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The Wisconsinite
08-29-2007, 15:20
I'm heading up to the AT from NYC to do a labor day hike off Route 22 from the metro north train. I'll be heading towards Connecticut doing the last two shelters in NY and then heading back to the train station monday. The thing is, I don't actually own any rope (seriously) or anything else to get my food away from bears, etc. I'm working a ton this week, so basically I'm wondering, do I take time off to hit up a hardware store, or will I be ok. I'm just asking because its a pain. There isn't a outdoors store within walking distance of work, and nothing is open by the time I get done at night. Can I hook a stuff sack on a high branch?

Toolshed
08-29-2007, 15:30
I'm heading up to the AT from NYC to do a labor day hike off Route 22 from the metro north train. I'll be heading towards Connecticut doing the last two shelters in NY and then heading back to the train station monday. The thing is, I don't actually own any rope (seriously) or anything else to get my food away from bears, etc. I'm working a ton this week, so basically I'm wondering, do I take time off to hit up a hardware store, or will I be ok. I'm just asking because its a pain. There isn't a outdoors store within walking distance of work, and nothing is open by the time I get done at night. Can I hook a stuff sack on a high branch?

You'd be more prone to squirrels, munks and/or pine martins getting into it just by hanging it on a branch.
The reposnsible line is to tell you to stop at any general store and get 50' of clothesline. But I have slept with my foodbag as my pillow in areas of Northern PA and the ADK's where bears are known to roam, I just didn't stay in developed camping areas where bears would associate food with people.

buckowens
08-29-2007, 15:34
I have not hiked that far north, but the biggest problem I had in GA and NC was rodents and squirrels. I rigged a pot lid to my bear bag to discourage their climbing down to it, and it seemed to work well.

I personally always use and encourage the use of bear bags as a way to help bears behave well. There is a good article about this in "Backpacker" this month taking about Yosemite and their clever black bears. A good read.

Even a garbage bag and some cheap rope should work for all the critters. I would still put a can lid or something on the rope to discourage them climbing down from the top. Lowe's, Hechingers, or Home Depot have rope that will work.

OldFeet
08-29-2007, 16:41
I've hiked the stretch from NY52 north to VT30 recently and have never seen a bear nor any evidence of home. As stated in previous posts though it wouldn't be a bad idea to at least have a length of cord to hang a food bag. I can't recall if the shelters there have critter hangers or not. Maybe someone knows about that.

DavidNH
08-29-2007, 18:13
No you don't have to worry about bears. any at risk sites have bear boxes. If you get to a campsite with a bear box..Use it!

What you DO have to worry about are the mice. Hang your food from either a small branch say 5-6 feet up or from mouse hang in a shelter.

If you really do want to see a bear in NY state... go to the bear mountain zoo! to see a bear in wild..go south to New jersey or north to New England!

David

hopefulhiker
08-29-2007, 18:15
Hang your food and use common sense.. Most of the bears I saw kept their distance

superman
08-29-2007, 18:40
I'm heading up to the AT from NYC to do a labor day hike off Route 22 from the metro north train. I'll be heading towards Connecticut doing the last two shelters in NY and then heading back to the train station monday. The thing is, I don't actually own any rope (seriously) or anything else to get my food away from bears, etc. I'm working a ton this week, so basically I'm wondering, do I take time off to hit up a hardware store, or will I be ok. I'm just asking because its a pain. There isn't a outdoors store within walking distance of work, and nothing is open by the time I get done at night. Can I hook a stuff sack on a high branch?

If you need something to worry about bears could do it for you. If you don't need to worry take the previous advice.

The Wisconsinite
08-29-2007, 18:42
Thanks everyone!

I'll probably go get some twine, just to be safe from all critters. But can someone explain how you use the top of a pot to keep mice off? I presume your pot has to have a hole in the top for a rope to go through (which mine does not), or else it would seem useless, right?

Lone Wolf
08-29-2007, 19:39
just spent 3 days in the smokys.saw a 1000 posters warning about bears. didn't see a GD one.

Grumpy Ol' Pops
08-29-2007, 20:51
Instead of a pot lid, I use a Frisbee with a hole in the center large enough to slip the rope through, tie a knot a few inches below the Frisbee and then tie onto the top of the bear bag. Chipmunks, squirrels, and other critters try to climb onto the plastic surface and can't get a foothold, so they fall to the ground.

