Camping while hunting, Are Tents Still Safe?


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Alaska444
September 22, 2012, 11:47 PM
An interesting bear attack happened in Montana this week in the Bob Marshall Wilderness area. The man was attacked at 7:30 am in his tent. The bear, a young black bear jumped on his tent and then ripped it open.

He was able to abort the attack temporarily with bear spray, but the bear returned after his bear spray was gone. Fortunately, a man came by and scared the bear away. Later, the bear was shot and killed only a short distance from the tent.

http://www.examiner.com/article/predatory-black-bear-attack-shows-need-for-guns

With the bear attacks last year near Yellowstone, is bear behavior changing where they are no longer fearful of the scent of man or their campsites? This attack is now considered a predatory black bear attack. Is it safe to use tents when hunting in bear country any longer especially if alone or with only one partner?

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Robert
September 23, 2012, 12:34 AM
I camp in a tent, hunting or not, all the time in bear coutry. There is little country in CO that does not have bears. I have even been awakened by one sniffing around and scared him off. But I will not lose any sleep worrying about it. It is really a non issue for me.

Double Naught Spy
September 23, 2012, 06:01 AM
Bears have never been afraid of people, so the dichotomy is overly simplified and unrealistic. Bears tend to avoid trouble, but that does not equate with being afraid of people. The notion that the animal kingdom recognizes humans as the scariest animal on earth is a feel good notion we tell ourselves to make us feel safe from the scary animals of the forest and dale.

The problem is that the humans fail to be wary of the animals, not the other way around. If you are going to keep food items in your camp, then you should not be surprised when a bear comes into your camp for dinner.
http://www.ktvq.com/news/more-details-of-bob-marshall-bear-attack-released/

Are tents no longer safe? Only in the sense that between the 1800s and 2013, tents have generally gone from 8-16 lb fairly heavy canvas to super thin and lightweight polymers and heavy wooden and steel tent supports to lightweight aluminum poles, metal spring bands, and polymer struts for supports.

The bears in the woods haven't changed, but we put more people into the woods every year, people who haven't a clue as to what they are doing. Heck, in the last few years there have even been attacks in areas where people were WARNED about aggressive bear(s) in the area and they blew off the warnings and proceeded into the areas anyway, either alone, unarmed, or underarmed. You can't fix stupid. The Bob Marshall incident is a clear example.

jmr40
September 23, 2012, 06:24 AM
There are still more killed by agressive deer than bear.

Sav .250
September 23, 2012, 08:30 AM
A concern? Sure. Safe....yes.

j1
September 23, 2012, 09:00 AM
What do you mean by the question? Tents are no different than they were years ago. Do they give protection from bears is a different question and the answer is obvious.

My wife understood why there was to be no food in our tent, ever. Drop just one little piece of chocolate on the tent floor and it will be ground in and smell forever. Never eat in a tent which you sleep in.

hogshead
September 23, 2012, 09:06 AM
Didnt vote. I dont think tents were ever safe in bear country . If by safe you mean bear proof.

outboard
September 23, 2012, 09:49 AM
You likely have a greater exposure to risk on your drive to your chosen camping destination than you do in the forest, if you use a little common sense. Unfortunately LOTS of people forgo the use of (un)common sense and display an absolute disrespect for the outdoors, wildlife and other people by leaving campsites littered with trash while they are there and when they leave. I live 15 minutes from both a National Forest and a State Forest. I'm usually up there once a week looking for grouse to put in the pot, and rarely leave without filling a large bag with other peoples garbage:fire:. Once bears begin associating humans with food they are no longer wild, becoming increasingly problematic and over time dangerous. The slobs continue to increase the risk of bear attack for the rest of us. The more distance between you and heavy use areas (read: other people) the less likely you are to encounter a dangerous black bear.
Select your camp site well, keep a clean camp (familiarize yourself with rules for camping in bear country), bring your dog and a .357 if you feel the need. Also, please help out by cleaning up after the <insert expletive here> people who are unable to see the obvious consequences for trashing our public lands.

kgpcr
September 23, 2012, 09:56 AM
I grew up and lived in bear country all my life. I have zero fear of them but do respect them. The odds are about the same as winning the lottery as getting attacked in a tent. Now in Alaska i sleep with my .454 close by but again not a huge fear.

buck460XVR
September 23, 2012, 11:08 AM
I grew up and lived in bear country all my life. I have zero fear of them but do respect them.

Same here. As a kid my folks and us 7 kids regularly camped in a large tent in bear country. Many times in was in the National Forests of Northern Wisconsin. Back then they had no "bear proof" dumpsters, just a garbage can strapped to a post by your campsite. We along with most others at those campsites lived on the fish we caught there. Bears rummaging thru the campground and the garbage cans lookin for fish guts and other goodies was a nitely ritual. If you woke up in the middle of the night and had to use the outhouse, you best make some noise on the way there. I remember the night we had grilled chicken for supper and gave the left over bones to our family dog under the picnic table. We spent the majority of that night watching two bears finishing them off under the picnic table....not 20 feet away. Been bow huntin' since I was 13. 45 years of walkin' in and outta bear woods, in the dark. I have yet to feel the need for a sidearm, altho all the bear threads in hunting forums say they are a necessity. I got a few years left, they might still get me.

X-Rap
September 23, 2012, 12:33 PM
I have been known to sleep out in the woods without even a tent at times so I'm sure that they are as safe as ever. I can't agree with all DNS put in his response, I do believe that bears have become more acclimated to humans and as the management options for controlling large predators has decreased so have their numbers and the boldness of their actions. We human are ever encroaching but when hunting with dogs and other methods were used the bears had a stronger reaction to the sent and presence of humans whereas now in Colorado for instance our state wildlife agency kills dozens if not hundreds of bears a year that have lived their whole lives without the pressure of hunting dogs and liberal baiting regulations. Instead they have been raised to think of people as a source of food and frequently move into valley communities. The pervasive anti hunting sentiment coupled with Bambi, Poo Bear syndrome and the idea that the state is "handling" the problem doesn't help either.
I prefer to camp with a dog around and belive that one trained properly will put up enough growl and bark but not chase to keep both 2&4 legged prowlers away from camp. I have since lost my dog but when he was alive it was not uncommon for him to sit or lie next to my bag and he seemed awake and alert when ever I woke during the night. I never felt the least vulnerable at night with him in camp.

ApacheCoTodd
September 23, 2012, 12:41 PM
I'd assume he's another yahoo breaking one of the cardinal rules of operating in any bear country and in this case, my guess would be food control.

grubbylabs
September 23, 2012, 01:20 PM
I do hunt and camp in bear country. I have never had a run in with a bear however, I do keep a clean camp.

I am not sure I would feel as secure if I were camping in an area heavily populated by coastal browns.

I think your questions are biased and serve no real purpose to find any real information. In a sense they are loaded, you either have to agree with one extreme or the other.

rodinal220
September 23, 2012, 01:56 PM
Don't know the particulars here but one thing is to keep a tidy camp and DO NOT eat in your tent or shelter. I learned a lot about bears from DR. Charles Jonkel(Griz).Most bear man encounters that go pear shaped involve black bears,just more of them and they have a wide range across the USA.
I really do not trust OC for two or four legs and prefer PB.

