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illininagel
08-06-2003, 09:45
A question for those that have thru-hiked:

Exactly how bad are the mice in the shelters along the AT? Are they merely a nuisance or will they pose a more serious health hazard?

Will it force me to tent more frequently?

Thanks.

MOWGLI
08-06-2003, 11:00
They are worse off early on in the season. Once the warm weather hits, the snakes are out to put a hurtin' on the mice, and natural food supplies (for mice) become more abundant.

Health hazard? I wouldn't worry.... If you don't like mice, you can always tent though. Its a big woods out there.

Little Bear
GA-ME 2000

Grimace
08-06-2003, 12:17
I sstayed in tons of shelters and barely noticed them. I did hike SOBO which may make a difference. On the occasion that they were eating the shelter at night, ear plugs did the trick. I slept so well out there that they may have been crawling on my face, but I doubt it.

Make sure you open up the poclets of your pack so the mice can crawl in and out. They'll make holes if you don't open the door for 'em.

I don't think they are a huge health hazard. A little Hantu never hurt anyone.

steve hiker
08-06-2003, 12:43
I'm SCEEEEERRED of mouses! Saw this on another board and sceers the living nighttime out of me:

Almost forgot to mention the mice at the Gooch Mountain Shelter. We took extra special precautions to pack away all our food and anything at all with a scent, but the mice still found a way to play some havoc on our night.

-The mice of Gooch Mountain will chew on nice wool socks if they cannot find food.

-When hunting for food the mice of Gooch Mountain will chew threw ziploc bags looking for food and eventually chew on some of your toilet paper.

-Your cigars should be properly stored in a hard pelican case. If someone by chance stored their cigars in a zip loc, the mice of Gooch mountain have a certain taste for fine tobbaco leaf.

-If the mice of Gooch Mountain cannot find any food, they will get mad and proceed to use your titanium cup as a toilet. I assume that is why they chewed into the toilet paper.

DebW
08-06-2003, 15:40
Search the shelter for bits of tin foil before you go to bed. Mice chewing on foil are LOUD.

icemanat95
08-06-2003, 20:50
I had one run across my face one night. It didn't survive the experience. Caught it, crushed it and threw it out of the shelter in less time than it takes to tell it. Nothing like feeling something scampering acoss your face to make you sit up and take notice.

Worst damage I suffered from a mouse occured because I forgot about some GORP in a jacket pocket then proceeded to forget to open up the jacket pocket. THe mice chewed a hole in the mesh of the pocket fabric, tore into the gorp and chewed my pack towel a bit. That was in the smokies. I never had a further problem with the mice other than the face incident. I did however develop an allergy to mouse dander or whatever. I had to sleep with my head toward the shelter opening rather than in to the wall or my sinuses would start to close up. Since the shelters are generally pitched a little bit toward the opening, it made for some interesting nights.

Virginian
08-06-2003, 22:28
I found that if you put peanut butter on fellow hikers foreheads at nite. The mice would pretty much leave you alone

steve hiker
08-07-2003, 00:53
I heard of this hiker who <b>lynched</b> a mouse. Yup, put a noose around the little rascal's neck and hung him high, swingin from the rafters.

Kerosene
08-07-2003, 08:10
Don't forget to check to make sure that there aren't any mice taking a morning snooze in your pockets before you close them up! Out of Seth Warner shelter in southern Vermont I apparently zipped one inside a side pocket, forcing him or her to chew their way to freedom.

I was a lot more concerned about the big wood rat in Manassas Gap Shelter in northern Virginia a few years ago. That sucker was big and had a penchant for nibbling on the salty hair of sleepers. Fortunately a local camper came by and kept a lantern burning all night, keeping the rat in the rafters, but I still didn't sleep very well.

illininagel
08-07-2003, 08:26
Kerosene,

Just out of curiousity, with a rat that big residing in the rafters of the shelter, why not tent that night?

I'm getting the impression that my preference might be to tent---but, with so many experienced thru-hikers staying in the shelters, there must be a very good reason. Is it generally the weather that prompts hikers to use the shelters? Or, is it the ease of setup, or the company of other hikers?

Blue Jay
08-13-2003, 19:47
I am completely astounded at how many seemingly normal humans are afraid of a mouse. If you've got to be scared of something, pick something that can actually hurt you like a car or a gun or a dog.

B Thrash
08-13-2003, 20:11
Originally posted by illininagel
Kerosene,

Just out of curiousity, with a rat that big residing in the rafters of the shelter, why not tent that night?

I'm getting the impression that my preference might be to tent---but, with so many experienced thru-hikers staying in the shelters, there must be a very good reason. Is it generally the weather that prompts hikers to use the shelters? Or, is it the ease of setup, or the company of other hikers?



_________________________________________

One very good reason is a large majority of thru-hikers have sent their tents, tarps, bivys home to reduce the weight so their shelter is in the shelters.

Rigormortis

Moon Monster
08-13-2003, 23:43
I avoided shelters my first week in Georgia because of all the hype about mice and overcrowding and such. But then it started raining and it really never stopped my whole hike. The persistent rains drove me into sheltering most nights and after a while, I didn't care about mice or overcrowding (both of which weren't much of a problem this year north of Georgia).

My food bag was chewed through one night in Tennessee and a couple of my more fuzzy things were chewed on (for nesting material) near Damascus. Further north, I'd see mice from time to time, but they never seemed to even try to get at food bags or packs that were hung. Two attacks in 2200 miles is liveable.

I found the most interesting weapon against them was an empty Pringles can which is irresistable to them and makes a great mouse-cannon once one goes inside (think Jai Alai or Lacrosse). We're talking 50 yard launces at least.

MOWGLI
08-14-2003, 07:31
Originally posted by illininagel
Kerosene,

Just out of curiousity, with a rat that big residing in the rafters of the shelter, why not tent that night?



Wood Rats are good looking, interesting animals, and should not be confused with non-native disease carrying rats like those that run around the streets & sewers of coastal cities like NYC.