JAK
08-29-2007, 22:06
Cool frisbee idea. I've only just started hanging my food regularly, and reduce and contain the odors as much as I can. It's not so much out of fear as bears are so shy here, but more out of respect knowing how many bears there are out there. They certainly know I am out there even if I don't see them. Amazing creatures, growing so big on mostly bugs and stuff. Anyhow, no sense giving them an opportunity to develop bad habits is the way I figure it. I've really gotten into soups recently though. That's a tough one.

7Sisters
08-29-2007, 22:25
If you're staying near a shelter, hang you food in the shelter on one of the hooks with a pot lid to prevet mice from attacking your food.

Regarding Bear - I wouldn't be so bold as to use it as a pillow, but I would and have slept with my food bad in my vestibule. You really need to be smart though and bring food that isn't as odorous.

I would also strongly advise taking your trash and putting it about 100 feet away under a rock. I've always found the trash to be the thing that smells the most. Make sure you pick it up in the morning though.

modiyooch
08-30-2007, 08:31
This summer we saw 8 bears(5 on the trail, and 3 near our campsite) in NJ and 1 (trail near a house) in Bellvale NY. That would be a little too close for comfort for me not to take precautions just 50-70 miles north. BTW I have only seen one other bear in my 27 years of AT hiking.

Landshark
08-30-2007, 17:34
There have been bears on the trail near the MA/VT border. Even if a shelter has "critter hooks" you should hang your food away from the shelter and do it right. I heard from another hiker that a bear got a hiker's food near Seth Warner shelter (which is the first one over the southern VT border). The food was hung in a tree, but not a big enough tree, and the bear pulled the tree over to get the food! Whether or not you hang it right you want your food away from you so the foraging bear doesn't forage for you instead. Even if there are few or no "nuisance" bears (those that have learned to associate people and campsites with food) in a section you are going to go to, hang food carefully so your food isn't the bag that starts a problem. Sorry for the lecture, a bear-phobic here! :eek:

Cuffs
08-30-2007, 18:08
Yes, bears can be dangerous. That said, I just did some research on bear attacks... The data in on another computer, but the stats were amazing.

FATAL dog attacks outnumbered fatal bear attacks by 3 times!

Cuffs
08-30-2007, 18:12
Heres the numbers...

From 1979 to 1996, dog bites killed 340 people in the United States, with most of the fatalities involving children 14 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Black bears and grizzly bears killed 133 people in North America in the past century.

SGT Rock
08-30-2007, 18:36
Carry a camera. Whenever I have one I never see bears.

JAK
08-30-2007, 18:47
Black Bears vary considerably in their size and behaviour and demographics from state to state and province to province. This might seem hard to believe, but there has never been a fatal bear attack in New Brunswick, and we have about 1 bear for every 2 square miles. How about Maine?

Still, they are certainly capable of doing harm. When I did my recent hike with my daughter I hung the food bag high and dry and well away, and kept her close. Still have to wonder though. At 48 pounds she's not much bigger than a food bag herself, so what is food and what is not? It's not like there is a lot of statistics on the behaviour of bears towards dad's and daughters in the backcountry, basically alone on foot, without the usual sounds of ATVs and so forth. I've resolved to et to know these bears a little better. I am going to try and talk to some guides during the upcoming Fall hunt. I would like to get a feel for how well they know these bears, and how much they might vary from one individual to another. Also whether or not baiting might be changing their behaviour one way or another. Near as I can tell it shouldn't be changing behaviour through interaction and natural selection much differently than the way natives hunted bear in the winter. The process was different, but the focus on preferentially selecting male bears and leaving older sows was much the same. Most newborns in New Brunswick are to relatively few older sows, in fairly large litters from what I've read. Of course the females don't get themselves pregnant. So perhaps the difference in behaviour has to do with the exent to which they are hunted, and what traits allow a male bear to successful pass on his genes. I would imagine out west in Grizzly country female Black Bears have a much different standard as to what constitutes a good catch, and they have a different stock of male Black Bears to choose from. I'm not saying our Black Bears are metrosexual or anything like that. I'm just saying they're perhaps a little more, well, domesticated.