MCgunner
September 23, 2012, 02:18 PM
Store your food in a tree on a rope. Don't take any jerky to bed. :D

WardenWolf
September 23, 2012, 02:21 PM
+1, MCgunner. That's an old-fashioned way of doing it. Otherwise make sure it's fully sealed in Ziploc bags or another fairly airtight container (or better yet, both) and locked in your vehicle. Rubbermaid totes work well for that. If you must store your food container on the ground, make sure it's well-clear of your tent. Be sure to at least tie your trash bags in a high tree at night, though.

Another aspect to consider: bring enough tent. If you have to sleep right up against the side of your tent, you're going to be screwed in the remote chance a bear does attack. You're probably also not going to be very comfortable and will have to store much of your gear outside.

Alaska444
September 23, 2012, 04:15 PM
I have been known to sleep out in the woods without even a tent at times so I'm sure that they are as safe as ever. I can't agree with all DNS put in his response, I do believe that bears have become more acclimated to humans and as the management options for controlling large predators has decreased so have their numbers and the boldness of their actions. We human are ever encroaching but when hunting with dogs and other methods were used the bears had a stronger reaction to the sent and presence of humans whereas now in Colorado for instance our state wildlife agency kills dozens if not hundreds of bears a year that have lived their whole lives without the pressure of hunting dogs and liberal baiting regulations. Instead they have been raised to think of people as a source of food and frequently move into valley communities. The pervasive anti hunting sentiment coupled with Bambi, Poo Bear syndrome and the idea that the state is "handling" the problem doesn't help either.
I prefer to camp with a dog around and belive that one trained properly will put up enough growl and bark but not chase to keep both 2&4 legged prowlers away from camp. I have since lost my dog but when he was alive it was not uncommon for him to sit or lie next to my bag and he seemed awake and alert when ever I woke during the night. I never felt the least vulnerable at night with him in camp.
+1, that is my take on the entire issue. When I was three years old, my dad took our family camping/hunting near Fairbanks AK with one of his friends. In the early morning hours, a black bear rubbed up against our tent with his paw right near my dad's head. He shouted which woke me up. I still remember the outline of a bear standing upright sideways to me.

He got up, grabbed his .410 single shot shotgun and went outside to see where the bear was. It came back towards him and he wisely shot the shotgun in the air. That was back in 1961. The culprit was the friend who left his rabbits from that day out on the picnic table. Food control in bear country is the name of the game.

However, my questions predispose whether bear behavior has changed and I believe that the answer is yes, because people have changed their behavior in the last 50 years. We lived at the top of O'Malley road in Anchorage and NEVER saw any griz or black bear in our area despite the fact we were in true wilderness area with only a few homes in that area and miles and miles of woods behind our house. Yet today, bear attacks within Anchorage city limits only a couple of miles from where I grew up are quite common today.

Beside the obvious increase in human population, there is also a much different tolerance of bears than we had 50 years ago. I don't believe I am alone in the observation that bears have changed their behavior to accommodate the new human tolerance of their presence.

Alaska444
September 23, 2012, 04:20 PM
What do you mean by the question? Tents are no different than they were years ago. Do they give protection from bears is a different question and the answer is obvious.

My wife understood why there was to be no food in our tent, ever. Drop just one little piece of chocolate on the tent floor and it will be ground in and smell forever. Never eat in a tent which you sleep in.
Actually, tents are different than they were years ago. The most important difference is the self contained floor now the standard of any small "pup" tent. This makes a tent a self contained straight jacket if the bear attacks.

The old days that I remember were tents of that size with no floor. If the tent comes down, and the bear pulls it away, you don't go with it. Folks, there is actually more to my questions than may be evident. In fact, many bear experts today advise tents with no floor in bear country.

Double Naught Spy
September 23, 2012, 04:24 PM
Otherwise make sure it's fully sealed in Ziploc bags or another fairly airtight container (or better yet, both) and locked in your vehicle. Rubbermaid totes work well for that.

Ziploc bags do not seal in smells and are NOT air tight. They are for the purposes of quick dehyration, but molecules that can be smelled are smaller than air and water molecules. As such, they do NOT prevent smells from escaping.

Locked in your vehicle? Why lock it? The bears just push in the windows until they snap fracture and crawl inside. Or the pry the doors open.
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/bears.htm
http://www.nps.gov/seki/photosmultimedia/Public-Information-Office-Gallery.htm
http://storiesfromhome.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/moving-day-and-a-bear-sighting/

In short, your car is not a good substitute for bear locker/box, not unless you can hang it from a tree. http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/bears_camping.htm

How about that Rubbermaid tote? Check out the very first image. That bear is enjoying the yummies inside that tote, huh? Plastic isn't a challenge for a bear and won't hide smells.

Check out the videos here...
http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-zoo-advice-bears-repeating-dont-invite-them-to-your-campsite-642967/
http://www.wgrz.com/video/1716053419001/1/Bears-ransack-evacuated-summer-camp
This guy had sandwiches in ziplock bags!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxDsG2Hk6hw

Sorry, many of your food storage suggestions are REALLY BAD.

Alaska444
September 23, 2012, 05:12 PM
Don't know the particulars here but one thing is to keep a tidy camp and DO NOT eat in your tent or shelter. I learned a lot about bears from DR. Charles Jonkel(Griz).Most bear man encounters that go pear shaped involve black bears,just more of them and they have a wide range across the USA.
I don't really trust OC for two or four legs and prefer PB.
Dr. Jonkel has had an incredible career of great duration and I understand he is the only bear researcher from a generation ago still active in his research. The story I listed is an interesting one to study on bear spray with black bears. As noted in many cases, the black bear may be driven away with the bear spray initially, but they will often come back.

Predatory black bear encounters by some accounts are becoming more common and increasing which relates to the initial question, are tents safe in bear country. With a growing black bear population that has doubled in the last couple of decades in the lower 48, rising predatory bear encounters does pose the question of whether tent camping is a safe endeavor in bear country any longer.

We never thought of bears when we went out camping in the woods in Maine when I was a teenager. It was true that they were more afraid of us than we were of them and we never had any encounters despite camping in remote areas all the time. I am no longer certain that is a sure thing any longer.

I was talking to a friend of mine here in Northern Idaho and he has killed dozens of black bears in his years as a rancher. He no longer will camp in a tent ever because it is his opinion that they have changed their behavior. Yet when he was a kid, that was never a concern of his. He would often camp alone in remote areas of Idaho and bear encounters were never an issue. I believe his observations are quite valid and evidenced by rising numbers of bear attacks especially in the last 10 years.

For those that are continuing to camp in tents, bear electric fences may be a necessary component of safe tent camping.

06
September 23, 2012, 05:21 PM
IMO food control is the key. In highly camped areas bears have gotten much smarter at retrieving bear bags suspended in trees. They just find the rope and drop your goodies. Best way is two ropes-one horizontal and the other tied off as far as possible and high as you can reach. There are rogue bears just like rogue people. They may be wounded, excited, or just starving and you look like a well padded cheeseburger--lol. My back packing tent has double foyers and are sealed with velcro. If not penned in I can escape easily from either end. A buddy left part of a "Bit-O-Honey" candy bar in his back pack pocket. Next morning the pocket had four "nice" rips in it and paper to pick up. Keep all food out of camp and clean up all scraps/bits to bury or include in the bear bag.

