PDA

View Full Version : Alone with bear(s).



eyewall
2007-09-12, 01:41
Fellow backpackers,

I came off the Superior Hiking Trail two weekends ago after a five day solo hike. I had company once on the overnight. On my last night, after getting snug in my HH, I buck roared through the middle of camp at 30 mph. I mean this guy was hauling. It got me thinking about what is the suggested methodoly on how to handle a bear in camp. Do you just let him roam around, being silent in your hammock. Do you yell and scream, brandishing your headlight, do you jump out of your hammock with your .45 or your bowie knive? What if the bear ambles over and sticks his nose next to yours? What say you all?

CaSteve
2007-09-12, 02:45
I've been thinking about bears too. I spend alot of time hiking in the Sierras. What the rangers tell you to do is make alot of noise, yell, scream, bang pots & pans together, etc. But being in a hammock, you are already starting out with a disadvantage. The thing to remember is that the bear is primarily interested in your food, so store it away from camp. In California we have only Black Bears (regardless of their coloring), and they generally avoid human confrontation, but with my luck I would meet a curious one.

-Steve

Iceman
2007-09-12, 03:05
Hammocks = Human taco.
(Stolen from someone else here......)

I would make noise, and get your magnum handgun ready for action.

dixicritter
2007-09-12, 15:56
I've worried about being a bear pinata out there hanging in my hammock. :bandit:

MrSparex
2007-09-12, 20:56
I heard a guy say he actually heard a cub speaking to a Mama bear while he was hanging in his HH. The cub said:
"HEY! Ma....LOOKIE! It's a HUGE bear bag and it's low enough that even I can get to it"!
Seriously though, I think I'd whisper just loud enough for the bear to hear and say: "go away buddy". Whether your in a tent or a hammock probably wouldn't make much difference.
Now if a big buck came running through and caught the rope on the hammock with his foot....then that would not only ruin the hammock (or tent) but would be a terrible scare in the middle of the night........

GGS
2007-09-12, 22:24
I'd say make a lot of noise and shake the hammock as violently as you can.

The bear would see not you, but your 10' long hammock, rain fly, etc. roaring and shaking as one big threatening animal. It's the ultimate in the "make yourself big and threatening" department which is a recommended black bear tactic.

I read a post somewhere of a nighttime bear visit where the bear was investigating a hiker who was bivvying on the ground but fled when his partner stirred in his hammock.

MHO.

Take-a-knee
2007-09-12, 23:15
I would prefer to prepare to make some fairly loud noises, as in muzzle blasts.

MrSparex
2007-09-12, 23:27
Okay....
here's our choices so far
A. Look like a pinata
B. Make noise (a non-pinata noise) and get your handgun ready for action.
C. Say: "go away buddy"
D. Shake the tent and look large.
E. Bang pots and pans (aluminum only)
F. Salt yourself and remove your socks.
G. Yell and brandish your headlight while singing "I will survive".
H. Run
I. Ignore it and go back to sleep.
J. Take a picture.
K. Start crying and sobbing loudly.
L. Wring your hands together and do an evil laugh...louder each time.
M. Call your spouse and say "Honey you'll NEVER guess what's looking at me"
N. Call your spouse and say "Honey will you look up something for me online"

eyewall
2007-09-13, 00:10
Well, thanks for the WIDE selection of answers. I know what to do when You are out hiking, but in a quiet camp situation by yourself, I'm assuming you do the same thing. I suppose my heart would be heard by the bear, but I'm sure I'd add more noise to it. I sorta like the big noise-making taco idea :) Thanks everyone. BTW, the Superior Hiking Trail is great...even though my pack was attacked by a dead tree...

BigJohn
2008-04-04, 02:11
I posted a thread about a year ago concerning bears because I wanted to learn about a subject I knew nothing about. I got various answers, some helpful, most were conflicting, some smart ass, and others totally full of piss and wind. Some people didn't even bother to read my whole question before proceeding to flame. :albertein This site has some good videos/information about bear taxonomy, behaviors, bluff charges, and info about scaring them away. Of course this site has a motive but what site doesn't? For those seeking answers, this might help. Ciao

www.bear.org/website/Bear-Videos.html

Frolicking Dino
2008-04-04, 09:10
I would turn on my light. Most Bears don't want any sort of encounter with humans -- especially in areas that have a bear season. Marta once said something about avoiding being shot by hunter while hiking during hunting season that I do believe applies here - Nothing screams human being more than artifical light at night

Iceman
2008-04-04, 09:48
So what type of hunting are you concerned of confronting when you hike at night?

If you are concerned of getting shot at night, it will surely not be from a hunter. Maybe a meth addict tending his lab, but not a hunter. Lets not try to label hunters as a group we need to worry about here please....

Pappyhighlife
2008-04-04, 13:23
Yep always get a kick outta the Park Rangers telling rookie hikers how to act when confronted by a Bear. “If the bear attacks lay down on your belly and protect your head play dead and leave your back pack on it will protect you from the clawing you will experience until the animal determines if you are a threat.” So what they’re saying is let the Bear eat you for just a bit. My question is how long do you wait…oh yeah he just ate a pound of meat of my butt maybe I’ll let him chew on my calf for a little bit. Say mister ranger where do you draw the line.

