Yosemite Bear Facts

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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balzaccom
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Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by balzaccom » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:04 am

2018 Total Bear Incidents: 15
2018 Total Property Damage: $1,085
Compared to this same week 2017 (the lowest year on record), bear incidents in 2018 are down by 55% and damage amounts (in dollars) are down by 78%.
Compared to 1998 (when incidents in the park peaked), bear incidents and damages in 2018 are down by 99%.

Bear Activity Summary: Bears are busy across all elevations of the park devouring whatever food they come across, including late fruit, acorns, and even fish trapped in shrinking pools. Help protect bears by storing your food and scented items (toiletries, drinks, etc.) in a hard-sided building or in a latched food locker. Keeping food within arm’s reach day and night (when not stored properly) also keeps your food from curious bears. One incident occurred recently at North Pines Campground after visitors accidentally left out drinks in a cooler overnight. The bear knocked the cooler over and bit or clawed open the drinks inside.

Red Bear, Dead Bear: So far this year, 13 bears have been hit by vehicles along park roads. Please help protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and being prepared to stop for animals on roads.

Fascinating Bear Fact: During the fall, bears are consuming around 20,000 calories a day. An individual acorn has 70-100 calories, which means a bear must eat 200-300 acorns each day to meet its food requirements.


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John Harper
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by John Harper » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:22 am


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rlown
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by rlown » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:27 am

No narrative needed. Just don't be stupid about food storage and car choice.

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Jimr
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by Jimr » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:17 pm

Last month I almost nailed a big bear. It was 1am and I was about 3 miles from Dorst campground, my destination. It bolted out of the forest right in front of my truck while I was doing about 40mph. As I braked, he angled away from me running down the road, then into the forest.
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by austex » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:57 pm

Last year was driving through Markleeville about 35mph with the windows open a bear bolted out and almost t-boned my car. I could hear his claws scraping to brake and avoid hitting the car. I came to a stop as he did and he ran around the backside of the car and off into the forest. It was about 3p. Got to always be aware.

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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by longri » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:18 pm

I saw a bear get pegged by the car right in front of me on Hwy 120 just a few miles west of the park. The guy wasn't speeding, he was far enough under the speed limit that I was getting annoyed with him. Probably about 40-45 MPH when the bear just jumped out right in front of him at the last minute. There was nothing he could have done to avoid it short of rolling along at 15 MPH.

After a moment to get over the shock the bear got up and ran off. I've wondered if it survived. They're pretty tough but man that was quite a thump it took. It was really awful to see.

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longri
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by longri » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:27 pm

It's amazing to see the reduction in incidents in the Valley. There used to be hundreds of incidents each year and now less than 20.

So what has happened? I find it hard to believe that the NPS increased compliance with food storage rules to the point that the bears lost interest. It must have been due to other more active techniques. I know for a while they used dogs to chase them. They'd drive around at 3am and shine really bright lights on every campsite, every tent. When a bear was around they'd track it and shoot blanks near it. Perhaps some selective euthanasia too. I'd love to see the report.

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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by mrphil » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:56 pm

Thankfully short of really close calls myself, but I'm going to roughly estimate that about half the mad dashes across the road I've seen have also involved cubs not far behind. Close enough to keep up, but far enough to be another surprise entirely.

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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by balzaccom » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:04 pm

Longri--I understand what you are saying---but I also know that the rangers have been extremely diligent about getting people to put their food away, both in the campgrounds, in the bear boxes in parking areas, and in the wilderness...
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by mrphil » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:47 pm

Yeah, they've become very focused on interactive education, monitoring and enforcement the past few years, especially in the campgrounds. And from the problem bears' standpoint, spending the night in a chunk of metal culvert or being hit with non-lethal projectiles can't be fun. Put it all together, and the overall results must be working.

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