bear attack at ponderosa campground in arizona

Discussion in 'RV Industry & Camping Related News' started by Bonniy, May 31, 2012.

  1. BajaPup

    BajaPup New Member

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    In some areas, bears defeat rope systems hung from trees, so bear canisters are required. Even then, some bears have learned to defeat some models by bouncing on the canister until the lid pops off, or by biting through a lid's locking tabs and unscrewing it.

    [​IMG]
    http://backcountrybeacon.com/2010/08/bear-canisters-in-the-adirondacks/
    It's not easy to prevent a smart, determined, immensely powerful animal from taking your food.

    babar, my bear canister cost a lot more than $80. It also hasn't had a documented failure ... yet. :)
    http://www.wild-ideas.net/
     
  2. Flyfisherman

    Flyfisherman New Member

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    Like simply hanging something for them to eat from a climbable tree limb I'm sure, but the suspending between two trees and done right I've not heard of. Maybe by some trained bears but not wild ones. Also, I'm sure the commercialization of some product or gadget would have the public believe wild bears can do anything. Now I don't doubt for a minute a wild bear will not sniff out a food source like the garbage can, a bird feeder, even some nice pastries left on the front seat of the car or Fido's bag food stored in the garage - not to mention tearing into some remote cabin. Without a doubt the more bears are around people and their things, the more brazen the bear behavior becomes.
     
  3. BajaPup

    BajaPup New Member

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    Actually, I'm pretty sure bears in certain areas have managed to get to food hung between two trees by either climbing one and batting down the line, or by shoving on a tree until it, or the food, falls. I'll take a look later and see if there's some examples of that. Regardless, I know there are some parks that require bear canisters before you can pick up a backcountry permit; no hanging food allowed.

    Bears can't do everything, but given enough time and motivation, if there's a weakness, they sure seem to find it.
     
  4. cahillprc2

    cahillprc2 Member

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    I've been reading this and other threads on safety in bear country, their habitats/ranges, and the occurrance of both bear "encounters" and attacks. It appears that practically anywhere there is a woodland camping area is "bear country" and there is a risk of an encounter or attack. But in most areas other than the really high density areas such as Yellowstone the risk appears to be very, very rare.

    As many have said, a really determined bear is nearly impossible to thwart. Their sense of smell is sooooo keen that it would appear they can smell food at great distances and even when its completely out of sight whether its in a locked trunk, a supposedly bearproof canister or a locked bear box. All of which are aimed at preventing them from actually acquiring the food rather than reducing the risks of attracting them given the lingering sents and pherimones from the food and cooking. So even in the high density areas the bear boxes arent really effective in preventing an encounter. In fact I would argue that their co-location or close proximity at every campsite doesnt make much sense.

    So then outside of the very few areas of extremely high bear populations where theres a significantly higher probability of an encouter, is it really necessary in most other campgrounds to go to such great lengths as putting everyhing away including pots, pans, utensils, stoves.etc even when washed; or never cooking in the pup? I would think that given the extremel low probability in these areas merely putting the actual food stuff and garbage bags away is sufficient to keep the other smaller less dangerous critters away; or one of those metal tool bins you see in trucks mounted to the pup as an alternative to the TV.

    I'm not trying to downplay the practices but trying to better understand the thinking involved.
     
  5. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    It's all a matter of probabilities. Since you can never know which bears are where, how hungry they are, if they're sick or injured or what mood they are in, it's impossible to say practice X is sufficient and practice Y is overkill. Remember, just prior to the grizzly attacks just north of Yellowstone a couple of years ago a ranger would have told you that there had been no recent bear activity in the area. Rangers can't see the future.

    A bear encounter with negative results is definitely a low probability event given the number of nights camped in bear country by all campers over the course of a year. I camp in bear country most of the time and have had only one encounter (could have turned bad but didn't) outside of Yellowstone in almost 60 years of camping. However, since a negative bear encounter can be catastrophic I prefer to take the course of maximum preparation/prevention and then not worry about it. That's why I advocate extreme food rules all of the time.

    As for the people who live and camp in non-bear country, do what you like. But, I'd recommend that if you have routinely cooked, dined and stored food and cooking equipment in your PUP that you not take it into bear country. The cooking and food odors will penetrate the curtains, mattresses, seat cushions, etc. Sure, you can wash them and this will definitely help but a bear's nose is thousands of times more sensitive than a human's.
     
  6. cahillprc2

    cahillprc2 Member

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    Thanks UnStable Tripod really appreciate that perspective and the freedom to discuss things openly in this forum.
     
  7. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    Thanks tripod! What is the best bear spray?

    (sent from my phone)
     
  8. nomorecoop

    nomorecoop Member

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    Had my first bear encounter this past summer. Was walking down an old rail trail in WV going back to my truck after trout fishing. Was just walking along and the brier bush along the trail started shaking right beside me and a black bear shot out down the trail in the opposite direction I was going.

