View Full Version : bear bag in January?

11-22-2006, 10:24
would you hang your food at bear bag height in january in north carolina, or not bother cause the bears aren't active? are they really not active? how bout farther north?

11-22-2006, 10:36
I don't bother any time of year. YMMV.

Lone Wolf
11-22-2006, 10:37
Me either. Stays with me in a tent.

11-22-2006, 10:42
Yeah, easily accessible for midnight munchies and there's no need to leave your tent to have breakfast.

11-22-2006, 10:50
I will bear bag this weekend on the Fires Creek Rim Trail. The area is a bear sanctuary (hunting off limits) and someone posted here a few days ago about a bear that was struck on US 64 - right near Fires Creek Rim.

I know a bear probably won't raid my tent, but I sleep better without my food with me. Plus, I'll be with two other guys, and one of them will definitely want to hang food.

11-22-2006, 10:53
Jeff have you tried the PCT method? Works great...


11-22-2006, 11:15
it makes me wonder, though, if it might be more important to hang a bear bag in winter than any other season. certainly a bear's going to be hungrier in the winter than summer, so isn't it possible that they'd take a little more aggressive approach to any food they'd smell around a human?

11-22-2006, 11:25
a few weeks ago i asked about bear hybernation on this thread http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=18439

and this was the reponse

black bears may never hibernate in the smokies and other southern states if there is an available food supply.
here is some info from blackbear.org

Do bears hibernate? When hibernation was defined simply in terms of temperature reduction, bears were not considered hibernators. New knowledge of hibernation processes has led biologists to redefine mammalian hibernation as simply a specialized, seasonal reduction of metabolism concurrent with the environmental pressures of scarce food and low ambient temperatures. Black bears are now considered highly efficient hibernators. They sleep for months without eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating. Hibernators with lower body temperatures, such as chipmunks, woodchucks, and ground squirrels, cannot do this. These smaller mammals must awaken every few days, raise their temperatures to over 94 degrees, move around in their burrows, and urinate. Some of them must also eat and defecate during arousals. Black bears have far more insulative pelts and have lower surface to mass ratios than the smaller hibernators. As a result, bears' body heat is lost very slowly, enabling them to cut their metabolic rate in half and still make it through winter, maintaining temperatures above 88 degrees--within 12 degrees of their normal summer temperature. (Excerpted from "A Bear In Its Lair" by Lynn Rogers, Natural History Magazine, October 1981). Mothers wake up to give birth, typically in mid to late January, and take excellent care of the cubs in the den, licking them clean and responding to every cry for warmth and milk.
Length of Hibernation: The length and depth of hibernation is genetically programmed to match the regional norms of food availability. Hibernation is deeper and can last over 7 months in the northern portion of the black bear range where abundant, high quality food is available only from May through August. There, some bears hibernate so deeply, especially the leaner bears after a summer of unusually scarce food, that a person can jostle them for several minutes before they wake up. However, in southern states where food is available year-round, some do not hibernate at all, and those that do are easily aroused. Lean females cannot bring their fetuses to full term and do not give birth

it doesn't matter what size of animal might be around, food should never be kept w/ humans at night

Lone Wolf
11-22-2006, 11:27
Lots of us disagree.

11-22-2006, 11:46
it doesn't matter what size of animal might be around, food should never be kept w/ humans at nightTwo rules of thought...

I don't believe you should ever leave your food unatteneded and should be willing to protect it. The only exceptions are where it's mandated to hang or use bear canisters, poles or boxes, which is generally in National Parks.

In many, many, many nights sleeping in the wild I've never had a problem YMMV

11-22-2006, 14:23
I hung my food two or three times in my life. Once i was lucky as the bear took someone elses hung food. The CA folks in camp thought it was pretty good technique that us easterners hung our food so properly. (this was in CA) But they didn't lose their food that night. they slept with it. I haven't hung since except in Glacier and even then i slept with my food when i really wanted to make sure i kept it. (long story)
I thought about hanging in the "Bob" but talked to a ranger who told me that she would sleep with her food (she told me this off the record and no i won't tell you her name)

11-22-2006, 14:24
In 1980, I was with friends in the Smokies, near Mt. Sterling, the week after Christmas. A ranger had encouraged to hang our packs because a she-bear was a frequent visitor to the campsite we would be using one night.

We arrived after dark and were gathering firewood by flashlight when I heard a noise. I turned and pointed my beam into a "black hole"- the beamn just ended about 20 ft away. I slowly notice a couple of eyes peering out of that "black hole." She would run off when we made noise, then return a while later from a different direction. Needless to say, we hung our packs using the provided "bear pole"- wrapped in barbed wire with nails protruding from the wooden base.

The next morning, we discovered the bear had shimmied up the pole (flattening the nails in the process) and shredded the pack with breakfast (bacon). My friend had to lash his gear to the remaining frame for the rest of the weekend. I still have my old pack with the patched hole from the encounter (It was 2 packs away from the bacon).

Yes, bears remain active in the winter in the Smokies. Bears will do almost anything for bacon. Plan accordingly.

11-22-2006, 14:26
Bears will do almost anything for bacon. Plan accordingly.

That means don't bring bacon! ;)