X-Rap
September 23, 2012, 11:04 PM
Bears have a very keen sense of smell and they can smell the fish guts you wiped on your pants, the horrid belches from yesterdays burrito beside we smell like food. Bears have come to associate our scent with that of food and around here they have entered peoples kitchens, drank the beer from their garage refrigerator, killed their pets and slept it off within a stones throw of the side walk kids use to get to school. There are times of the year when I won't leave the sliding door on my decks open so I'm sure tents sleeping bags, and soft sided campers will increasingly be torn up by bears trying to reach the contents.

paintballdude902
September 23, 2012, 11:40 PM
there is nothing practical that is bear safe.... unless u want to build a log cabin with no windows and door with multiple locks u wont be truly safe.


use a tent and if you are worried get one of the portable electric fences

Alaska444
September 25, 2012, 08:29 PM
there is nothing practical that is bear safe.... unless u want to build a log cabin with no windows and door with multiple locks u wont be truly safe.


use a tent and if you are worried get one of the portable electric fences
Actually, there are several safe practices that dramatically lower risk. Safety in numbers, safety in high visibility areas, safety with bear spray, safety with firearms, safety with camp hygiene just to name a few.

Even a log cabin is not a complete safety measure as many folks find out when they return in the spring. No, nothing is completely safe, but indeed, lot's of things you can and should do. However, camping in a tent by yourself is probably not on that list any longer given what many consider significant changes in bear behavior.

H&Hhunter
September 25, 2012, 08:42 PM
TENTS IN BEAR country!!! ARE you INSANE.

I sleep outside naked, but only after I roll in a gut pile. Safety first you know!

22-rimfire
September 25, 2012, 09:15 PM
So you are proposing that overall bear behavior (blacks) is becoming more hostile toward humans?

I tend to agree in a general sense. I just don't know the solution. I guess this means that I always will have a gun with me in bear woods. I agree with your preventative measures. I just don't think they are practical to implement for most people as bears are very common in camp grounds even in National Parks.

Alaska444
September 25, 2012, 09:28 PM
So you are proposing that overall bear behavior (blacks) is becoming more hostile toward humans?

I tend to agree in a general sense. I just don't know the solution. I guess this means that I always will have a gun with me in bear woods. I agree with your preventative measures. I just don't think they are practical to implement for most people as bears are very common in camp grounds even in National Parks.
National parks are probably the most problematic places for bear encounters due to acclimation to people, no hunting and people feeding them even when they are not supposed to. However, you can still practice bear safe techniques in these place and are in fact encouraged to do so.

However, given the choice, it is a hard sided trailer or RV way before a tent. Many of my friends here in Idaho feel the same way at this point. That has to be the first and best choice when you camp in bear country anymore. Obviously, that is not an option when out in the boonies on hiking trails. In that case, it's best to have enough folks in the party to serve as a deterrent as well as electric fences and some sort of warning system should the bear come close to camp. Pepper spray and firearms complement each other.

BullFrawg
September 25, 2012, 09:29 PM
Lots of us camp in bear country without a tent! I don't worry, but I've never been in grizzly country.

X-Rap
September 26, 2012, 10:32 AM
I still vote for a good dog, if one thinks of human sd in a crowded public place is hazardous just imagine the dangers involved with a large wild animal in the middle of a camp full of humans in which half of them are armed in the dark not to mention the victim possibly wrapped up in a tent or sleeping bag.
As unpleasant as it may seem the best answer during a mauling might be making contact with the bear and then pulling the trigger. I don't have a safe answer to the one being mauled trying to shoot the bear off them if they are the armed one and others are in camp.
I don't dwell on being jumped by a bear in my sleep but when I do think about it it is not a happy thing.

22-rimfire
September 26, 2012, 12:11 PM
I think the increase in black bear populations is and will continue to be an increasing safety issue with humans in the Lower 48. Camping with a hard surfaced trailer/RV is rather limiting for the masses. Wish I owned one. Tents are fairly inexpensive. Maybe the days of toting a 22 handgun in a bear woods may be over unless it is for small game hunting and plinking?

But then, we face life threatening danger in some form every day of our lives. The odds are still pretty low that you will have a dangerous black bear encounter. But if you go into woods that you know has a good population of bear, I think I would leave the 22 at home.

Alaska444
September 26, 2012, 06:23 PM
I think the increase in black bear populations is and will continue to be an increasing safety issue with humans in the Lower 48. Camping with a hard surfaced trailer/RV is rather limiting for the masses. Wish I owned one. Tents are fairly inexpensive. Maybe the days of toting a 22 handgun in a bear woods may be over unless it is for small game hunting and plinking?

But then, we face life threatening danger in some form every day of our lives. The odds are still pretty low that you will have a dangerous black bear encounter. But if you go into woods that you know has a good population of bear, I think I would leave the 22 at home.
That really is a big part of the equation. The growing population of black bears is even encroaching upon urban areas as folks in Ohio and even in New Jersey can testify.

Black bear populations are growing throughout the nation. Some states have responded by expanding hunting. Florida removed black bears from its endangered species list in June because their numbers have grown to more than 3,000.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/09/black_bear_encounters_likely_t.html

jmr40
September 26, 2012, 06:47 PM
I you are concerned about a bear breaking into your tent, stay home. If they want in they can get into a hard sided camper, car or home too. Just might take a little longer.

http://www.google.com/search?q=bears+breaking+into+cars&hl=en&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4TSND_en___US464&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=WIVjUJz-A7G30AHG_oHIDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=533

ZeroJunk
September 26, 2012, 06:53 PM
Bears have never been afraid of people, so the dichotomy is overly simplified and unrealistic. Bears tend to avoid trouble, but that does not equate with being afraid of people. The notion that the animal kingdom recognizes humans as the scariest animal on earth is a feel good notion we tell ourselves to make us feel safe from the scary animals of the forest and dale.

The problem is that the humans fail to be wary of the animals, not the other way around. If you are going to keep food items in your camp, then you should not be surprised when a bear comes into your camp for dinner.
http://www.ktvq.com/news/more-details-of-bob-marshall-bear-attack-released/

Are tents no longer safe? Only in the sense that between the 1800s and 2013, tents have generally gone from 8-16 lb fairly heavy canvas to super thin and lightweight polymers and heavy wooden and steel tent supports to lightweight aluminum poles, metal spring bands, and polymer struts for supports.

The bears in the woods haven't changed, but we put more people into the woods every year, people who haven't a clue as to what they are doing. Heck, in the last few years there have even been attacks in areas where people were WARNED about aggressive bear(s) in the area and they blew off the warnings and proceeded into the areas anyway, either alone, unarmed, or underarmed. You can't fix stupid. The Bob Marshall incident is a clear example.
Even ducks and geese know when they are being hunted or not.

I find it a little hard to believe that grizzlys haven't noticed that they are not being shot anymore.

Alaska444
September 26, 2012, 06:58 PM
I you are concerned about a bear breaking into your tent, stay home. If they want in they can get into a hard sided camper, car or home too. Just might take a little longer.

http://www.google.com/search?q=bears+breaking+into+cars&hl=en&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4TSND_en___US464&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=WIVjUJz-A7G30AHG_oHIDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=533
Stay home!!, not an option for me. Just looking at the reality of the growing bear population and apparent change in behavior from a few decades ago. Sorry, lots of folks rightly understand it is a real issue.

Beware of Predatory Male American Black Bears: Attack Rates Are Rising With Human Population Growth

ScienceDaily (May 11, 2011) — Fatal encounters with black bears have been exceedingly rare during the last century, but appear to be mainly the result of predatory male bears targeting humans in their wilderness home ranges, according to a new study led by the world's leading expert on bear attacks.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110511074807.htm

Since the OP listed one more predatory black bear attack, I believe the question is not only timely but sensible to consider.

