Animal Annoyances

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maverick
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Animal Annoyances

Post by maverick » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:49 pm

Which animal has annoyed you the most while out in the backcountry? Gnawing or chewing on your equipment, or steeling your food? Share your personal stories about that crazy deer, marmot, bird, bear, or squirrel, who got on your nerves, and it seemed liked they had it out for you for some reason. :)


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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by SSSdave » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:22 pm

Easy...most annoying animal by far is the MOSQUITO!

;)

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by Tom_H » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:43 pm

In the Sierra it would be chipmunks eating through side pockets and getting to my munchie bag. The several encounters with black bears were uneventful as were the less aggressive and smaller western rattlesnakes.

Canoe camping in southeastern costal plain river systems I've had encounters with alligators, bobcats, a number of poisonous spiders, leeches, rattlers, and cottonmouths.

Backpacking in the Appalachians I've encountered copperheads and rattlesnakes (we once tiptoed through a bed of 14 during a cool morning while they were still inactive), but the scariest encounters were in the middle of the night when a wild boar would come into camp, rut around in the ground, and make these god-awful high pitched screams. I went through this several times and we always laid perfectly still and quiet, unmolested. Those are probably the times when I came closest to "soiling" my sleeping bag.

Never have seen a mountain lion; not sure I want to.

Have to agree with Dave, the most annoying (and it exists EVERYWHERE) are those blood sucking mosquitoes.

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:26 pm

Well, the question limits annoyances to "animals", so insects do not count.

Believe it or not, a chipmunk. I was camped at the end of a popular day-hike trail in the Wind Rivers where tourists had obviously fed chipmunks. One bold fellow just would not leave me alone. It circled closer and closer. I would throw rocks; it would come back. I would try to swat it with my trekking poles; it would come back. My stove was lying out (before I had screwed it onto the gas canister) and the little bugger ran off with it! Luckily he had dropped it after about 20 feet.

A marmont in Dusy Basin would not leave me alone. I made the mistake of peeing too close to my tent and that was the reason. I again threw rocks, chased it with my trekking poles, tried to kick it. If I did not deter it while I ate dinner, it soon would be about ready to steal my dinner. I was worried it would chew on my tent string, but all it did was lick my pee spot all night.

Fish. I spotted a huge fish on one end of Davis Lake and tried to catch it. He know exactly what I was trying to do. He would swim close, taunt me, then act like he was going to get my fly, just to back off, laughing at me I suppose. Same with a fish at the lake below Mt. Jordan.

Two annoying animal encounters that were also scarey:

A black bear at Hatchet Lake on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. My husband and I were in the tent with the bear can sitting outside. First the bear looked inside my husband's pack and threw it around a bit. Then he went for the bear can, rolling it around. He soon tired of that. Then he came near the tent, looked inside, nose only about two feet from us, and I swear his eyes said he wanted to play. We made noise and he barely backed away. He would creep up again with those playful eyes. More banging on pots and pans. He finally left. My husband went to sleep. After half an hour he was back, again looking in the tent. It was now dark. I got out of the tent, barefoot, and chased him off poking with my trekking poles and yelling at the top of my lungs. My husband slept through the entire ordeal. Later we found out that this bear had raided a campsite at a nearby lake a mile downstream. He probably was full and only wanted to play. It was a juvinile bear. We got this information from the packer who we met the next day. The packer was bringing in more food for the campers who lost theirs. They were stupid enough to leave the food out in a cooler.

A moose in the Wind Rivers. It was a high snowpack year and I was ending a long trip descending to the inlet of Upper Ross Lake. I was exhausted. Finding a tent site was nearly impossible as the entire inlet meadow was flooded, except for one dry knoll. I sloshed out to the dry ground, set up the tent and cooked dinner on a fire. After dinner, with cup of tea in hand, I took a small stroll and there it was; a huge black butt of a moose. He did not smell me as the wind was blowing the other direction. I turned on a dime, went back to camp, took down the tent, and too tired (and it was too dark) to go back through the swamp, I moved under a nearby huge pile of deadfall for the night. All night that moose bashed against the logs! They are very territorial. The moose was gone at dawn. I got out of there without breakfast.

