bear get my food and have been backpacking since the mid 70'S. Ive had em in camp, but only ever had one get anything (our trash bag) and that was 100% my fault. I forgot it by the cooking area. Funny thing was, it left my counter balanced food bags alone. I will admit to avoiding spots folks told me there were alot of bears (1000 Island Lake, Little Yosemite (Yosemite at all for that matter), Buubs Creek, etc), and I dont think that we often hiked with our dogs hurt much either, but there were bears out there.

But Fish, your comment was the one that caught my eye and made me reply.

fishmonger wrote:
frediver wrote:


Not sure if you have been in the Sierras in the 80s, but I can tell you that every night at ANY campsite between Whitney and Yosemite was a bear party. Sleep was a rare event, as you spent half the night chasing bears off your poorly hung food. All they did back then was patrol camp sites, smell for humans, because in more cases than not, it was a guaranteed easy meal.



Really man???? That statement is just not true as I backpacked often between Whitney and Yosemite in the 80's and 90's and I never expeienced that (Bear Creek Draniage, Mono Creek drainage and the northern KCNP, McGee Creek, Hilton Lakes, etc). Using a bear container is the right thing to do, but stop with the "back when I was a kid, the bears were thick as the mosquitoes" tales.
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

R. Trower



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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby mokelumnekid » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:56 pm

What SSSDave said.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby fishmonger » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:35 am

Troutdog 59 wrote:
Really man???? That statement is just not true as I backpacked often between Whitney and Yosemite in the 80's and 90's and I never expeienced that (Bear Creek Draniage, Mono Creek drainage and the northern KCNP, McGee Creek, Hilton Lakes, etc). Using a bear container is the right thing to do, but stop with the "back when I was a kid, the bears were thick as the mosquitoes" tales.


I must have been halucinating then. Look for the claw marks in the bark of trees along all the nicer camp sites along the JMT - they are still there today, and there are no bee hives for Pooh to take down.

Didn't say they were thick - they just knew where to find white man with beef jerky dangling from trees, and it was usually where there was smoke and where more than one tent was found every night. Back then there were also about twice as many people on the JMT than you find today, so plenty of poorly hung food, night after night, in the same places. Finding a decent tree to hang food was job #1 for the last 2 hours of your hike and you usually found them in the same places, where everyone else was camping.

In my first 3 JMTs ('88, '89 and '90) I must have had about 20 bear encounters (well, we heard them, or heard others throw rocks and make noise near us, it was part of the experience). I could look out our notes from those hikes and start listing the sites with details.

After 1990, we started to hike well off trail and raraely saw a bear. Now, seeing a bear on the JMT is a rare event, and a bear looking for your food at night I've only seen in campgrounds like Tuolumne Meadows where their chance to find stuff left in the open is higher than in the backcountry, and apart from canister use, I can't think of much else having changed.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby vandman » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:09 am

I have had many bear encounters. A bear ran off with my pack in Pate Valley, but that was my fault, I left some toothpaste in a side pocket. I found the pack(Kelty) the next morning covered with slobber, and except for a chewed pocket it was fine. I have never had a bear steal my food (hanging technique), but have had many close calls, and they were always due to my own mistakes. I carry an Ursack. I love it and if properly utilized it is a secure way to protect your food. It would be great if they made one the size of a duffel bag that you could clip to a frame or a belt/strap system and carry away.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby Flux » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:08 am

I carry a bear can, always will. I do think an Ursack is more than enough for most high country, but I play ball for the sake of the bears.

Having lived in Colorado for a while, I often read on the 14ers.com board. Recently, there has been a rash of bear issues in certain backcountry camp spots that serve some of the big 14k peaks. These bears are tearing into tents, and luckily with nobody in them, but it's just a matter of time. basically, they have no rules there on bear cans and most folks don't know how to properly hang food. These bears found food in a tent and now that's what they do, break into tents. Someone will get bit sooner rather than later. One person talked to a Ranger and the ranger mentioned that he might "point" some bear hunters up that way this fall. Stupid people = dead bears.

At least here in California, people are well aware in the backcountry and the mandate is a good one. It may not be necessary for experienced backpackers up high, but you can't start making everything subjective in this manner or the rule breaks down and guess what, bears will be killed and our backcountry will turn back into a festival of bears busting into camps. I have met zero bears in the backcountry and I would not mind keeping it that way. Sure, i would love to ditch two pounds out of my pack, but what would I sit on?? And seriously, a couple pounds isn't going to ruin my good time.

But the cans aren't necessarily for you, they are for the amateur so as to minimize their mistakes.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby yosehiker » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:03 pm

While I think most people on this forum are experienced and knowledgeable backpackers, I find it shortsighted to the scapegoating, if you will, of beginner backpackers. It reeks of 'Do as I say not as I do". Who is to say who is an experienced and who isn't? Do you want the NPS or USFS dictating that? If a bear did come to where you were camping, even if it was way off the beaten path, your experience wouldn't really prevent the bear from getting your food. Also there is a tendency for people to think of themselves as more experienced than they really are, and goes for practically everything. I sure wouldn't want people deciding on their own what to do with food storage based on their perception of themselves.

