Questions about bears, either black, polar, or brown (possibly also: panda)

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26
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6answers
1k views

What precautions should I take to protect myself and my camp from bears?

Most of my prior hiking experience has been in areas that are not home to bears, so what precautions should I take to protect my camp (and myself as I am hiking) from bears. I am aware of a couple of ...
26
votes
5answers
7k views

Does hiking with a dog in bear country increase or decrease your risk of a bear encounter?

I've heard various rumors that dogs might help keep bears away, or might be a bear attractant. Is there anything more concrete than anecdotal evidence to go on? From the companionship end, they are a ...
25
votes
5answers
1k views

Do bear-safe rules still apply in the winter?

I understand, and practice, bear-safe rules like hanging (or canister-ing) during summer months, but what about in the winter when bears are (theoretically) hibernating, and the shorter / colder days ...
23
votes
2answers
694 views

If I cross paths with a bear, what should I do?

If I'm out hiking, and I come around a corner and stumble upon a bear, what's the best course of action to take to minimize the chance the bear will act aggressively? Do different types of bear ...
15
votes
4answers
9k views

Can I shoot a bear in self-defense?

Can I shoot a bear in self-defense? Will I face fines and jail time if I do?
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Will a tent provide some protection from bears?

When camping in a bear country, will a tent provide an additional protection from bears, as opposed to just sleeping outside or in a hammock? Provided I take the usual precautions of keeping any ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Should I be worried about bears when sleeping in a hammock?

I'm going on a multi day backpacking trip and I am planning on taking only a backpacking hammock instead of a tent. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine he jokingly referred to me as a bear ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

What do I do if a black bear is right outside my tent?

Even if I was to follow the advice of letting bears know I am in the area, keeping my cooking and anything that smells at least 100m from my camp & downwind, etc, suppose a bear finds my tent and ...
14
votes
3answers
623 views

How safe is sleeping in bear country?

We have recently hiked in Slovakian mountains where bears live. I’m not too concerned about the bears during the day, as we make enough noise to avoid an encounter. But I am not sure about sleeping ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

How to store a backpack while sleeping?

During a recent backpacking trip, we hung the bear bag and got ready to set in for the night and I realized I wasn't sure what I should do with my backpack. Technically the backpack was carrying the ...
13
votes
3answers
370 views

Black bears and torch lights

I am hiking in black bear country (no other kinds of bears there). It's dark, I have a whistle hanging around my neck to scare away such a potential bear and I'm using my torch light to be able to see ...
13
votes
3answers
265 views

What are the critical dimensions to a safe bear-bag?

Many outdoor areas that have bears have bear bag-lines setup for hikers. In situations where the bear-bag line is not there or it is full, what dimensions should I keep in mind to protect my goodies ...
13
votes
3answers
505 views

Bear bags vs Bear canisters: which is better?

Most people I know and myself store food in bear bags. However, I have heard that some parks have banned bear bags and require canisters. I've also heard there is a bear in New York that has figured ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Do kevlar sacks work against bears?

We ran into a hiker on the AT last year using a kevlar back to keep out bears and rodents. He said the product was an Ursack and seemed very happy with it. However he'd never had a bear try to get ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Is bear spray effective against other animals?

Is bear spray (pepper spray specially formulated to be effective against bear attacks) effective against other animals, especially mountain lions or wolves? Or is there something in it specifically ...
11
votes
2answers
133 views

Running in bear country

I am an avid runner. I will be visiting British Columbia for the first time, soon. My trip will include a few weeks in the Rocky Mountains (Glacier, Banff, Yoho) and north of the Sushwap Lake. At ...
10
votes
3answers
854 views

Are bears attracted by Lotions and Perfumes?

Bears are mostly attracted by smell of food. That is why we are supposed to keep the food items in airtight and sealed packs or preferably finish up all the food (cooking and consuming) far away from ...
10
votes
2answers
202 views

Encountering a bear in water?

I found myself in a situation the other day that I've never been in before. I was paddling along in my canoe with my wife and kids, when suddenly a young black bear came scrambling down the slope, ...
10
votes
1answer
163 views

What are the best methods for hanging food in a tree?

My friends and I are planning our first backpacking trip and the date is less than a month away. We just have a couple of loose ends to finish up on. We were wondering what the best method to tie ...
10
votes
1answer
149 views

How far away should I hang my food with dry bag?

I intend to use a dry bag as a bear-bag to store my food while camping and I was going to hang it. I had read in another post that a dry bag would not limit the bear's sense of smell as a bear bag ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Does having sex in the back-country attract bears or other critters?

As stated in the title: is there any evidence that the hormones etc that the body produces during intercourse increases one's likelihood of encountering a bear in the back-country?
10
votes
2answers
889 views

Bear spray vs. rifles against polar bears?

In Svalbard, the arctic archipelago administrated by Norway, anyone leaving Longyearbyen is required to carry a rifle for their own safey. For grizzly bears, Wikivoyage recommends that Bear repellent ...
9
votes
1answer
674 views

Can bears smell empty beer bottles?