Alaska444
September 26, 2012, 07:16 PM
Even ducks and geese know when they are being hunted or not.

I find it a little hard to believe that grizzlys haven't noticed that they are not being shot anymore.
+1, take a look at the bear management strategies inside the Anchorage AK city limits for instance. They were not allowed to hunt up until recently in the Chugach state park abutting the city.

"Chugach State Park is a bear factory. It pumps out bears every year," said Rick Sinnott, the area biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
When those bears are hungry, they come into the city to feed on salmon in its many creeks and streams, and Sinnott said that is not likely to change.
"They are going to be cheek to jowl with us forever," he said.
Sinnott said efforts are being made to expand the hunting of bears in Chugach. The state park was off limits to hunting grizzlies for 30 years. Last year, three permits were issued but hunters were unsuccessful.
Killing all the bears is not a consideration, Sinnott said.
"It is a state park. People that use the state park, they want to see bears there," he said.


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,405081,00.html#ixzz27cVNNKuy

A quick look at the proximity of Anchorage to an essentially no hunting zone explains much of the increased bear attacks in Anchorage. It was not at all an issue growing up at the top of O'Malley Road back in the 1960's for us. The change in bear behavior comes from "The state park was off limits to hunting grizzlies for 30 years." Not sure why folks can't put the proximity of the bears and the change in our behavior as to why Anchorage is now a fairly dangerous urban setting. We created the mess ourself.

Alaska444
September 26, 2012, 07:29 PM
Chugach State Park surrounds the Anchorage area and the Fish and Game folks in Anchorage preach tolerance of bears. Too bad, they don't teach that to the bears!!

788Ham
September 26, 2012, 09:06 PM
He's camping up in "The Bob" without a gun? Thats his first mistake! Lucky it was a blackie, if it was a grizzly, he'd be another statistic! My wife's cousin lives up in that part of the country, he said he never leaves the house without his .416 on his shoulder, seen too many "friendly" bears get too close.

jmr40
September 27, 2012, 12:00 AM
Stay home!!, not an option for me. Just looking at the reality of the growing bear population and apparent change in behavior from a few decades ago. Sorry, lots of folks rightly understand it is a real issue.



I fully understand that it is a real issue. Just pointing out that having a hard sided camper or even a car is no a guarantee to keep a bear out. I live, hike and camp in areas were there have been several bear attacks, and at least 3 deaths in the last 8-10 years or so.

I hunt, hike and camp in a tent and sleep well at night because I know how to do it and am prepared for any worst case situation. I've had many encounters with black bear at close range, includng bears with cubs and have never felt threatened.

I don't worry about it or sensationalize the issue. If someone is not prepared to go into bear country and do the things necessary to be safe then don't go.

Alaska444
September 27, 2012, 12:25 AM
I fully understand that it is a real issue. Just pointing out that having a hard sided camper or even a car is no a guarantee to keep a bear out. I live, hike and camp in areas were there have been several bear attacks, and at least 3 deaths in the last 8-10 years or so.

I hunt, hike and camp in a tent and sleep well at night because I know how to do it and am prepared for any worst case situation. I've had many encounters with black bear at close range, includng bears with cubs and have never felt threatened.

I don't worry about it or sensationalize the issue. If someone is not prepared to go into bear country and do the things necessary to be safe then don't go.
No arguments there my friend. We camp in the St Joe River area in Idaho and in the Cabinet Yaak area as well. Fortunately, no encounters to date, but that is right in the thick of bear country.

Yes, no illusions about campers or cars being impervious to these beast.

Really, I started this thread to speak against those that do go camping in tents in bear country unprepared. Sadly, simply having a single canister of bear spray is NOT going prepared. You MUST have a gun as well. Just reporting the facts, not making anything sensational about the straight truth.

Once again, I can't disagree at all, but tents are no longer part of my package.

climbnjump
September 27, 2012, 12:41 AM
Sometimes tents are the only option in bear country.

Try to get a "hard sided" camper flown into the north slope of Alaska for a caribou hunt.

Alaska444
September 27, 2012, 12:48 AM
Sometimes tents are the only option in bear country.

Try to get a "hard sided" camper flown into the north slope of Alaska for a caribou hunt.
True enough. When I was a kid growing up in Alaska, we camped in tents in the Kenai, around Anchorage, Fairbanks and out on the Nome tundra. In all those years we only had one bear encounter in Fairbanks with a black bear.

Fortunately, my dad was able to stand his ground, shout and shot his .410 shotgun and the bear went away. He did take several of the other parties rabbits from that days hunt with him.

I also know two people personally who have been attacked by bears, one resulting in very severe injuries. With human habituation of bears and a lack of understanding of what can happen, folks run around like the OP story unprepared.

climbnjump
September 27, 2012, 01:14 AM
I also know two people personally who have been attacked by bears, one resulting in very severe injuries. With human habituation of bears and a lack of understanding of what can happen, folks run around like the OP story unprepared.

And sometimes it's just random. A fellow I climbed with years ago in Alaska was mauled by a bear while walking his dog on a bike path near Eagle River, just north of Anchorage. A bear jumped onto the path, took one swipe at my friend's head, then ran off.

Certaindeaf
September 27, 2012, 02:14 AM
Tents are completely safe and bears are now afraid of man so you're all good. Watch out for the kidney boring moles though! get you every time

ZeroJunk
September 27, 2012, 07:46 AM
I have been way too close to a grizzly, but was able to ease away from him. Two of my hunting partners have had close encounters with them over the years. We have had black bear cubs sniffing around the tent at night, sound like hogs. We chased them out of camp several times. We had one guy chase a black bear cub out of the cook tent one night flogging it with a towel. Don't know where the sow was. So far, no attacks. But, one hunter I don't know got beaten up pretty bad close to where we camp by a grizzly. A friend of mine shot him four times in the side with a 44 Mag trying to get him off the man. They trailed him about seven miles in the snow and never found him.

So, I don't see where you can ever consider it "safe". Compared to what.

And, if one comes in on you I'm not sure what prepared is either. I suspect you are not as prepared as you think you are.

But, there are a lot of ways to get killed in this world. It doesn't keep us from driving, or flying, or going to movies.

It is certainly not going to keep me from camping.

mdauben
September 27, 2012, 02:59 PM
I back country camped for over 30 years, everywhere from the swamps of GA to the tundra of AK, and I've never been bothered by a bear. I consider myself lucky when I see a bear! Despite one or two highly publisized intances of a bear taking a hiker out of his tent, I have never felt endangered or threatened in my little backpacking tent. You just need to follow proper backcountry hygene (no food in the tent, have your food prep area away from the tent, hang your food or use a bear container).

paintballdude902
September 27, 2012, 07:00 PM
Actually, there are several safe practices that dramatically lower risk. Safety in numbers, safety in high visibility areas, safety with bear spray, safety with firearms, safety with camp hygiene just to name a few.