I encountered a Wood Rat recently while removing an old freezer from a trailhead on the Cumberland Trail here in Tennessee. It was living inside the unit that we were pulling from the woods. It was a strikingly beautiful critter.

Youngblood
08-14-2003, 08:57
Originally posted by B Thrash
_________________________________________

One very good reason is a large majority of thru-hikers have sent their tents, tarps, bivys home to reduce the weight so their shelter is in the shelters.

Rigormortis

Gee, I don't remember any thru-hiker that totally depended on the shelters when I hiked the trail in 2000. It sure seemed like every solo hiker had a tent/tarp/bivy and every couple/group also carried a common tent/tarp. At times no one wanted to sleep in trail shelters and at other times everyone wanted to. Had a lot to do with available options, whether it was raining and how bad the mosquittos where. But heck, I didn't camp with every thru-hiker that year and I was not aware of any kind of poll about shelters. However, when you state 'large majority', I felt I should speak out so that somebody doesn't head out without tent/tarp/bivy thinking that they won't need one, because I think they will.

Youngblood

Jumpstart
08-15-2003, 14:20
I'll have to agree with Youngblood, I don't think I met a single person on the trail in 2002 that hiked without some sort of alternative shelter. Especially come the warmer, summer months, when the bugs were out in full-force, the refuge of a completley screened-in tent became a neccesity. Even the lightest of the lightweighter's that we met, a guy who carried 8 pounds and hiked with only cold food so he wouldn't have to carry a stove and fuel, carried a sil-nylon tarp for shelter.

Good luck!

squirrel bait
08-15-2003, 14:39
How many mouse skins does it take to make a good hat. If I go ultra lite can I make clothing out of em? When you skin them do you leave their little ears on? A mouse skin kilt?

goshawk
12-04-2003, 10:41
I had a mouse hitch a ride in my pack in GA. I only found out when superfly shouted "There is something eating its way out of your pack Mannnnn!!!!!!!" I almost **** myself from laughing so hard.

chief
12-04-2003, 11:36
There was a hiker in 2000 who had mice born in his pack. Of course, his trail name became "Mouse Daddy". Speaking of birth, Also in 2000, I shared Gravel Spring Hut (in SNP) with a soon to be mama skunk. We got along well, I left her alone and she left me alone. About 2 AM she became a mama for real. I felt proud!

Rain Man
12-04-2003, 11:46
There was a hiker in 2000 who had mice born in his pack. Of course, his trail name became "Mouse Daddy". Speaking of birth, Also in 2000, I shared Gravel Spring Hut (in SNP) with a soon to be mama skunk. We got along well, I left her alone and she left me alone. About 2 AM she became a mama for real. I felt proud!

Cool, Dude! You should be proud. It amazes me how many people go into the woods, and seeing a "wild animal" want to kill it right off, like snakes.

God bless you!

Kerosene
12-04-2003, 12:43
I inadvertantly zipped a mouse into the side pocket of my external frame pack at the Seth Warner Shelter in southern Vermont in 1976. The little bugger chewed his way to freedom at some point during the next few miles.

Footslogger
12-04-2003, 14:21
The mice are as bad as you allow them to be. That may sound like a bit of flim flam but the truth is that they generally don't mess with you unless you're careless and "bait" with food. Bottom line ...the mice are in EVERY shelter, bar none! The degree to which they get into your stuff is directly proportional to how well you clean up and pack up after eating.

Personally, I find chipmonks to be much more aggresive and damaging.

MDSHiker
12-04-2003, 16:04
At Spring Mountain Shelter north of Hot Springs, I woke up with my backpack full of hickory nuts. I laughed my tail off and so did everyone else.

A-Train
12-04-2003, 16:38
Mice were something I used to worry about when first dreaming of a thru-hike. Slogger is right on. They are as bad as you make them out to be. I slept in shelters on 95 percent of nights on my thru-hike and only twice did I see mice (upper loft of roan high knob shelter and blackrock hut in shenandoah). I was so tired and warn out each night I could usually care less what was scurrying around. I read some journals from folks a month or two behind who seemed to have bad problems. Maybe they are worse in the summer or after hundreds of people have come thru on a consistant basis. I just dont know.

However my worst experience was on the LT last month at duck brook shelter. a little guy would not quit going after my foodbag even tho it was properly hung on the tuna can/rope in shelter. Im sure little guys tried to get in my food each night on the AT, i was simply too tired to care or notice. Going back to a section/day hiker I tend to not sleep so soundly I guess :)

Hanging your food, not spilling food and eating away from shelters greatly cuts down on the risk of mice. I never experienced any of the horrible mice stories I heard of the georgia shelters and I slept in woodshole, low gap, tray and plumorchard. Could also be that we were so packed like sardines there were no room for mice!

steve hiker
03-14-2004, 21:19
It seems "problem mice" have been around for some time, since the first thru-hiker. This is from Earl Shaffer's book "Walking With Spring," about stopping at a Tennessee shelter in 1948 --


"The old route continued up Watauga Valley, finally turning into timberland. Marking was good and I hastened on, looking for shelter, and came to a small ramshackle leanto. Rain began and the roof leaked but the most unfortunate thing about the shelter was the mouse that peeked from a cranny. I was forewarned but thought the pack would be safe next to my head. The little rascal was bolder than expected and managed to chew a hole in my waterproof bag, leaving souvenirs in everything, including the salt. Most of my supplies had to be thrown away."

