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

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18
votes
4answers
15k 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?
20
votes
3answers
4k 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 taco....
19
votes
5answers
10k 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 food,...
4
votes
2answers
230 views

Hunting bears with a knife?

Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne (1876) describes how Siberian hunters used to hunt bears with nothing but a knife. This was ideally done with a single lethal blow, to damage the fur as little as ...
13
votes
4answers
684 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
475 views

How to retrieve a bear bag when hung with Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) method

This site has a good explanation for how to hang a bag PCT style. This may seem obvious but, once the bag is suspended with this method, how do you get it down? Short description of the PCT method ...
11
votes
3answers
224 views

How can the attitude that one is a guest in black bear country prevent hassles with bears?

A traveller to a country with different customs is well advised to read up on the customs of the people of that country, and to learn how the residents expect polite people to behave. Everywhere, ...
2
votes
1answer
245 views

How to kill a bear with a bow?

I'd like to know which kind of arrow would slow down or kill a bear, which vital spots should I aim at, which kind of bow should do the job, more specifically, against black and grizzly bears? "What ...
21
votes
5answers
6k views

Will Black Bears actually follow you up a tree

I always see it pointed out, when discussing how to handle/avoid bear encounters, that black bears can climb trees. Granted, but does that matter? Has there ever been a case of a black bear pursuing ...
9
votes
2answers
151 views

Can Grizzlies climb trees?

I continue year of the bear with more trees. Can grizzly bears climb trees?
26
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

What should I do when in an unintentional contact with a bear? [duplicate]

Let's say I'm camping and I slept close to a river (50ft) and when I woke up a bear was searching through my stuff, what should I do to avoid him? What to do if it notices me? And last but not least, ...
9
votes
1answer
156 views

How effective is wasp spray on bears?

I've been hearing that a lot of people are recommending wasp spray as a bear repellant. Proponents argue it has a longer range, and is more accurate to aim. How effective is wasp spray as a bear ...
10
votes
3answers
245 views

Proper food storage against black bears on a LONG (e.g., 14 days) trip, partly in black bear country? (enough bear canisters not practical)

This question is prompted by the replies to Questions about specifics of black bear encounter with mother and yearling cub. That question was about an encounter over 30 years ago, before the era of ...
6
votes
1answer
155 views

How safe is it with Grizzly bears when hiking in the Rockies near Calgary, Alberta?

I am attending a conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and afterwards I am considering going for a 3-day hike somewhere around Turbine Canyon[1], 3-isle[2] or Aster Lake[3] in the Rockies. How safe ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

Questions about specifics of black bear encounter with mother and yearling cub

I hope the bear experts on the site can shed light on several aspects of a black bear encounter my husband and I had some years ago in the Sierra. It was mid-May, about 9500 feet, well above timber ...
15
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
29
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
367 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, ...
1
vote
0answers
37 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?
16
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
222 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
31 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
199 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?
6
votes
2answers
47 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
155 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
217 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
1k 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 (...
2
votes
0answers
38 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
333 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
433 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
333 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
382 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
892 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, ...
25
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k 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
810 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
94 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
279 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? ...
7
votes
2answers
218 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 ...
15
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
867 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
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?