Sometimes I camp with people who pass out drinking beer and don't bother to clean up their trash before they go to bed. Since we are in black bear country, I was wondering if empty beer bottles can ...
9
votes
1answer
178 views

Are bears more attracted to menstruating females?

People have speculated that women hiking in bear country during their menstrual cycle might increase their chances of a bear encounter. Is this true? What can be done to minimize risk? Related ...
9
votes
1answer
116 views

Are there significant behaviour differences among bear species to adopt different safety rules?

Living the north-east part of America, my chances of encountering a grizzly bear is very low. I have greater chances of meeting a black bear. If I got the chance of meeting a grizzly, should I change ...
8
votes
3answers
691 views

Do I need to hang a bear cache?

I am considering to get Garcia Machine Backpacker's Cache. According to MEC user reviews, this is the only cache approved in the Adirondack Mountains. Canadian parks, and other places as well, ...
8
votes
2answers
735 views

Could smoking pipe tobacco or a cigar attract bears and/or other wildlife?

Bears and other wildlife are attracted to unusual scents, especially anything that could potentially be mistaken as food, such as often-sweet-smelling, aromatic pipe tobacco or cigars. However, you're ...
8
votes
1answer
483 views

What are the proper precautions/protocols for storing food while car camping in an area with bears?

Anyone with experience in bear-populated areas, what's the best way to store food when your on the move with a car? Are some foods better than others? Wondering specifically about black bears in ...
7
votes
1answer
53 views

Is any subspecies of black bear more — or less — aggressive than another?

There are 16 subspecies of Ursus americanus, the black bear. The Wikipedia article describes their different physical characteristics and geographical distributions, but not differences in ...
6
votes
2answers
208 views

Can bears smell food inside dry sacks?

I like to do long hikes in black bear country. I don't really go on multiday trekking trips, just day trips but often need to bring food along. I know that backpackers often keep their food in bear ...
6
votes
2answers
162 views

What to do when a black bear got a hold of an open bear can?

When an adult black bear without cubs in sight got a hold of an open bear-can, is it advisable to try to scare him/her away (with noise, or by approaching him/her as a group?) I am asking both for ...
6
votes
4answers
177 views

US vs central European bear advice

I was just reading through a couple of posts here on outdoors.SE and saw some advice which was a lot more strict than I am used to. For example, in the country where I hike (central europe, brown ...
6
votes
2answers
41 views

What are wildlife hazards/precautions near the treeline at 8200ft on Hearst Lake in Montana?

I want to drive to Hearst Lake (map here) and explore the area on foot, but I am unsure what wildlife precautions I should take at a high altitude. Do grizzly, black bears, mountain lions, elk have a ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Should food be in a bear bag/canister even when I'm hiking?

I've read that in the western US, backpackers need bear canisters or bear bags, for bears or for other animals. For example, a post comparing different methods is here. I must admit I'm a bit ...
5
votes
2answers
208 views

Where to store non-food related trash in bear territory?

I know I am supposed to put food-related trash inside my bear canister. Should I also put used female hygiene products and ziplock bags holding used toilet paper inside my bear canister over night? ...
5
votes
3answers
100 views

Can I use a tent in bear country, if I ate food in it over a year ago?

In bear country, we are told, never eat food in your tent. I no longer live in bear country but I may return in the future. If I eat food in my tent now, does that mean that, from a bear's point of ...
5
votes
1answer
69 views

Is a mother bear more defensive during early summer compared to late summer and autumn?

According to the Wikipedia page on Grizzly Bears, Mothers defending their cubs are the most prone to attacking, being responsible for 70% of fatal injuries to humans. Is there any seasonal ...
3
votes
1answer
448 views

How effective are pen launcher bear bangers compared to bearspray?

So pen launcher bear bangers have apparently been around for quite a while, the training video for Truflare looks like something from out of the 90's, but they don't appear to be very popular, and I ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Trail gun for protection against bears

Choosing a trail gun is proving more challenging than I would like. What handgun calibres are powerful enough to provide some protection against aggressive bears? I want something manageable ...
1
vote
3answers
118 views

Is it safe to cook food during a hike (on trail) when bears are possibly around?

I'm going to the Rockies (trails in Jasper and Banff). Would it be safe for me to cook food while on the trail? Won't bears be attracted towards the smell of the food?
1
vote
1answer
157 views

May camping with a tarp be safer than using a tent, in bear country? [duplicate]

I just read this question about bears and tents and according to the answers, if you ever have to use a bear spray, you have to do so outside of your tent (quite reasonably). I am wondering if ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

What should I do if I meet a wild bear in the forest? [duplicate]

What should I do if I meet a wild bear in the forest? Should I run; fight for my life; climb a tree; or do nothing?
1
vote
0answers
30 views

How to handle grizzly bear encounters [duplicate]

My friends and I are traveling the North Country Trail in Michigan's Upper Peninsula this August. Even though odds are small, we could encounter a grizzly bear. This is something none of us have ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

What safety precautions should I take when hiking in an area with bears? [duplicate]

I am planning a hike on the Appalachian Trail. I have never hiked in an area with bears. What safety precautions should I take to avoid them (or for them to avoid me) and what should I do if I ...