Eating in popup bear country

Discussion in 'Camping Around Wildlife' started by Mtlangst, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. flingwing1969

    flingwing1969 Active Member

    Likes Received:
    Jul 6, 2013
    California Cascade Range
    This photo was taken in a friend's carport a couple of miles from my house. He and his wife were leaving for a day of photography early in the morning so they packed a sack lunch for the day and put it in the locked car before they went to bed. This is what they found the next morning - and no sack lunch. This is black bear only country. If a bear wants your food and it is in your car or your camper, he/she WILL get it.
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    Likes Received:
    May 28, 2018
    Bears learn from experience. As with Yogi Bear, they learn that a pik-a-nik basket means food. In most areas, they have learned that a cooler means food, so they will check it out whether they smell anything or not. If they see a cooler, they figure it's worth checking it out.

    In some areas, bears have connected cars with food. Even if they don't smell food, they will check out a car. A friend had a bear climb into her car while she was in the cabin in Lake Tahoe. The door shut with the bear inside and it totalled the car trying to get out. When she called the rangers, they all stood watching the bear saying "I'm not going to open the car door". There was no food in her car and she never allowed people to eat in it.

    In most areas, bears have not connected campers to food. They don't see a camper and think "oh there will be food in there, let me go check". However, with a tent or popup, there is a lot of absorbent material (eg, canvas) that can hold in odors. So the smell may attract a bear. Keeping food in the popup fridge is usually OK.*

    *Yosemite has issues with bears. They require that you store ALL food in a vehicle or the bear box. That includes toothpaste, shampoos, etc. Hard sided campers are OK for storing food.

    Other places are not that strict and as long as you keep the food out of sight, you are fine.

    When in doubt, call and ask the rangers right before your trip. They will tell you if there are any problem bears in the area and what you need to do to stay safe.

    Bears will wander looking for convenience foods. So they may wander through a campground during the night looking and smelling out food. A single empty juice box can attract them into your site. ALWAYS keep your camp clean. Use smaller trash bags and put them in the dumpster after every meal - don't leave it outside for the day.

Share This Page