Even a log cabin is not a complete safety measure as many folks find out when they return in the spring. No, nothing is completely safe, but indeed, lot's of things you can and should do. However, camping in a tent by yourself is probably not on that list any longer given what many consider significant changes in bear behavior.

true that but not exactly what i was talking about.

i ment sleeping arrangements. the nicest tent in the world wont keep you safe from a determined bear, but neither will a house. you would pretty much need a concrete box with a vault door and no windows to be 100% bear safe

splattergun
September 27, 2012, 07:23 PM
Tens of thousands of people camp in tents in Yellowstone safely every summer. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, camp safely in tents in bear country all across N.- America every year. Bear attacks on tents are extraordinarily rare (that is why it was in the news!) and almost always involve food or other strong odors. The last "aggressive bear" that killed anyone here in Utah took a kid from his tent in his sleep. The tent, the kid, and the campsite and adjacent sites had food all over them.

Keep a clean camp. Never sleep in the same clothing or tent that you cooked or ate in. Leave your cosmetics, cologne, and scented soaps at home. Keep food and odorous materials in yourvehicle or way up out of reach. Camp smart.

Also, bear spray is not meant to make the bear run away to never return, it is ONLY meant to give you enough time to get away safely. If you ever spray a bear, you better get while the gettin is good. THe victim the OP references made a big mistake by sticking around long enough for the angry-hungry bear to return.

Alaska444
September 27, 2012, 09:32 PM
true that but not exactly what i was talking about.

i ment sleeping arrangements. the nicest tent in the world wont keep you safe from a determined bear, but neither will a house. you would pretty much need a concrete box with a vault door and no windows to be 100% bear safe
Hmm, concrete box?

No, that is a bit more than is needed. The point of the article in the OP is that bear spray alone is not enough. You need bear spray AND a gun.

Alaska444
September 27, 2012, 09:43 PM
Tens of thousands of people camp in tents in Yellowstone safely every summer. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, camp safely in tents in bear country all across N.- America every year. Bear attacks on tents are extraordinarily rare (that is why it was in the news!) and almost always involve food or other strong odors. The last "aggressive bear" that killed anyone here in Utah took a kid from his tent in his sleep. The tent, the kid, and the campsite and adjacent sites had food all over them.

Keep a clean camp. Never sleep in the same clothing or tent that you cooked or ate in. Leave your cosmetics, cologne, and scented soaps at home. Keep food and odorous materials in yourvehicle or way up out of reach. Camp smart.

Also, bear spray is not meant to make the bear run away to never return, it is ONLY meant to give you enough time to get away safely. If you ever spray a bear, you better get while the gettin is good. THe victim the OP references made a big mistake by sticking around long enough for the angry-hungry bear to return.
Actually, a couple of corrections.

The boy killed in Utah was almost exactly in the same place as another group of campers harassed by the same bear hours before. That was the basis of the lawsuit against the park service.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705371952/Judge-awards-195-million-to-family-of-boy-killed-by-bear-in-American-Fork-Canyon.html?pg=all

Sadly, your Utah case is exactly my point on the safety of camping in tents. It is not enough in many cases. The Utah case is one more in that series showing the dangers that people need to account in their camping plans.

Secondly,the bear in the article in my OP NEVER left the camp. It was only a temporary end to the mauling. That is the behavior of predatory bear attacks well documented by several bear experts such as James Gary Shelton for instance. Pepper spray with black bears is not as effective in many cases as with grizzly. Since there are hundreds of thousands of black bears in North America and more of them are becoming habituated to humans, it is only prudent to reconsider camp safety issues in bear country.

Lastly, after the Gallatin bear attacks where one man was killed, tents were banned in three campgrounds. If tents are so safe, why were they banned?

http://www.yellowstoneinsider.com/20110623805/news/articles/officials-ban-tent-camping-in-three-cooke-city-campgrounds.php

http://fishgame.com/newsblog.php?p=625#.UGUAxBxqLEY

As many folks wish to make fun of this thread, the real answer is it is a very pertinent question for all those that went tent camping in bear country for years and years. There is some very real evidence that our campaign of tolerance against bears is reaping changes in bear behavior that is potentially much more dangerous than in the past.

jmr40
September 28, 2012, 04:49 PM
I live less than 3 hours south of Smoky Mt National Park. It has the highest concentration on black bear in the East, probably the country. It also has the most visitors of any National Park in the country. Nothing else comes close. The bears there are not hunted and rarely cause problems. There has been 1 death, about 10 years ago, in the history of the park.

They have few bear problems there because proper safety is stressed by park rangers. They agressevely go after folks who violate rules pertaining to bear safety.

I also hike and camp there regularly as well as in areas with high concentrations of bear in East TN, West NC and N GA. I also hunt extensively in the N GA mountains where we have a 3 month long bear season. There are fewer bear, and they are hunted, yet we have more bear/human problems here.

I know of one problem bear several years ago here in Ga that never hurt anyone, but would steal packs right off hikers backs. Did this seveal times and destroyed several backpackers tents when no one was in them. The problem was traced to backpackers leaving food out for it to get better photos. Once it learned how to get easy food it went after it.

This was on National Forest, not a park. The bear was caught, tagged, released and that section of forest closed until hunting season. The bear was killed by a hunter. Had it survived hunting season the plan was for DNR Rangers to kill it after hunting season.

I still believe that almost all bear attacks are ultimately caused by poor decisions made by humans. Almost all attacks like the one in the OP are done by very young, very small bears that have recently been chased off by their mothers. They are having a hard time surviving and are still learning not to mess with humans.

Most of these small bears are easily discouraged if you understand what they are doing and why. Even without a weapon most adult males could fight one off enough to stop an attack. The bear is stronger than you, but he doesn't know that. Usually throwing rocks and acting agressively will encourage one of these young cubs to look for food elsewhere.

I'd just as soon camp in a tent. In fact most of the places where I camp there is no other option. I cannot carry a camper on a trail. If a bear really wants you they have no trouble breaking into a hard sided camper or even you car. I'll post this link again if you doubt me.

http://www.google.com/search?q=bears+breaking+into+cars&hl=en&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4TSND_en___US464&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=WIVjUJz-A7G30AHG_oHIDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=533#q=bears+breaking+into+cars&hl=en&sa=X&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4TSND_en___US464&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=89785d729b6a246c&biw=837&bih=389

Alaska444
September 28, 2012, 05:39 PM
I live less than 3 hours south of Smoky Mt National Park. It has the highest concentration on black bear in the East, probably the country. It also has the most visitors of any National Park in the country. Nothing else comes close. The bears there are not hunted and rarely cause problems. There has been 1 death, about 10 years ago, in the history of the park.

They have few bear problems there because proper safety is stressed by park rangers. They agressevely go after folks who violate rules pertaining to bear safety.

I also hike and camp there regularly as well as in areas with high concentrations of bear in East TN, West NC and N GA. I also hunt extensively in the N GA mountains where we have a 3 month long bear season. There are fewer bear, and they are hunted, yet we have more bear/human problems here.

I know of one problem bear several years ago here in Ga that never hurt anyone, but would steal packs right off hikers backs. Did this seveal times and destroyed several backpackers tents when no one was in them. The problem was traced to backpackers leaving food out for it to get better photos. Once it learned how to get easy food it went after it.

This was on National Forest, not a park. The bear was caught, tagged, released and that section of forest closed until hunting season. The bear was killed by a hunter. Had it survived hunting season the plan was for DNR Rangers to kill it after hunting season.

I still believe that almost all bear attacks are ultimately caused by poor decisions made by humans. Almost all attacks like the one in the OP are done by very young, very small bears that have recently been chased off by their mothers. They are having a hard time surviving and are still learning not to mess with humans.

