Animal Annoyances

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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phoenix2000
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by phoenix2000 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:33 pm

I wonder if one of you guys had pissed right where the deer were digging? We've had deer hanging out for our urine, and really competing hard for it! *Only the finest urine in our family.
No, the deer was digging about 3 feet away from our tent and everyone knew to go the bathroom well away from camp to avoid deer or other animals from being attracted to our waste.








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Shhsgirl
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by Shhsgirl » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:20 am

The most annoying animals I've encountered have been the gnats that seem to populate the Woods and Bubbs Creek areas. One time, many years ago, after spending a long, leisurely time high on the JMT, we were coming down the creek to resupply at Road's End. The gnats were horrendous--in my mouth, nose. and eyes. It seemed a large cloud of them was hovering around my head--my own little black cloud following me down the creek. Day hikers coming up didn't seem to be bothered when I sputtered my frustration to them. I stopped on the river to filter water, and the water filter had some problems. I became so annoyed, due to the gnats, that I threw the entire filter into the rushing river. My theory is that I was exhaling a lot of carbon dioxide because I was so acclimated to high altitudes, and this attracted the gnats, whereas the lowlanders hiking up did not breathe out as much Co2. Whenever I go to that area now, I always carry a head net. Our grown children like to remember Mom getting so pissed that she threw the water filter into the river, but the gnats are my excuse!

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oleander
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by oleander » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:27 pm

No raccoon stories??

At a Sonoma County coastal camp, I stupidly left a bag of food on our picnic table before going to sleep. Heard a rustling sound and woke my buddy. We spent the next 10 minutes chasing a raccoon while he dragged my large food bag through thick ferns up a steep embankment. There was no time to even put our shoes on. The raccoon won. We beat our way back down that embankment to our sleeping bags, soaked, muddy, and breakfastless.

Raccoons are a major reason why I hesitate to go backpacking to most of the Bay Area coastal destinations.

- Elizabeth

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lambertiana
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by lambertiana » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:12 am

Aside from the ubiquitous mosquito, I would have to say marmots. I do a lot out of Mineral King, and they are real pests there. They are bold and will try to get to your pack even if you are only a few feet away. Once, I left my pack at Monarch Lake and summited Sawtooth. Upon my return, I discovered that my pack's hip belt had been chewed up, probably for the salt. Once when I did an early season dayhike from the Sawtooth trailhead to explore the foxtail pine grove above Timber Gap, I got back to my car to discover that a marmot had gotten into my engine compartment. I had put a chicken wire fence around my car, firmly anchored by rocks all the way around. But a marmont climbed up the chicken wire to the top, and when its weight pulled the wire away from my car it must have used that opportunity to dive in (I could see the spot where the top of the wire was pulled away from my car). I opened my hood to find the culprit inside, chewing on the fiberglass on the firewall. At least it didn't go for any hoses or belts.

The only bear encounter that did not result in the bear turning tail and running away happened in Yosemite Valley. I was going to go up Half Dome with some friends. Just as it was starting to get light, one of the other guys in my group opened the bear box in our campsite in the valley, got his food out, and left the bear box open. I looked over to see a bear turning the corner around the bear box, with my food still inside. I jumped up and kicked the door closed, with the bear only a few feet away. Instead of running away like the back country bears, this one just stood there looking at me. I yelled and kicked dirt into its face, again with no result. Finally, the bear must have decided to look for unguarded food elsewhere and slowly walked away.

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longri
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by longri » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:23 am

The Sierra is wonderfully benign in terms of weather, terrain and also animals/insects.

I can't really think of anything that's been beyond just a little annoying. Mice in the winter? They're annoying sometimes. Hmmm. Marmots? They've never given me that much grief. One time a marmot was trying to eat the slings I was anchored to while I was belaying my partner. I tried to shoo it away but it wouldn't give up. I finally peed on the marmot and it went away.

I guess I'd have to say gnats. Mosquitoes are worse but can be more easily defeated with sufficient DEET. The gnats seem immune to that.

