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Discussion in 'Camping Around Wildlife' started by whitecastleman, Mar 24, 2015.
I love reading all these stories. Thanks for the laughs!
I was backpacking with 8 scouts and another leader in Philmont Scout Ranch in NM in early July, 2015. We were at a trail camp (Visto Grande) for the night. it was about 6 PM and one scout was already in his tent sleeping and I was just sitting hanging out while everyone else was hanging all the smellables on the bear rope about 100 yards away. I hear something faint then a loud roar!!!! Then I hear it again...it was a mountain lion, and I figure it was about 50 yards away. I could not see it, but I am sure it saw me. Well, everyone else came back and never heard it again. That evening after everyone was in there tents they were all talking and making noise and I yelled at them to shut the heck up!!! The other leader and I shared a tent. He asked me what was wrong and I told him about the mountain lion!!! He turned white and yelled at the boys to shut up as well. Now, my buddy and I did not sleep well that night. The next morning I explained to the scouts why we yelled at them to shut up. I think a few of them soiled their shorts after I told them about the mountain lion!!!!
I love camping, but I'm a nervous camper, especially once the sun goes down. Once I'm asleep my hearing goes on high alert and I hear everything. In January of this year DW and I were camping at Morrow Mountain State Park in NC. We went in the middle of the week, in January, so the place was pretty empty. Our second night there, we were the only people in the campground - even the host went home for a few days. In the middle of the night I hear something - I'm instantly wide awake. I can hear something moving around in our campsite - brushing up against things and what not. At this point there is no way I'm going back to sleep (this drives DW insane and I can't blame her). I lay still and quiet for a while, and I can still hear something moving around. I hear some crinkling and immediately start doing a mental inventory of what might have gotten left out. I'm always careful to make sure we don't leave any food out. I quietly unzip one of the flaps on the bunkend and shine my headlamp out into the site. The only thing I can see is a half-eaten single serve bag of Fritos sitting on the table. I frown at DW, sleeping quietly in the darkness, and continue to watch. No movement, no sign of an animal. Of course, in my head I'm already imagining a big cat or a coyote sitting just beyond the reach of my headlamp. I turn the light off and try to go back to sleep, but within minutes whatever it is is back at the bag of chips, causing a crinkling noise. I flip the light back on and shine it back outside - there is nothing there but the bag of chips has moved. At this point I know I need to go get the chips and get them in the trash, or whatever is out there is not going to go away. So, like an idiot, I go outside in the pitch dark in my tshirt and underwear, all senses on high alert, and inch towards the table. Just as I reach for the bag of chips I hear a sound emanate from under the table. I immediately jumped high enough to nearly reach escape velocity, then I realized it was a friggin' house cat. It was mad that I took its chips, but moved along shortly thereafter.
Years ago, I took a group of Gr 8 student on a camping/white water canoe training trip. Since I didn't have my qualifications at the time, I enlisted the help of a 'qualified' white-water instructor (my former VP), who was on a self-funded leave at the time.
In preparation for each trip I would discuss all aspects of safety, and I would always enforce that all food, toothpaste, etc. is hung from a tree or, when car-camping, locked in a vehicle.
Unfortunately, I had never been on a trip with this VP, and when I reminded the kids re the food hanging or in a car, he chose to overrule me. When it was time for the kids to turn in after campfire, four of the boys came to me to tell me that there was a skunk in their tent. When I asked what the skunk was doing in the tent, one of the boys sheepishly replied that it was eating his marshmallows. I told them that the skunk would leave when it was finished its bedtime snack and suggested that they find alternate accommodations in other tents for the night. Lesson learned!
I also learned a lesson on that trip. I should have found another white-water instructor. On his first demonstration of white-water skills, this man held on the painter (the line at the bow) and stood in the stern--without a pfd--as he and his 10-year-old son(who he brought without my consent) went down the first set of rapids. Needless to say, this was his last trip with me.
I remember a few times when I was younger and camping in the tent with my parents. My mom would always wake me up (out of a dead sleep) and tell me that there was a bear outside of the tent and to not go outside.
Well, considering I was sound asleep, going outside was probably not even an option until I was awoken.
We have stayed in bear country, both black and grizz and never had a bear problem. We have also backpacked in these areas with no problems. Smaller critters have created some excitement. One we were awoken to an incredible racket outside our camper. The site had the old style metal garbage cans with metal lids. Mama raccoon was on top trying to pull off the top while her 4 babies watched from below. Just as the can tipped over, another huge raccoon entered the scene with a big fight breaking out. Lots of noise until the hierarchy was established.
Another time when my wife and I were youth group leaders, we had 14 high schoolers on a camping trip. There were skunks everywhere in the campground. Two skunks scared several of the kids that had been fishing and they came running back to the campsite. Later that night, when everyone was in the big tent during devotions, several skunks invaded the campsite. When the tent door was opened, several were wandering around the site. The next morning the ranger said they had been having a problem with them (no kidding).
We once had a flying squirrel sample everything in our backpacks while we were eating.
While backpacking in Alberta, we had a whitetail deer in the site that was a real nuisance. We finally scared it off. Later, about 2 in the morning, we heard something moved around outside the tent. The deer was pulling up grass next to the tent. When we scared it off, it got tangled up in the guy ropes of the tent. That pretty much had everyone up the rest of the night.
The worst problem was with a two-legged animal at beach campsite in Oregon. Shortly after midnight, a terrible fight broke out in the site next to us. Some guy was severely beating his female companion. The rangers must have had a heads up on this site because they were there before I could even get out of the camper.
Other than the last incident, aren't these the events that make camping fun????
A couple weeks ago we were camping in a FL state park. When checking in I asked about the gator situation, since we were gonna have a pretty good walk to the bathhouse. They said there were gators around (since it was FL afterall) but they weren't likely to come up in the camping area where people are. Well, that first evening I was making my way to the bathhouse after dark with my little flashlight and taking the path through the woods when all of a sudden right next to me there was a huge rustling and crashing noise in the brush. I almost completed my bathroom mission right then and there! After frantically shining my flashlight around I saw it -- a bunny rabbit. Apparently this nearly tame rabbit hangs out right next to the path since I saw him a number of other times that week. When you finally get too close for his liking he jumps off into the brush. I think he just gets his jollies from scaring the crap out of people, as he nearly did me.
If there are rabbits, the alligators are a long way off...
If you want to find the gators, take a flashlight and shine it out over the water (any water, they're everywhere), count the pairs of eyes that light up... it can be quite startling!
I just remembered a time when we were in Yellowstone (Bridge Bay CG) in August of 2008. The site next to us had a pup as well. There was a tree above the pup and two squirrels were climbing and jumping off a low tree branch onto their pup roof. They must have been doing that for about a half hour until the owner of the pup came out and shooed them off. Early the next morning we were up about 7 and the squirrels were at it again. Again the owner came out and shooed them off, but as soon as he went back in they started again. That went on for about an hour they would jump on his roof and run around then he would come out and try to scare them off. It was very entertaining to us and a few other campers around them as well!!! Funny that the squirrels only liked his pup roof!!!