Most of these small bears are easily discouraged if you understand what they are doing and why. Even without a weapon most adult males could fight one off enough to stop an attack. The bear is stronger than you, but he doesn't know that. Usually throwing rocks and acting agressively will encourage one of these young cubs to look for food elsewhere.

I'd just as soon camp in a tent. In fact most of the places where I camp there is no other option. I cannot carry a camper on a trail. If a bear really wants you they have no trouble breaking into a hard sided camper or even you car. I'll post this link again if you doubt me.

http://www.google.com/search?q=bears+breaking+into+cars&hl=en&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4TSND_en___US464&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=WIVjUJz-A7G30AHG_oHIDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=533#q=bears+breaking+into+cars&hl=en&sa=X&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4TSND_en___US464&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=89785d729b6a246c&biw=837&bih=389
Not sure the Great Smokey Mt Park is as safe a bear zone as you are stating. Seems that black bears are causing quite a bit of trouble there over in the last few years. Here are a few examples:

Great Smoky Camping Areas Closed On Account Of Bears

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/great-smoky-camping-areas_0_n_1630057.html

Bear mauls 8-year-old boy in Smoky Mountains
Rangers later kill animal matching description of one in attack

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26155472/ns/us_news-life/t/bear-mauls--year-old-boy-smoky-mountains/#.UGYUHRxQlqw

Woman mauled by black bear in Great Smoky Mountains

http://www.aldha.org/bearmaul.htm

Black Bear Attacks Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitor on Popular Hiking Trail as Horrified Crowd Watches Helpless in Disbelief.

http://yoursmokies.blogspot.com/2010/05/black-bear-attacks-great-smoky.html

Bear breaks in car at clingmans dome, smoky mountains, TN

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBnGe9HDGBI

Once again, no problem understanding what a bear can do to a car or an RV, but it does offer much more protection than hanging out in a flimsy tent especially those that have an attached floor making it a trap if the bear collapses it and drags it off as is part of their behavior patterns.

Once again, lots of folks up here in Idaho that no longer venture out in tents any longer with the observation that the bears are more aggressive than in the past. If you are going to camp in a tent, take the proper precautions.

X-Rap
September 28, 2012, 11:53 PM
I don't see much difference between a tent and one of the common mummy bags except that in a tent you are caught in both but do have a little more fabric for the bear to sort out and a tent with a floor will at least keep your gun, knife, and flashlight traveling with you until the bear decides to shread it. Speaking of the gun, I am still interested in how posters would take to shooting at some attacking bear at 2am when they don't know where everyone is?

H&Hhunter
September 29, 2012, 12:52 AM
My brother was attacked by a black bear while sleeping outside in a mummy bag with a .41 mag under his head. He felt pressure on his chest and remembered smelling a rancid smell. He realized that a bear was on top of him he woke up and got swatted in the face. He never had the slightest chance of drawing his handgun everything happened to fast.

He got off lucky with just about 30 to 40 stitches in his fore head and nose. So would he have been worse off in a tent? This seems like an absolutely ludicrous point of view to me.

What in the H.E. double hockey sticks, is guy supposed to use for shelter in the rain and snow?

Ridgerunner665
September 29, 2012, 01:15 AM
This reminded me of something I read many years ago...in some sort of backpacking book or magazine....Dad and I used to do a lot of backpacking on the AT and some backcountry camping (off the beaten paths, well up in the hills)...I miss those days, and more than once I've stumbled out of the tent late at night to take a leak and spooked a nearby bear (Smoky Mountain park, Mt. Rogers area in VA, western NC, etc ...plenty of bears)

Anyway.....what I read was a story about a guy who lost his flashlight on the trail and managed to stumble into another party's tent after dark...the guy in the tent thought it was a bear, panicked, ran...screaming "BEAR!!!" for most of a 1/4 of a mile....LMAO.


Are tents safe?

I'd say they are just as safe as your house...I don't know of any "normal" door frame that would stand up against a determined bear (large black or any brown) no matter how good the lock was.

If it wanted in...it would get in...and it probably wouldn't take more than a second.

I have no experience with griz...but grew up in prime black bear country.


To answer your poll question...I didn't vote....bears are moody critters, how they behave depends entirely on their frame of mind at the time of the encounter.

I've seen big bears run like a sissy...little ones stand their ground...and vice versa.

On the topic of Smoky Mountain bear attacks...there is getting to be LOTS of bears in the area, and not just in the park. I live about 60 miles from the park...and there has always been a few bears scattered around in the immediate area of home but in the last 10 years that number has skyrocketed. I live in the vicinity of Surgoinsville and used to have coon feeders on my place....do you have any idea what its like to try to keep a coon feeder filled with dog food in 1 piece with bears involved?

I'll tell you...its impossible!

The point though is this...with more bears, there is more competition...for food and room to live...I like having the bears around, they don't scare me but it is about time they opened a hunting season in my area.

splattergun
September 29, 2012, 11:45 AM
Actually, a couple of corrections.

The boy killed in Utah was almost exactly in the same place as another group of campers harassed by the same bear hours before. That was the basis of the lawsuit against the park service.

Sadly, your Utah case is exactly my point on the safety of camping in tents. It is not enough in many cases. The Utah case is one more in that series showing the dangers that people need to account in their camping plans.

Secondly,the bear in the article in my OP NEVER left the camp. It was only a temporary end to the mauling. campgroun

The fact that the bear had been in the same place earlier does not change the fact that it was a dirty camp site, but reinforces it. THat bear was there earlier because of the food litter. I have personally camped at that spot, but only once, because of the mess left there by others. It is not a maintained campsite and is always littered. There was also a soda can and candy wrappers in the boy's tent. The poor kid was bait.

The bear in your OP did not leave the camp, but I have to wonder if it moved far enough away for the camper to retreat to his vehicle, which is the impression your OP gave me. Use the spray only to make retreat possible.

Camping in a tent in country where dangerous animals frequent is and always has been only as safe as the fabric and your camping habits. A tent is no more safe nor no more dangerous than it has ever been.

I am not convinced that bear nature is changing, becoming more agressive. I do believe that many more humans are spending much more time in bear country. Combine that with increasing bear numbers and you have a formula which appears to make bears more aggressive. Some people seem to feel that blaming increasingly aggressive bears is preferable to keeping a clean camp.

X-Rap
September 29, 2012, 11:58 AM
Animals will become conditioned to be wary of people if they are treated with aggression. Hunting by its nature is aggresive. Birds, deer, coyotes, even fish will eventually fear in some way human presence if they feel pressured. A good example is the fox, I know of a number of them that when in a protected area have become nearly tame but when a fox encounters humans in the wild and have been hunted they rarely hang around. I can think of other examples of deer and elk locally in which their location and time of year seems to dictate their reaction to humans.
I don't think bears or other large predators are any different.

Alaska444
September 29, 2012, 01:11 PM
My brother was attacked by a black bear while sleeping outside in a mummy bag with a .41 mag under his head. He felt pressure on his chest and remembered smelling a rancid smell. He realized that a bear was on top of him he woke up and got swatted in the face. He never had the slightest chance of drawing his handgun everything happened to fast.

He got off lucky with just about 30 to 40 stitches in his fore head and nose. So would he have been worse off in a tent? This seems like an absolutely ludicrous point of view to me.