Kozmic Zian
03-15-2004, 15:48
Yea....why? All of that...and the fact that if you get to the shelter and it's not crowded you have a tendency to set up your spot, hoping nobody else comes. Also, if the weather turns bad overnight, you have the clean up, dry out the next am. I rather camp out....I take a small batt op'ed weather radio. So's I can anticipate rather or not I want to stay a shelter. As far as the mices go....just set your sleeping area up with enough space beside and behind for the mices to run around you....then they don't have the urge to 'jump over your head' so much.....KZ@

Brushy Sage
08-23-2004, 18:53
If this development spreads, the mice might hike beside us:

http://www.nynewsday.com/news/health/ny-hsmouse0824,0,7562101,print.story?coll=ny-health-headlines

Mountain Dew
08-24-2004, 05:33
Grimace, :"I sstayed in tons of shelters and barely noticed them. I did hike SOBO which may make a difference. On the occasion that they were eating the shelter at night, ear plugs did the trick. I slept so well out there that they may have been crawling on my face, but I doubt it." --- oh man I just got a good laugh when reading this one. On my 2003 thru-hike me and a friend got in late to a shelter just south of Hanover and a lone hiker was already asleep inside. Upon reading the register we discovered that he was a Sobo. Soon after that we saw a mouse climbing all over this Sobo who had ear plugs in. The dang mouse even started to eat crumbs out of his beard. Our Eyes bulged at one point when we thought the mouse was gonna go inside his mouth which was wide open ! If that would have happened we would have considered waking this guy despite being a sobo for health reasons ofcourse. :D

Uncle Wayne
08-24-2004, 06:39
I have a friend that uses a Dorito bag to hold the mice and then releases them the next morning. Here's what he recommends:

Place your pack diagonal to the corner of the shelter (or use your boots) and place the empty bag in the void created. Your pack or boots will hold it up nicely, and allow the mice to climb up to enter the bag. But, they will not be able to climb out! They will be nicely contained for the evening.

I've never tried this but may on our next section hike just to see if it will keep the mice from climbing through my wife's hair. She doesn't like mice climbing through her hair. :D

Kerosene
08-24-2004, 08:56
Seems like they'd make a lot of noise trying to get out of a Dorito bag all night. I wonder what the record is for the number of mice caught this way in one night?

MDSHiker
08-24-2004, 09:34
The worst night I ever spent in a shelter was at Russell Field in the Smokies. Those dang mice were running everywhere...even over my sleeping bag and hands. Still, the shelters are awesome and a tiny little mouse should never stop anyone from using one. I use shelters based upon their location, and therefore don't rely on them. I always carry a shelter with me...it's just smart. There are many nights on the AT that I hang my hammock near a shelter. I guess you can say I just go by the mood I'm in at the time. Lets not forget all the awesome people that help to build/maintain the shelters. I always appreciate them when on the AT.

Jersey Bob
08-24-2004, 10:15
at least 10 characters

MDSHiker
08-24-2004, 10:26
Another reason to carry a tent !

grrickar
08-24-2004, 12:56
So just how crowded can one expect the shelters in the Smokies to be in the fall? I am secretly hoping they will be full so I can stay in my tent (after all I having to carry it, so why not?) I think the rule is that you HAVE to stay in a shelter unless the shelter is full. I'd much rather stay in my tent, even in the rain. If I wanted a roof over my head I'd camp in my neighbor's toolshed.

Blue Jay
08-24-2004, 13:10
So just how crowded can one expect the shelters in the Smokies to be in the fall? I am secretly hoping they will be full so I can stay in my tent (after all I having to carry it, so why not?) I think the rule is that you HAVE to stay in a shelter unless the shelter is full. I'd much rather stay in my tent, even in the rain. If I wanted a roof over my head I'd camp in my neighbor's toolshed.

Just set up out of sight, well off the trail and don't start a fire. No one will bother you. Toolsheds are great as tools don't snore.

Lone Wolf
08-24-2004, 13:28
I always tent in the Smokys. Shelters suck.

springerfever
08-24-2004, 14:16
I can't take credit for this recipe, but here goes..

Wrap mouse in slice of bacon, skewer and cook over open flame
till browned.......Delicious !!!

Spirit Walker
08-24-2004, 14:38
Fall is leaf peeper season. If you are out on a weekend, the shelter may be full. If you aren't thruhiking though, you have to reserve a spot in the shelter though, so it may not be so full that you can't stay.

Chip
08-24-2004, 18:31
So far I find that the new shelters built in the last couple of years to have less mice problems along with the fact these tend to be cleaner with less trash and food residue that has built up over the years under the sleeping platform. Some of the new shelters still have mice. Slept in the new Gooch Gap Shelter this past May, did hear or see one anywhere, same for Woods hole Shelter. Now Blue Mountain, Tray mountain had a few. The Blue Mountain mice were jumping around. Reminded me of popcorn in an air popper. :D We slept in some shelters and sometime we used our tent. If my wife saw mouse droppings at one shelter one day and if she saw them them again the next day at the next shelter ... "the mice poops are bigger here let's stay in the tent" she would say.:p Anyhow the mice won't bother you to much. Hang your food, open your pockets on your pack.

Happy Trails,
Chip ;)

Lobo
08-24-2004, 22:40
The first night of my hike at Stover Creek I had a mouse run across my legs and awoke to find one sitting on my pillow. The next night at Hawk Mountain, the mice were squeeking and fighting so loudly we could hardly go to sleep. At several other shelters mice woke me up when they were licking the hair on my head trying to get salt (wear a hat!).

The Wood Rats were another story. A family of rats lived under the floorboards of Lamberts Meadow Shelter and they emerged a dusk to run and jump about the shelter. We tried to wack them with our hiking sticks, but were unsuccessful. A rat at Rausch Gap chewed through the webbing of my hiking stick.

ffstenger
08-25-2004, 08:07
Mice I've seen a plenty, they make lots a noise and rarely get something in my pack, but never really bothered me. A big wood rat in SNP got my attention at first, but when he stood up on his hind feet and I saw his pretty white belly, aw he was soooo cute. I couldn't hurt him.... he left me alone too. But a big ole porcupine was trying to eat the the shelter one night, now THAT was loud!!
Showme

SGT Rock
08-25-2004, 08:56
The mice at Blue Mountain Shleter were very bold when I was there in 2001. They didn't wait until dark to start assulting the packs and performing Ninja like tricks for us. Luckily the porch on the shelter was good for hanging a hammock so I didn't have to deal with sleeping with the tiny creatures.