Also, if you have more flexibility in the rules, they become more complicated. Canisters at this lake, but not at that one, but later required at that pass, etc. Yosemite had a somewhat complicated rule a few years ago with canister use required 7 air miles from a road, below 9,600 and at Benson Lake. I remember it because I was doing a Tuolumne - Sonora Pass trip on the PCT where it was a bit confusing where I had to have a can in relation to where I planned/hoped to camp. It was just easier and less stressful knowing that I could use a can and be ok the whole trip. Sure it wasn't needed all the time, but it gave me a peace of mind while trip planning and camping. Also, given an option to get out of a canister area, I think a lot of visitors would say or think they could hike to that area and not actually do it. While a little troublesome for a select group of hikers at certain times, the broad canister requirement is simple and promotes compliance for the vast majority of hikers.

As for the ursack, if you aren't willing to use it in an area with traditional high bear activity, I don't think you can say it is reliable. I have seen torn up ursacks, they don't work. It may work in some areas or with some bears, but It doesn't work sierra wide. The forum must have covered it, though can't seem to find it now, but the whole ursack issue went to court, was scrutinized and the ban was upheld. Not sure what the NPS/USFS agenda would be against the ursack as they don't gain anything by it being banned, nor would they if it was allowed. I would think they would gladly allow something that was effective against bears and that hikers liked.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby SSSdave » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:29 pm

yosehiker wrote:... Not sure what the NPS/USFS agenda would be against the ursack as they don't gain anything by it being banned, nor would they if it was allowed. I would think they would gladly allow something that was effective against bears and that hikers liked.


From the beginning of the Ursack introduction it seemed those making policy went out of their way to rationalize weak arguments. Like if someone brought liquid containers, a bear would burst them and it would leak out. Well really who puts liquids in their pack? So we said then dictate no liquids if using Ursack. Let them use Garcias, but that fell on dead ears. Oh they forced Ursack to make that frame to put inside. What an unnecessary solution except that it made the Ursack a less attractive choice...the actual agenda.

Then they whined about how trees would become mutilated if people tied off to trees at popular camp spots. We suggested a policy that would only allow tying off to rocks which I tend to do where two boulders touch and allow tying off to trees at camp spots more than a quarter mile from lakes and trails. Again no responses like they just wanted us to go away with our suggestions and crawl in a hole. It is obvious there are some strong Ursack haters making policy that have NO interest in any compromises.

All this became strong reasons to have doubts on some of the supposed Ursack failures. Any Ursack hater can drag a bag full of sharp rocks behind their vehicle and cause it to look like one well known web posting and then claim a bear did it. Other supposed staged failures occurred after a bear was allowed to attack a bag over a couple days for hours. What does that say about the attitude of those performing the test?
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby SSSdave » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:38 pm

yosehiker wrote:...Also, if you have more flexibility in the rules, they become more complicated...


Just another weak argument. Its true such complicates policy. But adjacent Inyo National Forest indeed has a complex set of such maps we all have been using. Seems to be working there. Most backpackers tend to be talented topographic map users. Most of us have no issues understanding where maps show no camping or no campfires, and would likewise be able to understand where an Ursack was an option or not.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:52 pm

Edit: never mind, reread the post to see the point was addressed.
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby bheiser1 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:29 pm

lambertiana wrote:I can only speak from my experience, but every single back country bear encounter that I have had resulted in the bear turning tail and running away after just a yell or two. Even in trailhead areas a well placed rock worked every time I tried it.


What do you consider to be a "well placed" rock? "Official" recommendations seem to call for throwing rocks near the bear but not hitting it (indicating that hitting it would anger it and provoke an attack). Is this your approach or are you suggesting hitting the bear? I'm not trying to provoke an argument, I'm just interested in hearing what works so I'll know what to do when the situation arises. I'm a relative newbie to Sierra backpacking, having "grown up" hiking/camping/backpacking in the White Mountains of NH, years ago, where none of this bear stuff was ever an issue.

Re: the topic, I deal with the weight & carry a canister for all backpacking in the Sierra, whether required or not. For me it's worth the peace of mind, not regarding bears, but other critters that might enjoy my food. Plus I won't need to live with my conscience knowing that I helped habituate a bear by letting it get my food for the sake of cutting a couple pounds from my pack.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:35 pm


Re: the topic, I deal with the weight & carry a canister for all backpacking in the Sierra, whether required or not. For me it's worth the peace of mind, not regarding bears, but other critters that might enjoy my food. Plus I won't need to live with my conscience knowing that I helped habituate a bear by letting it get my food for the sake of cutting a couple pounds from my pack.



That sums up my thoughts as well. =D>

I would only add that the convenience of the canister is a benefit too. The time I used to spend looking for a suitable tree and then hanging the food I now spend soaking in the view and sipping scotch.
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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Re: Them damCan Regs.

Postby yosehiker » Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:21 pm

SSSdave wrote:It is obvious there are some strong Ursack haters making policy that have NO interest in any compromises.


I don't see that as obvious or even at all. Remember, SIBBG was sued and taken to court by the ursack manufacturer and won the case. I don't know the particulars of the case, but to have won they would have had to have a compelling argument, which apparently they did. Considering the government's track record with policy litigation, that they won is significant. What more could you want against a policy you don't like, a court case brought by a private interest with a strong incentive to win? I think the case is closed and over.

SSSdave wrote:Any Ursack hater can drag a bag full of sharp rocks behind their vehicle and cause it to look like one well known web posting and then claim a bear did it.


Are you really suggesting that park/forest service officials did this? Again if the ursack was effective, what would their motivation be to do something time consuming and probably illegal to undermine would most likely be widely popular food storage method? I find it hard to believe that there is some sort of conspiracy against the ursack. Occam's razor comes to mind.
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