Bear advice

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by gardenbliss, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

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    For those of you who frequently camp in bear country, do you keep anything in the fridge? I know to keep all food and scented toiletries in bear cache, but what about sofa? For longer trips, what meals do you more often prepare that don't require refrigeration?
     
  2. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I use my fridge as a cabinet for can goods.
    No food that isn't sealed is in the camper at all.
     
  3. ezakoske

    ezakoske Active Member

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    We typically do have our fridge stocked, but everything outside is in the bear box or covered in our vehicles.
     
  4. sleach

    sleach A short run will get you within walking distance.

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    Most of the places we go are bear country, including well east of the foothills in Colorado. We go to considerable lengths to avoid attracting bears to our camp, which means controlling food and other odors.

    Bear in mind that bears are true omnivores. (pun intended) They will eat anything with food value.

    Plan meals such that there will be no leftovers. If there is leftover food, decide if you really will use it, and if in doubt dispose in the bear resistant dumpster. I'm more and more convinced there are no bear proof containers. If boondocking we sling a highline well away from camp and store the garbage there.

    Do dishes right away. Cook outside to avoid building up food odors in the camper. When not in use the propane grill is set 50 or more yards from the camper. Several times it has been licked clean by a night visitor.

    One thing we do is wipe down galley and table surfaces with Clorox-type wet wipes to remove food smells. This includes outside picnic tables.

    Over the years we have had several cans of bear spray, but have never had to use one.

    Enjoy your travels, including all the wildlife.
     
  5. Jimbow

    Jimbow Active Member

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    We had our fridge stocked and sealed food in a cabinet. Evening else was in the back of the pickup. We had a bear walk about 200 yards from our pup in Yellowstone and he kept walking.

    The views expressed may not be mine in five minutes.
     
  6. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. Of course I meant soda, not sofa, lol. Not planning on bringing my sofa this trip.

    Ezakoske, when you say you keep your fridge stocked, do you mean with regular food? Does the bear not smell food in the fridge? Also we have a grill that attaches to outside wall of camper. Is there an extension hose I can use to sit grill farther away from camper using the connection so that I am not luring the bear to my front "porch"?
     
  7. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    A bear can smell food in excess of 5 miles and know if there is enough there to be worth the trip.
    Your camp already smells like food.
    I don't know the disposition of the bears were you camp but the eastern black bear is not particularly aggressive and would prefer for you to leave or go to sleep.
    If you are in a campground they should have the bear rules posted, obey them.
     
  8. lonewolf465

    lonewolf465 Member

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    Obey the bear rules. That is the simplest method yet. We have been backpacking since the early "70s thru Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Alberta and other places and have never had bear problems. We most recently used our a-frame camper in Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Wyoming and Montana--still no problems. Just follow the posted rules. We use a propane oven and grill outside the camper and store it in the pickup topper when not in use. If in campgrounds, the rules will be posted. Last year, we watched the ranger grab up our neighbors goodies they left out when they left camp. Good thing the range got there first, because that type of nonsense will bring bears into YOUR site too.
     
  9. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Well said Lonewolf,
    May I just add, don't leave anything out that they associate with food, like a cooler.
    You could buy a new cooler at Wal-Mart that never had any food in it and leave it on the table and the bears would check it out. Why? Because they recognize it as something that holds food. Same with black, plastic garbage bags.
     
  10. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

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    I absolutely plan on following the posted rules, but is it safe to hang my grill on the side of the camper for cooking up breakfast as long as I remove it, clean up the food debree and store grill in the car afterwards? Will the smell cling to the side of the PUP enough to entice a bear to claw through the canvas? I don't plan on cooking any meat on the grill, mostly just eggs, pancakes and hash browns
     
  11. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    I've only camped in bear country once so far (hope to a lot more in the future) and on that trip I opted to leave the outside pup stove at home. I just used a 2 burner camp stove (think Coleman) on the picnic table away from the pup to play it safe. I'll probably stick to this formula on future trips too.

    I had the same questions as you regarding the fridge. I ended up keeping drinks in it, but wasn't quite 100% comfortable doing that. In the future I think I'll just stick to a cooler in the TV for everything and leave the fridge off in bear country.
     
  12. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    As I have indicated, there is no smell so slight that a bear can't smell it. It doesn't matter what you cook or don't cook, bears will eat anything. As for going through your canvas. If the bear smelled food inside and no one was around it may but then again it may not.
     