Rain Man
08-25-2004, 09:11
When I did my little section hike around the Standing Indian Mtn, NC loop two weekends ago, the trail maintainer said something I wish I had asked him about.

He mentioned they were "trying something" about the mice in shelters. We only stayed in one shelter, Big Springs Shelter, but there were NO mice.

Any idea what they are "trying" in shelters regarding the mice???

Rain Man

.

Lone Wolf
08-25-2004, 09:14
Poisoning the little bastards!

Lobo
08-25-2004, 10:18
A thru-hiker in 2000 killed 28 mice in one night at Hightop Hut in SNP by baiting two traps with peanut butter and working them all night long. He really hated mice!

steve hiker
08-25-2004, 11:19
Is that the guy who set his mice out on a windowsill the next day, all lined up in a neat dead row? Saw a pic awhile back and saved it as a screensaver, but don't have a link.

Lobo
08-25-2004, 14:47
I heard that the "Mouse Slayer of Hightop Hut" left the mouse carcasses in a large pile on the floor. I arrived the next day, April 26th, and they were gone. Apparently a south-bound section hiker buried each one under 28 seperate rocks. She really loved mice!

Jersey Bob
08-25-2004, 15:58
at least 10 characters

RITBlake
12-27-2005, 15:28
My one real pre-thru hike fear was that of mice. I know it is irrational and silly, but even as a grown man, I am simply afraid of mice. I don't know why, but the idea of something like that crawling on me was too much to handle. Anyway, it was my impression that the mice weren't really bad at all. Granted we did a sobo hike and the majority of the mice probably had been killed off but we never had a major incident. We did make a stand against some mice at a shelter just north of Max Patch. At 330 in the morning, 35 degrees out, Don King and I were outside the shelter in our skivvies trying to swat and kill off a wave of mice that was advancing on the shelter. The next morning we joked around about it being a D-Day like mouse invasion. Fun to laugh about now, but at the time it was un-nerving.

Lonewolf is right though, If I thru hike again, I will avoid shelters, and hammock more. Sheltering is just easier and faster, but in the end its probably not worth it.


Anway, I thought I would go back to this old post that I used to read and say that I survived my thru hike and the mice!

weary
12-27-2005, 18:14
The mice are as bad as you allow them to be. That may sound like a bit of flim flam but the truth is that they generally don't mess with you unless you're careless and "bait" with food. Bottom line ...the mice are in EVERY shelter, bar none! The degree to which they get into your stuff is directly proportional to how well you clean up and pack up after eating.
Personally, I find chipmonks to be much more aggresive and damaging.
All true. But they didn't really bother me. One mouse predator did, however. It was in Pennsylvania. Unbalanced Bruce (he had bipolar disease) left a note in the register about waking up at night with something crawling across his chest. He grabbed it and flung it outside. An inspection with his flashlight revealed a 3 inch diameter black snake.

I warned my grandson and others at the shelter not to read the register. Of course, they all did. None of us slept much that night.

But my most exciting victory over a mouse occurred about the age of 9 and well away from the AT. I came home from school one evening to discover a crushed mouse in my boot. I was a hero for a couple of days, being the first of several siblings to ever kill a fellow creature.

Weary

Smooth
12-27-2005, 19:57
Yes the mice can be bad. Yes I had one lick peanutbutter off of my lips. Very upsetting. Some carried a mouse trap and would trap out each shelter upon arrival before cooking or sleeping. Some objected to that practice. They usually followed somebody who traped the shelters clean before them. The shelter mice are educated and have comunications with adjacent shelters. I tried to stay away from shelters, however no choise in SMNP. Great thread. "the Virginian" ? had a great idea of placing a little peanutbutter on your sheltermates forhead at night.

JoeHiker
12-28-2005, 11:07
While hiking the Long Trail this fall, I stayed at Shelters twice. Even though I hung my pack and clothes, the mice were everywhere and kept waking me up. The second night I tried using traps and peanut butter -- managed to catch 7 of them but it still kept up all night. I gave up and slept in my hammock the remaining nights. Best decisionI made on the trail

Rain Man
12-28-2005, 12:08
... Unbalanced Bruce (he had bipolar disease) left a note in the register about waking up at night with something crawling across his chest. He grabbed it and flung it outside. An inspection with his flashlight revealed a 3 inch diameter black snake....

I trust he had the brains (one half or the other!) to go out, get the thing, and bring it back in the shelter, where it'd keep all those mice away!!!

Rain:sunMan

.

Old Spice
12-28-2005, 14:38
they can't be any worse than the mice in my lovely nyc hovel of an apartment. cheers.

Smooth
12-28-2005, 19:08
they can't be any worse than the mice in my lovely nyc hovel of an apartment. cheers.:D Hey Old Spice, You will not have a problem with mice, those who live eleswhere will. They lack experance. NYC had the friendliest people I met along the trail, most willing to stop talk and share. Must be the mouse training.

jad
12-28-2005, 20:29
in 2002 spent a night in thomas shelter with a rather large black snake that lived just under the roof. didn't like the idea but i thought at least there shouldn't be a mouse problem. WRONG just as many mice as any other shelter

neo
12-28-2005, 22:19
i have never had any mice since i started hammocking,if you avoid shelters
you will avoid mice completely:cool: neo

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=9410&c=577

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=7889&c=577

smokymtnsteve
12-29-2005, 01:29
i have never had any mice since i started hammocking,if you avoid shelters
you will avoid mice completely:cool: neo

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=9410&c=577

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=7889&c=577


yea but were all not Swingers like U neo :cool:

hopefulhiker
12-29-2005, 09:29
In Low gap shelter I felt something rubbing my toe deep in my sleeping bag. I reached and grabbed the thing and felt it's little heart pumping as I hurled it from the sleeping bag. It was either a mouse or a shrew. In Maine towards the end of the season the mice become more aggressive. The squirrels are like little swat teams. I set my pack down with a bag of gorp lying out to go for five minutes to get water... came back and about a half a pound of gorp had vanished... The litte guard ropes hanging from shelters don't work anymore up north. Also don't trust the bear boxes. Hang instead. The mice can easily find their way in. Good luck!