All the bears I have run into in the SIerra have never been annoying. Still scarey.

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by lvray » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:41 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:Well, the question limits annoyances to "animals", so insects do not count.
Insects are in the Kingdom Animalia. :)

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by lvray » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:46 pm

And to answer the question - humans by a long shot.

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Re: Animal Annoyances (some stories)

Post by giantbrookie » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:24 pm

Mosquitoes are the no.1 annoyance for me and everything else is secondary but there have been some memorable ones.

First would be this chipmunk that chewed up multiple leather items of mine and my dad's while camped at Tower Lake in 1987 (a more harrowing encounter with a larger animal took place on the next night.
In those days my dad and I had external frame packs with leather grommets, and my dad carried a handmade walking stick with a leather loop for his hand, in addition to our leather boots. The second evening camped there we had crawled into our bags in our tent and fallen asleep. My dad awakes me. I was annoyed, for I hadn't nodded off all that easily and was finally sleeping comfortably. "What's THAT?" He asked. "What?" I asked groggily? "That sound" answered my dad. Then I heard it. There was this funny scratching sound, like something clawing/chewing on leather. Five years before that I had had my boots practically eaten out from beneath my head while sleeping under the stars in the Russian Wilderness (boots were so badly chewed up as to be barely wearable) so I sprang out of the tent and went to check on our boots. Sure enough there was some damage to the scree guards. I brought the boots inside the tent. With great difficulty I fell back asleep. Then my dad awoke me again "He's BACK!" I groaned again and crawled out of the tent because I had remembered those leather grommets on the packs. There was in fact mild damage to said grommets so I moved the packs inside the tent (tent was getting kinda crowded). I had a very hard time getting back to sleep, but I succeeded. "He's Back AGAIN". This time I merely grunted and mumbled something about the critter not having anymore leather to chew on and I stayed in my bag and fell back asleep quickly. The next morning, as I emerged from the tent I remembered that my dad had a leather loop on the end of his walking stick. It had indeed been gnawed off. We saw some tiny paw prints in the sand that we figured were those of a chipmunk. My dad was pretty p.o'd at this critter. He was a really gentle guy, but he wanted lethal vengeance on this little animal. He figured that the critter was hiding in a little rockpile near our gear and he laid out a little trail of crushed crackers from the alleged lair to a place near where he sat. He sat and waited with his ice axe raised above his head like a sword ready to strike. That was his pose as I left to dayhike and fish some nearby lakes. Apparently the critter had the good sense not to be seen, so my dad never got his chance.

The scarier animal encounter on that trip was the next night at the same place. More often than not, I get up in the middle of the night to pee. That night was no exception. It was probably something like 2 am or so when I stepped out of the tent and took a pee. In the shadow of a tree perhaps 100 feet away I sensed slight movement but I could not resolve the shape--it looked to be a fairly large animal. I stood staring at it for a bit trying to figure out what it was and figuring it would move enough so I could see it more clearly--in those days my night vision was really acute. The animal didn't cooperate and I was still curious. Something told me that this was an animal I hadn't seen before. Figuring I could make it move and move fast, I charged it. So I did but I stopped abruptly after two or three strides. I stopped because this animal did not move at all. I had never encountered an animal that didn't run when I charged it. Not good. I figured there was only one animal I knew of that would behave that way. I stood tall, walked backward to the tent and crawled back in. Nothing further happened that evening. The next morning I got up to see what sort of tracks were beneath that tree. They were in fact mountain lion tracks.

Back in 1983 I had a rather amusing encounter with a very brazen chipmunk. I was on a backpacking trip with my girlfriend camped at Tyee Lake no. 4. We had just arrived at our campsite, drop our packs, then we broke out some lunch food. We were doing some cheese and crackers and I pulled out a block of cheddar and cut a few slices. I placed the block down on a rock next to me as we started eating "round 1". A chipmunk darted in and ran off with the block of cheese. I did not want to surrender the cheese that easily. I sprinted after the chipmunk, while yelling at it "Come Back Here M---F!", bringing much laughter from the large number of folks at the lake. The greedy chipmunk was seriously overloaded with that cheese and I closed the gap pretty quickly, whereupon the chipmunk dropped the cheese and got away.