  13. lonewolf465

    lonewolf465 Member

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    Problems bear are just that---PROBLEM bears. Those are ones you have to worry about. If a campground is having a problem bear roaming thru the area usually they will post an extra warning. When we were in Alaska last summer, one of the campgrounds had an injured grizzly wandering thru the area and getting into big trouble. The area had extra warnings and the rangers were warning folks. I have the utmost of respect for grizzly bears yet I'm pretty sure we cooked a steak those nights we were in that campground but the site was spic and span clean once we were done eating. Once a bear, black or grizzly, finds out that campers have a free lunch inside, it is usually the death note for the bear. They don't heed scoldings and even when they are moved tend to find their way back into trouble. It won't matter if the camper is pristine clean or not, they are going in, hard side or not. With that said-----campgrounds are full of food smells, campfires, grills, burnt marshmallows, spilled food, coffee. Keep your area clean, put the grills and coolers away when unattended and enjoy the experience. Bears are awesome critters to view in the wild. Practice clean camping whether there are bears or not. Other critters can also become a nuisance. [2C]
     
  14. Jimbow

    Jimbow Active Member

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    We never cooked inside our pup beyond boiling water. We also never cooked right at our canvas. I always cooked on a table away from our pup. But we did eat inside, stored foods inside, etc. It's a lottery. IF a bear comes into camp you want him taking easier pickings.

    The views expressed may not be mine in five minutes.
     
  15. Adirondack PUP

    Adirondack PUP Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    We had a regular late night visitor last year in one of the State Campgrounds in the Adirondacks. We could hear the bear work it's way down the lane of campsites as it climbed into the back of every pick up bed that wasn't enclosed. Somewhere along the way this bear found an easy meal in the back of someones pick up (unsecured cooler is my guess) and wanted to repeat his or her positive experience nightly.

    Tracks like the bear paw above were found only on pickups in our loop of the campground. This bear climbed all the way into our truck bed before we scared him off with a flashlight. Our food was stored in the cab of the truck out of site in enclosed bins but he climbed in regardless.

    Bears are smart. Bears will look to expend the least amount of energy for the most reward. We try not to make it easy for them and we usually don't have a problem. We don't leave or store any food in the pup.
     
  16. 91Starcraft

    91Starcraft Member

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    I have camped and live in bear country all my life. We never keep food in our fridge or in the camper at all. A few times we've eaten lunch in there in when the bugs are bad, but we wipe down with disinfectant wipes. Most campgrounds tell you to wear clean clothes to bed ones you didn't eat in be sure to brush your teeth and wash your face before bed. No lotions or body sprays that smell like food flowers etc. no point in marinading yourself ;)

    We keep our food in the car or bear boxes if they have them. The stove is taken off the side of the camper and placed on the picnic table (if it's not right next to the camper) at night.

    It just depends on the bears really. Like others said if bears have been seen to be active in a
    campground they usually post signs. It's always better to be safe than sorry. We've seen them around and we steer clear of them and have never had a problem. No reason to be afraid as long as you do as the campground suggests.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. ezakoske

    ezakoske Active Member

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    Up at Hume Lake every year, we keep most of the food in the bear box, and in covered coolers in the car at night. That being said, we also have food in the fridge in the pop-up. We have had bears come though our camp the last 2 years. One stomped on our empty trash can (well, it had an empty beer can in it) but have never had a an issue with the outside stove on the trailer, or the fridge.

    Where are you heading?
     
  18. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for all your good advice. My 21yo DS and I are headed to Yosemite for a graduation/emancipation celebration!
     
  19. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

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    We have camped many years in many places with bears, Adirondack's and Catskills of NY, Western Carolinas.....Have seen and crossed paths with several over the years...the only problem we ever had was one decided to clean up our gas grill for us, tipped over and drug halfway into the woods....
    But that was at home on the back patio so I guess that don't count.
     
  20. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    After watching a Mythbuster's episode where they were testing different myths about bear repellent. I am now extremely cautious about what I leave in or around my camper. They stocked an old minivan with coolers filled with fish. The van was locked and they had a trained bear loose to see what it would do without repellent. Dang that bear tore the car apart, eventually getting the sliding door open and helping himself to all the fish in the cooler, destroyed the seats etc. Now grant you they had something leading the bear to the car if I remember correctly, but dang. Don't get in the way of a determined bear even the trainer had a hard time of redirecting it. It was very scary to see and made me extremely cautious. I don't keep any food items in my camper at all not even canned goods. I keep everything in my SUV and take only what I need. The ranger at one campground told me to keep all grills/stoves in the vehicle as well. Everything was disposed of immediately after eating. I kept to a meal plan I would have no left overs. I couldn't get myself to cook fish for fear the smell will still stick around long after cleanup. I never thought about needing to wipe the picnic table with clorox after eating. I used water and soap, but not clorox.
     

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