Cookerhiker
12-29-2005, 12:20
I've had some mouse problems over the years but not enough to get hung up about. On my 30 day section hike in NH-ME, I slept in shelters nearly every night and only once were mice a factor. That night, I ended up hanging the entire pack from a tree.

So far, I've never had a mouse or other animal get my food when I've hung my food from a tree aways from the shelter.

Last spring, I foolishly left my bandana out on a mild night at Sarver Shelter in Virginia - it was shredded the next morning.

Blissful
12-29-2005, 15:48
That's why I plan to tent - in my new Christmas squall tarptent (unless the weather is really, really nasty). Leave the mice to braver folk.

middle to middle
01-08-2006, 12:56
I do not recall where I learned this but I hung my pack in the shelter from piano wire. The logic is that the attacking mouse will climb up and attempt to shinny down the wire. Too slick for his little feet and he slides and crashes off your food bag or pack. They chew anything with sweat on it too. The wire is light weight and works.

tiamalle
01-08-2006, 20:57
I do not recall where I learned this but I hung my pack in the shelter from piano wire. The logic is that the attacking mouse will climb up and attempt to shinny down the wire. Too slick for his little feet and he slides and crashes off your food bag or pack. They chew anything with sweat on it too. The wire is light weight and works.
I would hike from shelter to shelter in the south with some poisen but I'm afraid some hiker who couldn't rean would eat it thinking it was health food.
:o :o :o

Valmet
01-10-2006, 21:56
I have had both good and bad experiences with mice. I have been in shelters that had none and one that ran me out during a freezing rain to set up my tent. Ever since then I try and not stay at them. I find the critters a pain in the butt and get tired of them running around. I like to use the shelters to eat etc, but go set up my tent up to sleep. I also have less tolerance for people that snore than the mice, so to avoid both I sleep outside. :-)

Newb
01-11-2006, 11:24
There's a mouse repellent on the market that relies on natural herbs for it's action. You can put a couple of bags of it in your pack or around yourself and keep the critters away.

This stuff will not only repel the mice, but make your pack smell purty.

http://www.northerncorners.com/fresh_cab.htm

neo
01-11-2006, 12:14
if ya stay the ****** away from shelters ya will not have a problem with mice:cool: neo

longshank
01-11-2006, 15:34
I have a friend that uses a Dorito bag to hold the mice and then releases them the next morning. Here's what he recommends:

Place your pack diagonal to the corner of the shelter (or use your boots) and place the empty bag in the void created. Your pack or boots will hold it up nicely, and allow the mice to climb up to enter the bag. But, they will not be able to climb out! They will be nicely contained for the evening.

I've never tried this but may on our next section hike just to see if it will keep the mice from climbing through my wife's hair. She doesn't like mice climbing through her hair. :D
Or you can just smash the bag with a rock...

minnesotasmith
01-11-2006, 15:46
Totally variable. (Summer 2005, I section-hiked all but the northern-most 8 miles of the AT in Georgia; this post is based solely upon that experience.) Some shelters, never saw a one. Others, they drove me nuts, even though I bear cabled everything I owned that I didn't need for sleeping. The two nights I have shared a shelter with someone who had a dog (young pit bull, to be precise), I did not see nor hear a single mouse; I suspect there was a connection.

I may bring a mousetrap and try to "trap out" the most aggressive mice at a shelter, and see how that works out. I've heard of someone catching as many as 29 mice in a night with a single trap, so that may or may not help much. Anyone who wants to kill mice (e.g., by pouring boiling water in their holes) is okay by me; I might even help you collect wood for the fire you're heating water on...

halibut15
01-16-2006, 22:42
From all my experiences, just tent it. Screw the mice and their shelters.:banana

dizzyT
01-16-2006, 23:05
Where are the areas that you are not allowed to use a tent?

wyclif
01-17-2006, 03:29
Smoky Mountain National Park does not allow you to use tents as far as I know...it's bear country and you'll notice that many of the shelters there have chain-link fence over the open end of the shelter.

However, some people stealth camp in the Smokies anyway :rolleyes: especially hikers who hate mice or, to a lesser degree, snoring or crowding.

Even with black bears around as long as you hang your food away from camp and don't smear peanut butter or coffee grounds on your clothes, you should be fine.

dizzyT
01-17-2006, 22:24
I'm sorry.....what is stealth camping? Is it legal?

Jack Tarlin
01-17-2006, 22:39
1. Stealth camping is camping where you technically should not, i.e. setting up your camp somewhere you either know, or have reason to believe that camping is prohibited. (This usully but not always involves a location or Park where overnighting is limited to specific posted areas and prohibited in others).

2. And tenting IS permitted in the Smokies, with two conditions: You can only do it when a shelter is full, and you can only do it in the area immediately adjacent to a shelter. Otherwise, it is prohibited in the Park, and people caught tenting otherwise risk a hefty ticket and expulsion from the Park.

Jack Tarlin
01-17-2006, 22:40
Stealth camping by its very definition involves breaking rules and regulations; in some cases, this does indeed mean it is against the law, which effectively means that stealth campers do this at their own risk understanding the possible consequences.

dizzyT
01-17-2006, 22:51
I prefer mice to fines thats for sure. Are the Smokies the only place like this?

wyclif
01-17-2006, 22:59
Stealth camping by its very definition involves breaking rules and regulations; in some cases, this does indeed mean it is against the law, which effectively means that stealth campers do this at their own risk understanding the possible consequences.