What in the H.E. double hockey sticks, is guy supposed to use for shelter in the rain and snow?
Dear H&HHunter,

Sure, use a tent but you should consider adding a perimeter and electric fence if you do not have the option of a hard walled RV. Settle down my friend, more options than just a bare tent with no other considerations. I have mentioned that already in several prior posts.

Alaska444
September 29, 2012, 01:13 PM
This reminded me of something I read many years ago...in some sort of backpacking book or magazine....Dad and I used to do a lot of backpacking on the AT and some backcountry camping (off the beaten paths, well up in the hills)...I miss those days, and more than once I've stumbled out of the tent late at night to take a leak and spooked a nearby bear (Smoky Mountain park, Mt. Rogers area in VA, western NC, etc ...plenty of bears)

Anyway.....what I read was a story about a guy who lost his flashlight on the trail and managed to stumble into another party's tent after dark...the guy in the tent thought it was a bear, panicked, ran...screaming "BEAR!!!" for most of a 1/4 of a mile....LMAO.


Are tents safe?

I'd say they are just as safe as your house...I don't know of any "normal" door frame that would stand up against a determined bear (large black or any brown) no matter how good the lock was.

If it wanted in...it would get in...and it probably wouldn't take more than a second.

I have no experience with griz...but grew up in prime black bear country.


To answer your poll question...I didn't vote....bears are moody critters, how they behave depends entirely on their frame of mind at the time of the encounter.

I've seen big bears run like a sissy...little ones stand their ground...and vice versa.

On the topic of Smoky Mountain bear attacks...there is getting to be LOTS of bears in the area, and not just in the park. I live about 60 miles from the park...and there has always been a few bears scattered around in the immediate area of home but in the last 10 years that number has skyrocketed. I live in the vicinity of Surgoinsville and used to have coon feeders on my place....do you have any idea what its like to try to keep a coon feeder filled with dog food in 1 piece with bears involved?

I'll tell you...its impossible!

The point though is this...with more bears, there is more competition...for food and room to live...I like having the bears around, they don't scare me but it is about time they opened a hunting season in my area.
+1, open more tags in hunting season and decrease the bear population to where they don't need to encroach urban areas to eat. Bears that are hunted are more likely to run when they encounter man as well.

X-Rap
September 29, 2012, 01:22 PM
I can't immagine packing batteries, wire, solar charger along on a back country trip. Take a dog and forget it, they can carry their own food plus it gives you something to talk to, can't see much companionship in a fencer.

Double Naught Spy
September 29, 2012, 02:59 PM
I can't immagine packing batteries, wire, solar charger along on a back country trip. Take a dog and forget it, they can carry their own food plus it gives you something to talk to, can't see much companionship in a fencer.

Dogs have benefits and detractions. They also tend to antagonize the bears.

bejay
September 29, 2012, 04:08 PM
I can't immagine packing batteries, wire, solar charger along on a back country trip
seems like alot of trouble that may not even be effective would probably go with a dog also.

Alaska444
September 29, 2012, 05:15 PM
I can't immagine packing batteries, wire, solar charger along on a back country trip. Take a dog and forget it, they can carry their own food plus it gives you something to talk to, can't see much companionship in a fencer.
Depends on what kind of dogs you are talking about. I can't recall how many bear attack stories I have read across these years where the dog met Mr. bear first and ran back to their master bringing the bear right on their heals. Unfortunately, dogs are not always a help and they can attract bears as well.

They are a bit of a mixed message. Not too many dogs like Old Yeller that will save their master from the wild beasts.

Now, a camp with several people and several dogs makes tent camping safer. However, how much weight is packing in all that dog food going to be compared to a few batteries and wire systems? Probably more work bringing the dog I would think.

Ridgerunner665
September 29, 2012, 05:34 PM
I do not mean to ruffle any feathers by saying this, and its not exactly pertaining to bears in your back yard (those are different)...but this is about camping...and here is how I feel about it.

If one cannot reasonably accept the risk of no longer being at the top of the food chain...don't go camping in bear country.

They (the bears) have as much right to be there as we do...I'm an old bear hunter, I love hunting them...I'm not saying "save the bears", just that there is no need to get overly paranoid about it and kill them all...keep your food suspended on a rope away from camp (we always hung our backpacks), after meals....wash your hands to keep the scent of food off YOU, stuff like that...

Having a backup plan (firearm) is a good idea...just in case you bump into the wrong bear...but in all my years running all over the best black bear country there is...I only had to shoot 1 bear that I wasn't hunting, and she was just doing what mothers do...protecting her cubs...I don't hold that against her, but I did what I had to do.

Alaska444
September 29, 2012, 09:37 PM
Animals will become conditioned to be wary of people if they are treated with aggression. Hunting by its nature is aggresive. Birds, deer, coyotes, even fish will eventually fear in some way human presence if they feel pressured. A good example is the fox, I know of a number of them that when in a protected area have become nearly tame but when a fox encounters humans in the wild and have been hunted they rarely hang around. I can think of other examples of deer and elk locally in which their location and time of year seems to dictate their reaction to humans.
I don't think bears or other large predators are any different.
Interesting follow up articles point to a human habituated bear that is the probably reason prompting the attack.

An investigation by FWP and U.S. Forest Service officials tied the 185-pound male bear to the mauling, and determined that the animal had displayed predatory behavior, probably as a result of being conditioned to human food.

FWP Investigator Brian Sommers reports that a number of food items found in the bear’s stomach were consistent with food at the camp, which the bear consumed after the initial attack. These included pieces of ziplock bags and dried pasta, he said.

Sommers also said that when agents went into the camp to dispatch the bear Friday afternoon, the bear displayed behavior consistent with conditioning and habituation to human food. The bear was killed approximately 70 yards from the scene of the attack, and was in the process of moving back toward the tent where the attack occurred.

http://www.ravallirepublic.com/news/state-and-regional/article_c913cb52-7a5d-5b0d-adaf-4c7bf9c49a0c.html

xnmw
September 30, 2012, 10:09 AM
Lastly, after the Gallatin bear attacks where one man was killed, tents were banned in three campgrounds. If tents are so safe, why were they banned?
I think I've heard a variation of this kind of thinking before...

Clean camp, spray + enough gun. I would rather tent camp in bear country than any of the homeless "tent cities" around here. It's not zero risk, but it's low enough, and you can prepare yourself. Maybe we should start a best gun for bears while tent camping thread? :D

Double Naught Spy
September 30, 2012, 10:44 AM
Lastly, after the Gallatin bear attacks where one man was killed, tents were banned in three campgrounds. If tents are so safe, why were they banned?

You have it turned around. The tents didn't harm anybody. They were not banned for being unsafe or being the cause of any problems. On top of that, tents weren't banned, but tent camping was. Notice that camping without a hardsided shelter, open camping, was banned as well. It wasn't the tents that were banned.

Alaska444
September 30, 2012, 07:25 PM
I think I've heard a variation of this kind of thinking before...

Clean camp, spray + enough gun. I would rather tent camp in bear country than any of the homeless "tent cities" around here. It's not zero risk, but it's low enough, and you can prepare yourself. Maybe we should start a best gun for bears while tent camping thread? :D
+1, No problem my friend. That would be a good thread since it appears that the majority of folks that get into trouble with bears come unprepared with either bear spray or with a gun.

