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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longri
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by longri » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:27 pm

balzaccom wrote:
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...

Well that's quite interesting if they actually succeeded in greatly improving food storage practices. For as long as I've been visiting the Valley the rangers, camp hosts, etc. have been very intent on getting people to follow the rules. But there were still many incidents. So something changed. Did they just start trying even harder to convince people to protect their food?

I still suspect that the supply of bears in the Valley was reduced somehow.








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AlmostThere
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by AlmostThere » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:57 pm

If you leave ice chests, bags, food, etc in the car, you get a citation. If you let a bear get food they can fine you up to 5k. If you are leaving stuff out and not paying much attention and the ranger drives by you get reminded. Paintball guns (minus paint) are used to drive off the bears from campgrounds. The more aggressive bears get killed before they really have a chance to injure someone. So yes, the bear patrol is really darn effective. Once in LYV a bear patrol ranger spoke with me about a bear that we saw - he was just minutes behind her, trying to haze her away from LYV, as she was a definite problem bear.

Many of the bears are GPS tagged and they have the gear to track them around the park. They map their travels and are very aware of the locations of all the nuisance bears.

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bobby49
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by bobby49 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:31 pm

That is true about the ice chests. It is thought that maybe a Yosemite black bear can recognize the brand names Igloo and Coleman. The bear doesn't even care if there is any food inside the ice chest. If it is a big rectangular thing in the back seat of a car, then the bear feels compelled to tear the car apart and see what is in there. The moral is don't let your ice chest be seen. I admit that I have left an ice chest in my car in some pretty sketchy places, but it was always hidden deep in the trunk. So, after 35 years, the bears have never even put a scratch on my car. If a person is stupid enough to leave any serious food odor around the car, then the car is doomed.

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longri
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by longri » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:13 am

So it's all of the above then. Well it's good news in any case. The bear problem in the Valley has been a major nuisance for years and years. I know plenty of people who've had their cars damaged without any food inside. Not having a visible ice chest has never been any sort of guarantee.

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bobby49
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by bobby49 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:54 am

Lots of Yosemite Valley visitors would transport unsealed food in the trunk of a car. Then the food odors are there even though a human can't smell them. Mister Bear can, and he may attempt to dismantle the car to find the odor.

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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by balzaccom » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:52 pm

Agreed. And if the bear finds food in your car because you failed to put the food into a bear box, you will be fined in Yosemite. One of my employees ended up paying $125 for leaving an ice chest out on a campsite table---even though It only had sealed bottles of wine in it.
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longri
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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by longri » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:10 pm

Bears are fickle though. They have amazingly sensitive noses and they're smart, and yet sometimes they act as if that weren't true.

Case in point: Banana peel in trunk of car in Curry Village lot during the summer for two weeks. Bears don't care.

Second case: Car without food or any visible objects is broken into; the car right next to it with fresh food plainly visible on the front seat is left alone.

I think the vast majority of vehicles have some low-level remnant odor from food. Most people have bits of food under their seats, especially if they have kids. A bear, which has an incredible sense of smell, is probably capable of detecting that. So it comes down to discrimination. Can they discern the difference between a car with food in it versus an old french fry under the seat or a ghostly remnant odor from food removed hours or days earlier?

Apparently they can't do so consistently.

My car was damaged in Yosemite twice. I'll never know why the bear chose my car on those occasions or what I could have done to prevent it. Or why the times I left food in the car accidentally didn't result in break-ins. To me it seems -- to a certain extent -- arbitrary.

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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:25 pm

I once experienced a young bear who was very playful and curious around my camp. Perhaps some break-ins are simply due to curiosity. Maybe some bears have nothing better to do than randomly get into a car. I wonder if it depends on season- if they are starving after winter or well fed later. If they can identify brands of coolers, perhaps they have had previous and recent success with a certain make of car. I have read that bears can not only smell very well, but can determine the quantity of food that they smell.

I am lucky to say I have never had my car touched by a bear.

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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by mrphil » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:29 pm

"
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:25 pm
If they can identify brands of coolers, perhaps they have had previous and recent success with a certain make of car.
I can't help but wonder if AAA has any statistics on this...and how that might affect my premiums?

"Hey Yogi, it's a 2016 Honda Accord with a Yeti in it!!!"

"BINGO, Booboo-boy!"

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Re: Yosemite Bear Facts

Post by hikerduane » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:53 pm

Funny mentioning the speed limit in the Park. Things happen. Up north here, I nailed a bear about five years ago now, outside town on my way to work at 3:30AM, doing 55. Half asleep when a bear ran across the road, hit him good. Quite a bit of damage to my old Toyota pu. Hood, bumper, grille, headlight. Fixed what I could later. Kept going, took a few seconds to realize what happened, would not have been smart to stop to check him out.
I have yet to see a bear in the Park the last eight years, but most bp trips by myself have been late September or early October. Only bears I've ever seen there were back in the early 60's.
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