Far be it from me to advocate illegal activity, and you should definitely weight the risks mentioned above. :rolleyes:

BUT...even if the shelters aren't full in the Smokies (unlikely if you're doing a NOBO), some hikers don't want to deal with the mice and sleeping behind 3 walls and fence instead of under the stars.

If nobody knows where your camp is, you're out of sight of the trail, and you hang your food and don't disrupt the environment, nobody will ever know the difference.

drsukie
01-17-2006, 23:28
Even with black bears around as long as you hang your food away from camp and don't smear peanut butter or coffee grounds on your clothes, you should be fine.

Damn! I figured it would be easier to wear breakfast! Now I have to think of something else to amuse me while stealth camping....:p Sue

Sly
01-18-2006, 07:04
Stealth camping by its very definition involves breaking rules and regulations; in some cases, this does indeed mean it is against the law, which effectively means that stealth campers do this at their own risk understanding the possible consequences.

LOL... That's Jack's "holier than thou" AT definition. Originally it was a term used by Ray Jardine in the PCT Thru-hikers Handbook in an effort to get away from people and bears in the High Sierra and to have a better experience...

"Stealth camping. If you can manage to camp away from the water sources, and from the established campsites, then the many wonderful advantages of stealth camping will be yours. Stealth camping is a cleaner, warmer and quieter way to camp, and it offers a much better connection with nature. In all likelihood no one has camped at your impromptu stealth-site before, and the ground will be pristine. Its thick, natural cushioning of the forest materials will still be in place, making for comfortable bedding without the use of a heavy inflatable mattress. There will be no desiccated stock manure to rise as dust and infiltrate your lungs, nor any scatter of unsightly litter and stench of human waste. The stealth-site will not be trampled and dished; any rainwater will soak into the ground or run off it, rather than collect and flood your shelter. Bears scrounging for human food will be busy at the water-side campsites, and will almost invariably ignore the far-removed and unproductive woods. Far from the water sources you will encounter fewer flying insects, particularly upon the more breezy slopes and ridges. Above the katabatic zones the night air will be markedly warmer. And you can rest assured that your chances of being bothered by other people will be slim.

minnesotasmith
01-18-2006, 09:35
I prefer mice to fines thats for sure. Are the Smokies the only place like this?

Not being allowed to camp virtually whereever is also a major problem for nonrich and/or ascetically-inclined hikers in the White Mountains (which the Appalachian Money Club personally created, and are kept in existence only through the constant efforts of everyone working for the AMC). I've often wondered what the logic is, if it's okay to WALK or SIT on the bare rocks there, it's NOT okay to lay down (and sleep) on the bare rocks there. All I can figure is that the AMC was both smart enough and crooked enough to get a special privilege to try to force people unconnected with their organization into paying for use of a public trail, akin to making everyone buy a breathing license, or the local Mafia making every business chip in a 5% tax on every transaction. In economics, this is called successful "rent-seeking".

veteran
01-21-2006, 01:41
Deceased shelter mice:

http://www.earlham.edu/~oharjo/trail/2005-04-07/2005-04-07-Images/55.jpg

wyclif
01-21-2006, 17:05
Looks like there are some notorious shelters out there for mice. Section hiking as a kid, we never stayed in the shelters 'cos we wanted to tent. I suppose at some point we might be driven to the shelters, though.

I have a homemade piano wire mouse hanger with a lid in the middle. Should I bring it? Do the shelters all have bag hangers?

I've never been on the AT south of McAfee Knob; I have no idea how well the shelters down south are maintained. Any advice is appreciated!

drsukie
01-21-2006, 23:02
Deceased shelter mice:

http://www.earlham.edu/~oharjo/trail/2005-04-07/2005-04-07-Images/55.jpg

Dude! Did you do this? :datz Just kidding....How long did the funeral services take? Sue ;)

C'est La Vie
01-21-2006, 23:08
Mice!? some of them can be bold. Just give them what they want and nobody gets hurt.

general
01-22-2006, 10:15
Deceased shelter mice:

http://www.earlham.edu/~oharjo/trail/2005-04-07/2005-04-07-Images/55.jpg

nice harvest. happy hunting.

Doctari
01-22-2006, 21:18
I have a friend that uses a Dorito bag to hold the mice and then releases them the next morning. Here's what he recommends:

Place your pack diagonal to the corner of the shelter (or use your boots) and place the empty bag in the void created. Your pack or boots will hold it up nicely, and allow the mice to climb up to enter the bag. But, they will not be able to climb out! They will be nicely contained for the evening.

I've never tried this but may on our next section hike just to see if it will keep the mice from climbing through my wife's hair. She doesn't like mice climbing through her hair. :D


Oh man, are you in for a rude awakining :bse

One of my girls can go thru the side of a plastic bag in less than 4 seconds if she wants, a foil bag would take just a bit longer. Granted they are rats so are a bit bigger, but my girls are well fed & not very motivated.
As a treat, I give them the mini bags of chips, unopened, I just toss it in the cage.

Elizabeth (a rat, 8 - 10 OZ) can open a cookie tin, unaided, in about 20 minutes. She loves chocolate, almost as much as she does chasing cats. In case you are wondering: she runs free, sleeps with whoever is warmest, including a 27 Lb cat (cat is FULLY armed: teeth & claws)

Point is: never underestimate a rodent!

BTW: after sleeping with a rat in my bed for the past year or so, I don't even notice shelter mice anymore:p


Doctari.

Ridge
01-22-2006, 23:33
Not too bad if you saut&#233; them in mushroom soup and onions then top with a mild cheese. Also, great with mac-n-cheese dishes. But, on a serious note, if hikers didn't leave food scraps on the ground and in shelters mice (and snakes that follow) wouldn't be as bad.

jungleland1972
12-14-2018, 14:36
Trying to use an old thread instead of starting something new. Going North out of Harpers Ferry over Christmas (just a few nights) and was wondering if mice would be more/less active in freezing weather than in the Summer. Anybody have Wintertime shelter experience with mice?