This attack in the OP was an unprovoked predatory black bear attack from an habituated bear. My point in fact that bear behavior has changed because of our change in behavior towards bears. In the old days, a bear near camp was driven away or killed. I just don't recall any habituated bear attacks up in Alaska during the 1960's. Other reasons, yes of course, but the bambi generation's attitude towards bears is a direct cause of many of the recent bear attacks from habituated bears. This is most evident in many of the bear attacks around Anchorage Alaska where they forbid bear hunting in the Chugach National Forest for nearly 30 years.

Once again, is it safe to camp in tents any longer? With the burgeoning bear population and human habituation of bear that is a direct cause of many of the recent attacks such as the one in the OP. I believe the days of counting on bears running away from a human camp ground cannot be relied upon on any longer in too many cases. For bears not habituated, hopefully they are still more afraid of us than we are of them. If we can't expect them to run from us, then yes, we need to add other layers of bear protection when camping in a tent.

Alaska444
September 30, 2012, 07:27 PM
You have it turned around. The tents didn't harm anybody. They were not banned for being unsafe or being the cause of any problems. On top of that, tents weren't banned, but tent camping was. Notice that camping without a hardsided shelter, open camping, was banned as well. It wasn't the tents that were banned.
Dear DNS, are you a politician? If you not, you should be, that was the biggest double speak mumbo jumbo I have heard aside from the so called presidential race.

Alaska444
October 4, 2012, 09:53 PM
Interesting story on habituated black bears in MT that tells the story of how people today are treating these creatures with a true lack of the respect of their wild nature. Man has radically changed their attitudes towards these animals and these sort of events are now quite common.

Seven black bears were euthanized near Heron MT. One male bear weighed nearly 500 pounds. What happens when those that feed these creatures no longer feed them?

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/04/14222421-7-bears-euthanized-in-montana-after-becoming-used-to-being-fed

The interesting aspect for me personally is that is less than five miles from where we go camping with our church at Bull River Camp ground. Habituated black bears are a danger and that is believed to be the cause of the attack in the OP. Our attitudes towards these animals directly influences their population explosion and encroachment into urban areas.

WYcoyote
October 5, 2012, 06:22 PM
I can't immagine packing batteries, wire, solar charger along on a back country trip. Take a dog and forget it, they can carry their own food plus it gives you something to talk to, can't see much companionship in a fencer.
I just returned from a sheep hunt in Wyoming smack in grizzly country (in fact where a fairly recent fatality occurred) and used an electric fence around my tent. The maker is UDAP, it establishes a 27' x 27' square perimeter and weighs 3.7 pounds.
To be honest we did cook and kept food in the tent. One night we came to camp late with sheep meat and a head with cape and kept it inside the fence.
This is not recommended I'm sure but we rolled the dice and got away with it.

lefteyedom
October 8, 2012, 05:01 PM
If you are worried there is the tried and true sleep aid....

CLAYMORE

Zoogster
October 11, 2012, 03:40 PM
Tent camping outdoors is pretty low risk.
It is outside of the routine comfort zone of people that rarely camp, so when there is the occasional issue it reinforces it being dangerous to those that want to find proof it is dangerous.
However by that definition houses are dangerous, there is home invasions by dangerous predators.


The most likely thing to be dangerous is an animal conditioned by people to expect food from campers. A tent gives a little extra time to those armed with a firearm to react.
Someone that actually uses the tent to sleep quietly has a barrier between them and should hear or awaken with some seconds to react.
Now if they are a really sound sleeper, wearing an ipod...


Originally Posted by X-Rap Animals will become conditioned to be wary of people if they are treated with aggression. Hunting by its nature is aggresive.

That can be true. However a successfully killed animal doesn't pass that information on and ceases to be trained to avoid people.
So especially with predators that are predominantly alone it does not really teach them much.


On the other hand there has been people that teach bears to fear people. I recall a business that was retreaining bears to avoid people by responding to black bears around populated areas and pelting them with hard items from paintball type guns, using fireworks, sprays, and things that explode around the animal (while taking safety precautions or from a vehicle to avoid retaliation.)
Causing pain and discomfort and fear.
This may sound cruel, but actually saves the animal because instead of needing to be killed later when it poses a problem it learns to avoid people and run at the sight or smell of them.

While simply taking an animal and relocating it often fails to work because it does not resolve the underlying problem of wanting to go to easy sources of food around people that it does not fear.

rdhood
October 11, 2012, 03:56 PM
Like everyone has said....

North GA, NC, TN all have black bear. Food control is the key. Don't sleep in the same clothes that you ate in, no food in the tent, preferably cook well away from tent/sleeping area, hang food, etc.

Bears are hungry. Don't give them any more reason to enter your campsite/tent.

X-Rap
October 11, 2012, 05:22 PM
My point about hunting is largely based on results of hound pursuit and how I believe bears or cats respond over time but I speculate that the smell of death of familiar species mixed with human odor in the woods resonates with all wild animals to some degree.

Double Naught Spy
October 11, 2012, 06:35 PM
My point about hunting is largely based on results of hound pursuit and how I believe bears or cats respond over time but I speculate that the smell of death of familiar species mixed with human odor in the woods resonates with all wild animals to some degree.

Humans aren't that special. When a given animal is killed, if the carcass or parts are left behind, even blood, it will attract the attention of many animals that will pass through. So a bear smells human scent around the skinned out carcass of another bear, along with deer, squirrel, another bear, fox, coyote, and wolf. Never mind all the birds and bugs that left their odor behind. Just how are the bears supposed to discern that the death was caused by almighty humans?

X-Rap
October 11, 2012, 09:37 PM
I've spent enough time in the woods to know that animals fear the Apex predators, I have my hunches as to why but it has a great deal to do with hunting and the pressure man puts on what he hunts.
Go to a high draw area like I am headed for tomorrow and the elk are probably as close to the way they were with primitive man as it gets outside of a zoo. Go across the road to an open GMU and they are spooky as hell. I don't see bears as much different.

Zoogster
October 12, 2012, 01:36 PM
I've spent enough time in the woods to know that animals fear the Apex predators, I have my hunches as to why but it has a great deal to do with hunting and the pressure man puts on what he hunts.

I think that may be the impression due to the results, but I think a lot of it is because any animals that are either not afraid, friendly, curious, etc are some of the first killed. That may include both bad ones that could pose a risk, and so no longer will. But also those happy to stay at a distance and do their own thing and would never have posed any problems but knowingly remaining fully visible.
Being an ambassador to humans is a death sentence.

The only ones that can survive are the most paranoid.
This may give the impression they are all like that, but I think it is less that they have changed and more that those are the type of individuals that can manage to survive.
It is human selection of only those that dash from cover to cover, over react to the slightest stimuli, etc



The others are not taught through pressure, they are dead. Whenever a new happy joyful little member that likes to sit in open meadows and enjoy the sunshine is born, they die a few hunting seasons later. While the one that slinks around cover and sticks to the shadows, they survive.
It is human selection of the stressed out paranoid animals as survivors.


Humans have a big impact on animals. For example trophy hunters also shrink the average size of many animals over time. The desire to slaughter the biggest examples of certain animals means the largest survive the least amount of time to mate and pass on their genetics. It is essentially selective breeding of smaller animals. The biggest strongest and healthiest that is bold and full of confidence are more likely to be killed quickly than the small, sickly, and skittish.
Humans do essentially the opposite of natural predators. Rather than making species stronger and more vibrant culling the weak like natural predators, humans kill the best genetic specimens and weaken the species over time.

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