    I had bear spray with me and realized one important thing. There was no way to unholster, remove the safety, and fire the bear spray (in a startled frame of mind) in the short time the encounter arose.

    Now when walking, the spray is unholstered with the safety off.

    Just some food for thought.
     
  9. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I just reread my last post and realized that something I said could be misunderstood. I said:
    This could sound like I've had only one bear encounter and that it was outside of Yellowstone, i.e., near the park. What I meant was that of all the bear encounters I've had, all were in Yellowstone but one. When I was a kid camping with my parents in the late '50s and early '60s we went to Yellowstone a couple of times. Back then the park officials let the bears wander all over. They came into the campgrounds every evening to raid the garbage cans. We'd walk right by them on the roads, just a few feet away. We never bothered them and they never bothered us. We could hear them outside at night, too. If I counted each time I came within ten feet of a bear there were dozens of encounters.

    The bear encounter not associated with Yellowstone was in the Sangre de Christo mountains of northern New Mexico in the early '70s. It is the one that could have turned bad but didn't. It's a long story and I've told it here before so I'll just summarize this time. DW and I prepared food 100 feet from the tent but it started pouring just as we begain eating. We ran to the tent and ate inside, spilling nothing. That night Mr. Bear poked his face against the nylon tent a few inches from my face. I could see the outline in the moonlight and feel his breath on my face. He was huffing a bit and hung around for what seemed like hours before leaving. I think it was actually three or four minutes. He left big footprints all around the tent. We were lucky that he didn't feel like investigating more and slash through the tent.
     
  10. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping Member

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    We are still planning/preparing for our Yellowstone trip in June. DH thinks we each need a can of bear spray (DD age 11 & DS age 13). What do you think?
     
  11. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    I think the adults carrying spray, and keeping the kids fairly close is probably good enough. They might have to be 18 to carry anyway.

    Greg
     
  12. kimlovescamping

    kimlovescamping Member

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    Thanks Greg!
     
  13. BajaPup

    BajaPup New Member

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    I agree with Greg. Aside from issues with children carrying bear spray, keeping your group together is important for bear (and people) safety. If the kids want to help, attach bear bells to them and go over bear safety tips with them. If you get kids involved, they'll often remind adults not to do stupid stuff. :)
     
  14. camper00

    camper00 New Member

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    I like to have layers of defense, so keep a clean camp, make noise when hiking, don't store food in the tent/popup and have an air horn. Also try to put the bikes and gear around the bunkends and motion lights for some kind of advanced warning.
    But it's frustrating that places in Calif like Yosemite and King's Canyon don't allow bear spray, let alone any kind of firearms.
    Anyone have any thoughts on last resort defense mechanisms?
     
  15. BajaPup

    BajaPup New Member

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    Like you said, there's no single way to deter bears.

    Yosemite NP website says that firearms are now allowed; you just can't fire them.
    http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weapons.htm

    Bear spray is prohibited. I'd like to know the rationale behind those decisions.
     
  16. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    You are really not in any danger from bears there, and if bear spray was allowed, there would be dozens of knuckleheads in the campgrounds spraying the bears (and each other) every time they see one. The rangers have pepper ball guns and do a very good job keeping the bears under control.

    Greg
     
  17. BajaPup

    BajaPup New Member

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    When I go to Yosemite, I'll spend little to no time around knuckleheads or the rangers tasked with protecting them. The NPS encourages hikers to carry bear spray in the backcountry in other parks with significant bear populations, so again, the Yosemite ban doesn't make sense to me.
     
  18. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    ... In other parks with significant Grizzly populations, yes. Black Bears? No. But it looks like Great Smoky Mountains allows backcountry use. The only reason I can think of for that is " More Bears, Less Knuckleheads"
    If you change the rule to allow people to carry bear spray in the backcountry in Yosemite, you will have campgrounds full of bear spraying knuckleheads. No thanks. I have had plenty of bear encounters up there, campground and backcountry, and I have never needed bear spray.

    Greg
     
  19. BajaPup

    BajaPup New Member

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    Those will be comforting words if I ever need bear spray, but don't have it.

    Are there currently "campgrounds full of bear spraying knuckleheads" in parks that allow carrying bear spray? If so, I haven't seen or heard of it. I'm happy that you haven't been involved in a bear attack, but I won't travel in bear country without some form of defense. As I said, I don't spend time in campgrounds, and I have to deal with whatever comes my way, with no rangers nearby to save me. While I practice good bear safety while on multi-day backpacking trips, I also know that bad things can always happen.
     
  20. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    Yosemite's proximity to major population centers, plus the fact that 99% of the visitors are concentrated into 1% of the park, plus California having a greater percentage of knuckleheads, makes it a little different.

    Greg
     

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