But compared to dangerous animals (insects especially) found elsewhere in the world we've got it so good.
Last edited by longri on Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rlown
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by rlown » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:23 am

lambertiana wrote: The only bear encounter that did not result in the bear turning tail and running away happened in Yosemite Valley. I was going to go up Half Dome with some friends. Just as it was starting to get light, one of the other guys in my group opened the bear box in our campsite in the valley, got his food out, and left the bear box open. I looked over to see a bear turning the corner around the bear box, with my food still inside. I jumped up and kicked the door closed, with the bear only a few feet away. Instead of running away like the back country bears, this one just stood there looking at me. I yelled and kicked dirt into its face, again with no result. Finally, the bear must have decided to look for unguarded food elsewhere and slowly walked away.
Any good words to the other guy in the group who left the bear box open? :derp:

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oldranger
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by oldranger » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:03 pm

oleander wrote:No raccoon stories??

At a Sonoma County coastal camp, I stupidly left a bag of food on our picnic table before going to sleep. Heard a rustling sound and woke my buddy. We spent the next 10 minutes chasing a raccoon while he dragged my large food bag through thick ferns up a steep embankment. There was no time to even put our shoes on. The raccoon won. We beat our way back down that embankment to our sleeping bags, soaked, muddy, and breakfastless.

Raccoons are a major reason why I hesitate to go backpacking to most of the Bay Area coastal destinations.

- Elizabeth
Forgot all about this one. Left my iPad on my campsite table in an oregon coastal state park. During the night a raccoon knocked it off the table and cracked the glass face on one end--still quite usable except for the camera used for selfies. No problem--don't need to see my face any more than absolutely necessary!
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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LMBSGV
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by LMBSGV » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:59 pm

Yes, the raccoons at coastal campsites. The raccoons in Point Reyes have long been a major problem. The situation has slightly improved since they replaced the wooden food boxes with metal ones after the Mount Vision fire. The raccoons would chew, scratch, gnaw through the wood to get food. After one scratched through enough to get ahold of the edge of our plastic bag with muffins inside, we would put our food under an overturned pot and placed a plate upright leaning on the door slats inside propped with a rock.

I’ve had several raccoon encounters from one hopping on the picnic table a few inches away across from my plate as I was eating dinner to one who went through the tent mosquito netting while I was down at the beach watching/photographing the sunset. I arrived back at my campsite and went to unzip the tent to get a sweater and discovered I didn’t need to unzip since there was already a perfect raccoon size hole in the middle of the netting. A nice set of paw prints were across the sleeping bag. (All that was in the tent was my sleeping bag, notebook, spare t-shirt, and sweater.)

Another time I was with my son’s school group at the Sky Camp group site and my son, two other students, and I were sitting up talking around the picnic table. At our feet were five raccoons, two skunks, and a possum going through the food scraps on the ground. At first, we were nervous about the skunks, but they completely ignored us. When they finished consuming the scraps, they all sauntered off back into the bushes except for one of the skunks. My son’s friend decided to cowboy camp and after he fell asleep, the skunk climbed on top of him. I sat watching wondering what to do if he decided to wake up and discovered a skunk sitting on him. Fortunately, the skunk decided to climb off and amble away.

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Harlen
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by Harlen » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:31 pm

But compared to dangerous animals (insects especially) found elsewhere in the world we've got it so good.


Longri, we are guessing that you have experienced the infamous "midges" perhaps in the Scottish Highlands? Or was it leeches in Borneo? Please tell us/warn us about the worst insects in the world. Cheers, the Harlens.

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by bobby49 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:09 am

I had led a small group of us to our favorite lake in Yosemite. This was back in the days before bear canisters, so we would hang our food. We did a decent food hang, but the only tree that we had to work with was kind of scrawny and not perfectly bear-proof. So, I slept on one side of the tree trunk, and Dave slept on the other side. We figured that the bear was going to have to come through us to climb the tree. In the middle of the night, Dave woke up when he sensed a presence. He looked up, and here was the bear close enough to lick his face. Dave screamed bloody murder, which sent the bear running. I was right there, so it woke me up, and Dave quickly told me what had happened. After a few minutes, the rest of our group came running over to the tree to find out who it was that had been dismembered, judging by the intensity of the scream. Everybody survived. Even the bear.

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