Dogwood
12-14-2018, 16:30
The mice aren't the main problem It's the people. The mice are responding to the human animal's behavior.

bighammer
12-14-2018, 19:19
They didn't scare me at all to see or hear them, only when I felt them I jumped.

Traffic Jam
12-14-2018, 22:14
They didn't scare me at all to see or hear them, only when I felt them I jumped.
Had a sleepless night one time when I kept feeling the little critters skittering around and touching my arm. I must have startled awake a dozen times.

Turned out my daughter, who was sleeping close to me, kept brushing up against me. :)

greensleep
12-15-2018, 09:35
Trying to use an old thread instead of starting something new. Going North out of Harpers Ferry over Christmas (just a few nights) and was wondering if mice would be more/less active in freezing weather than in the Summer. Anybody have Wintertime shelter experience with mice?

I spent a night in a shelter in Northern PA in April this year. Temps down to low 20s at night and the mice were busy all night.

LazyLightning
12-15-2018, 10:46
I didn't have an issue the 13 nights I spent in a shelter on trail, but can you tell I still didn't like the shelters? …. out of 174 nights in my tent on trail, I only saw mice near my tent when I got up to Maine, and it was getting cold. I even had to kick one off my screen mesh a couple times. Another time one kept creeping close and I'd smack the ground to scare it off. I heard of them chewing through tents but I didn't have that happen.

What you really need to worry about up north is the flying squirrels, especially if your hanging your food. I had them chew into my food bag hanging in mid air on 2 separate occasions and that is the reason I'm switching to a bear canister for future hikes - not the bears. I can hang my food good from then but I couldn't believe them flying squirrels...

Deadeye
12-15-2018, 12:34
Love to eat them mousies
Mousies what I love to eat
Bite they little heads off
Nibble on they tiny feet
- B. Kliban

Dogwood
12-15-2018, 16:08
I didn't have an issue the 13 nights I spent in a shelter on trail, but can you tell I still didn't like the shelters? …. out of 174 nights in my tent on trail, I only saw mice near my tent when I got up to Maine, and it was getting cold. I even had to kick one off my screen mesh a couple times. Another time one kept creeping close and I'd smack the ground to scare it off. I heard of them chewing through tents but I didn't have that happen.

What you really need to worry about up north is the flying squirrels, especially if your hanging your food. I had them chew into my food bag hanging in mid air on 2 separate occasions and that is the reason I'm switching to a bear canister for future hikes - not the bears. I can hang my food good from then but I couldn't believe them flying squirrels...


I've had nocturnal flying squirrels eat through a bear cable hung food sack in GSMNP once. I caught it in the act. I've seen it occur twice to other people's hung food sacks during the night. It's why in some areas I'll use an Ursack Minor for chewing rodent protection which is probably a good idea to use on the AT FOR RODENTS, especially if relying on AT lean to's. I've seen or had Gray and Red squirrels eat through hung stuff sacks too. The metal disks seen on GSMNP bear cables and tin lids or tin cans on AT lean to mouse trapeze' are there to thwart rodents or other animals climbing down the lines. Well when squirrels can jump 15 ft or more or glide like 'Flying Squirrels' they can get at a hung food bag. Birds also attack hung food sacks. I believe there are flying squirrels in GSMNP that have been conditioned to easy to obtain hung human food. I've had this conversation with several GSMNP NP Rangers and one Wildlife Biologists and they all agreed it does happen. It's also a reason why where bear cables are provided the brush and small trees growing up in the vicinity are cleared. 'Bear cables' aren't just for protecting food from bears.

Dogwood
12-15-2018, 16:11
Some folks think it's bats, that's what I thought at one time, until catching flying squirrels hanging from and eating through hung food sacks.

NO, I don't suggest we allow a GSMNP flying squirrel small game hunt!

Mother Natures Son
12-15-2018, 18:13
Remember this, the mouse will all ways be bad in the South. By time you reach PA, they're food!

MuddyWaters
12-15-2018, 18:26
The worst...imo..is when they have gnawed into shelter logs and built nests inside. The constant gnawing is amplified by the hollow wood.. all....night....long.

Beating on wood stops them for a minute, then starts right back up. Earplugs required.

egilbe
12-15-2018, 18:49
The worst...imo..is when they have gnawed into shelter logs and built nests inside. The constant gnawing is amplified by the hollow wood.. all....night....long.

Beating on wood stops them for a minute, then starts right back up. Earplugs required.

We stayed at Kinsman pond shelter a couple nights this Summer. There was a piece of shelter log cover on the upper deck where we were sleeping. We went to bed and heard this gnawing/grinding noise all night. The next morning, the cover was just pile of fuzz with little mouse droppings around it. We assumed it was pine beatles eating the shelter. I hate mice.

Five Tango
12-15-2018, 19:02
Please forgive me for posting this.If you're squeamish you might not want to watch it.However,I have often wondered why every shelter does not have one of these.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SIlYiiCGLI

TNhiker
12-15-2018, 19:29
Some folks think it's bats, that's what I thought at one time, until catching flying squirrels hanging from and eating through hung food sacks.

NO, I don't suggest we allow a GSMNP flying squirrel small game hunt!




bears have also learned to tight rope and/or shake the cables to get the bags down....

a kiosk in cataloochee a few years ago had pictures of bears on the cables...

Cheyou
12-15-2018, 20:11
I have never witnessed anyone carried off by a gang of mice. Have witnessed damage to backpacks by mice. Leaving zippers open on pockets doesn’t always stop them from chewing holes. The tent areas ,not surprisingly have mice to. May b the shelter cost the mice more for rent or higher class of mice . More mice in the shelter ? A study should b done.

MuddyWaters
12-15-2018, 20:39
I have never witnessed anyone carried off by a gang of mice. Have witnessed damage to backpacks by mice. Leaving zippers open on pockets doesn’t always stop them from chewing holes. The tent areas ,not surprisingly have mice to. May b the shelter cost the mice more for rent or higher class of mice . More mice in the shelter ? A study should b done.