If a bear takes a chunk outta me I quit playing dead and scream like a banshee.

Seriously if you boil away the meat and get down to the bone, you got three types of bear; Momma bear protecting her cubs and its highly unlikely she would come into a camp even accidentally. The bear that does stumble into your camp accidentally and that bear will probably more scared that we are. Or the predator type and if you listen to the bear talking heads or authors these are the ones that attack us. They say; “Only a predator bear will enter a camp at night with the intent of a human meal and if that’s the case you should fight the bear as if your life depended on it.” I assume it does. I also understand this applies to bears you might meet in a remote area far away from campers and people.

But who knows I don’t spend much time worrying the big critters it’s the little ones I have to deal with coons marmots and mice. I have been in North Carolina for over 32 years and it does have a bear rich environment but I have had only three encounters. So I got that going for me.

GGS
2008-04-04, 15:59
This site has some good videos/information about bear taxonomy, behaviors, bluff charges, and info about scaring them away. Of course this site has a motive but what site doesn't? For those seeking answers, this might help. Ciao

www.bear.org/website/Bear-Videos.html

Wow, they really updated that site! The old version was very informative, I can't wait to spend time on it now and digest the new info. The videos were great.

Onkel Bob
2008-04-04, 23:09
I've encountered many bears in the Sierra Nevada, mostly after nightfall, a couple including my avatar wandering along the edges of the campsite at breakfast. Never had a problem. Mind you, I have a bear cannister which I am fastidious about keeping closed. I don't do anything other than say, "hey bear, watcha doing" in a calm firm voice. They know you're there, they can smell and see you. What they are wondering is if you know they are there, and if they can sneak away with your food.
My first close bear encounter was in Olympic NP. I surprised a BIG male bruin as I was walking through a berry patch. He was about 10 meters from me when he jumped out of the brush and ran away down the trail. I never saw him until he popped out and I nearly pissed myself. I know he was a male because after 50 or so meters, he stopped, peed, scratched a log and looked at me that seemed to dare me to follow. Needless to say, I turned around. After that event, I realized they were more frightened by us than I previously understood.
Once in Yellowstone (Bechler Falls) I inadvertently camped near an elk trail. In the middle of the night I had a bull and his harem literally walk over me (I sleep in a bivvy.) That was unnerving too.

Turk
2008-04-05, 00:31
Here in ontario, if you get a black bear in camp, you already have a serious problem. Either that bear is Waaay to used to humans and garbage, or has become desperate enough to overcome caution. I say ... you only get one chance to really spook it. I would be out of my hammock with as much ruckas and noise as humanly possible, and not let up for a good couple of minutes.

Further up in polar bear country.... if you're face to face, its probably too late already. Unless you're locked, loaded, and a good shot from the hip while lying prone. Where polar bears are concerned. Its not enough to just carry a firearm. Its gotta be loaded and in arms reach at all times. In my very limited experience with this, it is the only subject I have ever heard of where you can get in big trouble with police if your gun is NOT loaded, and ready to be used. They take the whole issue way way serious.

enviro
2008-04-08, 12:29
The vast majority of my bear encounters have been in the GSMNP. The bears there are very used to people and are pests at times. Usually noise, banging pots, etc. will drive them away. But, some of them just keep coming back. That is when they usually get relocated.

Most of my encounters outside the park have been similar, usually at heavily used campsites.

Nearly Normal
2008-04-09, 05:32
Recently, at a State Park in SC, a neighbor trailer camper had an encounter and didn't know it.
As he walked his dogs the next morning he ask if I'd seen the large black lab he had to continuously run off the night before. Said it was the biggiest black lab he'd ever seen. After questioning him pointedly I laughed and told him to clean up his dog's dishes each night and to leave the bear alone.
At first his eyes got big then he looked pleased with himself. We left that day but I'll bet he put out a candy bar for it that night.

Mutinousdoug
2008-04-09, 20:01
Nearly Normal quote:
"Recently, at a State Park in SC, a neighbor trailer camper had an encounter and didn't know it.
As he walked his dogs the next morning he ask if I'd seen the large black lab he had to continuously run off the night before. Said it was the biggest black lab he'd ever seen. After questioning him pointedly I laughed and told him to clean up his dog's dishes each night and to leave the bear alone.
At first his eyes got big then he looked pleased with himself. We left that day but I'll bet he put out a candy bar for it that night."

This situation would be a wake-up for your neighbor:
A few years ago (Gaaah! it's been at least ten years) a firewood cutter was living in a camping trailer in the Nat Forest behind Colorado Springs cutting wood and selling it in town. He talked to some friends about a bear that had been bothering him at his campsite so he borrowed a 30-30 from one of them.
His friends went up to check on him when he didn't come down as planned and found a corner of the trailer torn open, the fired (one round) gun just outside. The sheriff found their substantially eaten friend nearby. As I recall, the bear was not positively identified but the DOW removed 2-3 un-shot bears in the area who acted acclimated to humans. The area is pretty heavily recreated being as close to Colorado Springs as it is.