The boots eaten from beneath my head? That was at Smith Lake in Russian Wilderness in 1982. I was camped out under the stars and was using my boots to prop my makeshift pillow. I slept very soundly and was totally unaware that some animal was chewing on my boots and doing great damage. The scree guards were totally destroyed and the rest of the uppers were mangled so badly I could barely wear the boots. I have no idea what critter did that.

Back in the 60s on a dayhike to Mt Hoffman my family stopped for lunch and had a marmot run off with our salame which it munched within view in crevice in the rocks. We figured the poor chap would have a rather upset stomach from eating that but the marmot didn't look at all distressed as it ate.
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by RichardCullip » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:46 pm

Way back in the early 70's my brother and I were hiking out of Mineral King. Did a bit of cross country to a lake I can't remember the name of. We were eager to do a bit of fishing so we dropped our packs, got out the fishing gear and went after some high country trout. Now this was the day of the external framed Kelty pack with a big closed cell foam pad rolled up and stored on top of the main compartment held firmly in place by the top flap of the pack. Some of you might remember those days. When we finished our fishing and it was time to set up camp for the night, I got back to my pack to discover that a marmot had chewed thru the foam pad to investigate what might be in the main pack compartment. I must have spent an hour picking up little bits of foam pad that the marmot had left behind. I also spent the rest of the trip sleeping on a foam pad that looked like a paper doll cutout. Learned my lesson and always setup camp before fishing after that....
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by LMBSGV » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:48 pm

The funniest incident was in the North Cascades back in 1977. My wife and I went to watch the full moon and forgot to zip shut the mosquito netting. When we got back to the tent, a mouse was inside scurrying around, obviously terrified. He (or she) could not figure out the way back out of the tent. We spent several minutes trying to chase it out, the tent wide open for its exit. I finally took a Sierra cup (remember those?) and managed to scoop up the mouse and fling it outside. He took off into the woods so fortunately was not injured.

The worst bear incident was when we were camped at Cora Lakes in the Minarets (now Ansel Adams) Wilderness in 1978. We ran into this one group on the way up who warned us about a bear at Cora Lakes. We had a wonderful evening, went to sleep, and slept well until dawn when we awoke to a sound similar to paper being shredded. A bear was going up the tree tearing the bark to get to our food hanging on a branch about 15-20 feet up. The bear walked out on the branch, but it became too thin and springy. What followed is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen a bear do. He wrapped his legs around the tree trunk and stretched out, his arms reaching in a vain attempt to get the food. When that failed, he scurried back down, stood under the hanging food, hopped once, and realized he had no chance of reaching it. We noticed the bear had a blue tag in one of his ears.

The entire time my wife and I are yelling and throwing rocks. The rope holding the food up was tied to a different tree (this was just before counterbalancing came in). The bear went over and smacked the rope with his paw. The food hopped up and down. My wife got so mad, she ran at the bear and whacked him with a couple of rocks. Her fury worked. The bear ambled off into the woods.

When we got back to Clover Meadow, we reported the incident and the ranger asked if the bear had a blue tag. Yes, we replied. He said the bear’s name was Mr. Stubbs and he had been relocated to the Minarets from Little Yosemite because he kept stealing people’s food. The NPS and Forest Service finally gave up the practice of relocating bears due to incidents like that.

There was also one time we were camped at Moraine Campground at Cedar Grove. I was watching the moon rise over the rim of the canyon while my wife was rummaging in the bear box. She felt a presence next to her. She yelled and slammed shut the door. The bear next to her hardly reacted. (I started to write “barely reacted,” but . ..) It was only when I shined a flashlight in his eyes and yelled at it that he ambled off to raid another campsite.

Then there was the chipmunk at Chief Lake who ran off with the plastic knife covered with peanut butter . . .

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by zacjust32 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:07 pm

Chipmunk took my spoon at Rae Lakes one year. Luckily it was one of those biodegradable spoons from Yogurtland and has probably dissolved by now -and it was free. I had to cut up an extra gatorade bottle and make my own spoon for the next 3 days.

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