I think shelters have way more.

But ive had mouse in tent at shelter too

30 sec after i laid down and turned off light the little bugger was sitting on my chest

Dont know when or how it got in. Could been zipper gap. Or maybe got in pack while setting tent up. Had a spirited chase for several minutes to get it out.

LazyLightning
12-15-2018, 20:57
I caught a flying squirrel in the act to, that's how I knew what it was the second time it happened. I actually had to kick it off my food bag as I lowered it and saw it running around the outside of my bag.

Dogwood
12-15-2018, 23:10
bears have also learned to tight rope and/or shake the cables to get the bags down....

a kiosk in cataloochee a few years ago had pictures of bears on the cables...
Bears and raccoons trying to tight rope cables are hilarious. The acrobatic high flying tight rope wandering, vertical Cliffhanger antics, and leaping abilities of mice, squirrels and chipmunks are Wildlife Parkour AWESOME. I like betting on whose human food they'll get at first.

Dogwood
12-15-2018, 23:33
The worst...imo..is when they have gnawed into shelter logs and built nests inside. The constant gnawing is amplified by the hollow wood.. all....night....long.

Beating on wood stops them for a minute, then starts right back up. Earplugs required.

Ever stay at one of the AT lean to's with stone walls the mice are nesting? Ever note mortared joints lacking mortar? How do you think that came about? Ever see mice moving around bits of crumbly mortar using their little front paws and stuffing it into their cheek pouches to be spit out on the ground? I don't remember the name of the AT shelter but when all the lights were turned out many sets of beady little eyes shown out through those joints. Everyone in the shelter knew we were being watched and stalked by the patient pitter pattering meese. The next morning with a late start at 8 the stone wall started heating up. What animals eat mice and like basking on warmed rock? Yup it was one of the few times I ever saw together a rattlesnake and copperhead trying to dart their oversized heads into the mortar missing joints expecting to rouse a mouse.

A hungry mouse(mice are always hungry) with a Snickers wrapper sound like a new Neo Air and group of Kindergartners on Christmas morning all trying to sit on it at once.

I like it when you turn the lights on the daring brave ones that don't run as if to say "turn the damn light off can't you see I'm trying to lick this wrapper to death?" Ever see a mouse's tongue? It's so small.

Dogwood
12-15-2018, 23:37
Ahh, all you AT lean to luvin hikers are in for a real rodent, bear, and reptile treat. It's like being at the Zoo with no bars or containment to restrict viewing and stalking the Zoo's primary animal exhibit - YOU! :D

bighammer
12-16-2018, 00:54
I've had nocturnal flying squirrels eat through a bear cable hung food sack in GSMNP once. I caught it in the act. I've seen it occur twice to other people's hung food sacks during the night. It's why in some areas I'll use an Ursack Minor for chewing rodent protection which is probably a good idea to use on the AT FOR RODENTS, especially if relying on AT lean to's. I've seen or had Gray and Red squirrels eat through hung stuff sacks too. The metal disks seen on GSMNP bear cables and tin lids or tin cans on AT lean to mouse trapeze' are there to thwart rodents or other animals climbing down the lines. Well when squirrels can jump 15 ft or more or glide like 'Flying Squirrels' they can get at a hung food bag. Birds also attack hung food sacks. I believe there are flying squirrels in GSMNP that have been conditioned to easy to obtain hung human food. I've had this conversation with several GSMNP NP Rangers and one Wildlife Biologists and they all agreed it does happen. It's also a reason why where bear cables are provided the brush and small trees growing up in the vicinity are cleared. 'Bear cables' aren't just for protecting food from bears.

I worried about something getting my food in the night, so I kept it in my tent every night. I had a couple 12x20 Loksak bags, one for food, one for trash. The only night I had any trouble was when I remembered I had part of a bag of Peanut M&M's and I got into them in the middle of the night. I heard footsteps (of what I thought was another hiker) get closer and circle my tent, so close, I thought they would trip over the staked lines holding it up. I opened the zipper to find it was a bear, who retreated quickly.

https://www.amazon.com/LOKSAK-Re-Sealable-Odorless-Protection-Humidity/dp/B00UTK957K?th=1&psc=1

Jayne
12-19-2018, 17:39
Yeah, an opsack is nice but it isn't going to fool a bear:

"Bears are thought to have the best sense of smell of any animal on earth. For example, the average dog's sense ofsmell is 100 times better than a humans. A blood hound's is 300 times better. A bear's sense of smell is 7 times better than a blood hound's or 2,100 times better than a human."

A Bear's Sense of Smell - Section Hikers Backpacking Blog
https://sectionhiker.com/bears_sense_of_smell/ (https://sectionhiker.com/bears_sense_of_smell/)

MuddyWaters
12-20-2018, 02:44
Yeah, an opsack is nice but it isn't going to fool a bear:

"Bears are thought to have the best sense of smell of any animal on earth. For example, the average dog's sense ofsmell is 100 times better than a humans. A blood hound's is 300 times better. A bear's sense of smell is 7 times better than a blood hound's or 2,100 times better than a human."

A Bear's Sense of Smell - Section Hikers Backpacking Blog


(https://sectionhiker.com/bears_sense_of_smell/)https://sectionhiker.com/bears_sense_of_smell/

^+

We have no concept of this.
Its more than smell, its scent. Its a whole other dimension of information we can only speculate at.
Bears find mates.......dozens of miles away ....by scent

What we know, is even dogs , can discriminate easily between scent of different people. And, know what direction they travelled in. Dogs can even detect cancer in body by smell.

A radio-collared bear was once observed travelling several miles upwind, in a straight line, and immediately retrieving a elk from 10' below water in a lake. The elk had been killed by landslide .

So yeah..its unlikely an opsak do much good .