Jack Tarlin
08-30-2007, 18:56
I know a guy who sells insurance.

He also hikes.

He told me once you have a better chance of getting killed by one of your house pets than by a bear in the wild.

Or by a co-worker.

He said you have a MUCH better chance of getting struck by lightning than getting seriously injured or killed by a bear.

Or getting electrocuted in your bathtub.

In fact, you have a better chance of dying on the toilet tomorrow morning than you do of having trouble with a bear.

Think about THAT around 7 o'clock tomorrow!

That beings said, be smart, pay attention, don't do dumb things. Be wise with your food in bear country, don't get too close, and stay away from cubs.

But most of all, don't obsess about this. There's no need.

JAK
08-30-2007, 19:23
I agree. With a young daughter it feel's a bit different as there are no real statistics to go on, but still its gotta be way safer in the woods with me and bears than here in the town with poorly trained dogs and who knows what else, and its a pretty quiet little town we have.

I think the natural approach is to take them into the woods with you, but keep them close until they are bigger, which is perhaps why they remain small as long as they do. Once they are bigger, assumng you haven't wasted their wee time teaching them nothing about the woods, then perhaps they can run off on their own.

Hmmm. Have to think about that one some more.
All the more reason to get her out hiking now, while I can, I guess.

Lone Wolf
08-30-2007, 19:44
Carry a camera. Whenever I have one I never see bears.

i'm hurt.:( you don't find me to be a bear? jeepers. i thought you more in tune than that.

SGT Rock
08-30-2007, 19:55
Naw, your a cub ;)

I hear if you filter water - bears will attack and eat you.

modiyooch
08-30-2007, 20:33
Think about the bear's welfare. In NJ, they say that a fed bear is a dead bear.

Lone Wolf
08-30-2007, 20:39
Think about the bear's welfare. In NJ, they say that a fed bear is a dead bear.

how much for an out-of-state tag? shotgun only, correct? i'd like to blast a bruin. sell the pelt to the brits. they make those goofy palace guard hats with bear skin. brits suck. william wallace had the right idea. he cross dressed but it don't make him a bad scot.:)

Jordan5
08-30-2007, 21:17
lol i did a trip in the smokeys and say lots of sigens 2 lol and didnt see one eather!!!! a tourist atraction mabe rolf!

weary
08-30-2007, 22:42
Carry a camera. Whenever I have one I never see bears.
So that's why I'm the only person in '93 who didn't see a bear.

Cuffs
08-31-2007, 10:50
I agree. With a young daughter it feel's a bit different as there are no real statistics to go on, but still its gotta be way safer in the woods with me and bears than here in the town with poorly trained dogs and who knows what else, and its a pretty quiet little town we have.



See post #16...

JAK
08-31-2007, 11:03
See post #16...Thanks. I wasn't all that clear. I meant here in New Brunswick where we have a lot of bears but no recorded fatalities in the past 500 years or whatever, which is pretty amazing really, but that the past doesn't always indicate the future, because people change and the environment changes and so bear behaviour can change also. We don't have a lot of people here though, and very few dads and daughter hiking back country on foot without a lot of gear and commotion, so how do I really know how a remote bear might behave towards someone smaller than a small deer or young moose? I don't really know for sure with any certainty. Basically the probability is probably very small though, and your data backs that up also, even if it is a different place and always different specific circumstances. Wouldn't want my daughter to be the exception that proves the rule though, so I keep studying bears. Cheers.

Cuffs
08-31-2007, 11:16
It would be interesting to compare US fatalities to Canadian, since you'd have to add Polar Bears into the mix too!!

JAK
08-31-2007, 13:21
It would be interesting to compare US fatalities to Canadian, since you'd have to add Polar Bears into the mix too!!Hey. Don't forget Alaska!!

As more eastern provinces go, Ontario and Quebec have had fatalities. They are much bigger provinces though, so it might be a statistical as well as a regional thing. Newfoundland and Labrador I am not sure about. I wonder though how the presence of wolves might be correlated with more aggressive bear behaviour, not neccessarily in a causative way. Anyhow, some woods are naturally more scary than others, but still a pretty safe place to be, most of the time. It's interesting though, how we still have this unnatural fear of the wild, or is it only natural ? ;)

JAK
08-31-2007, 14:11
Here is what I mean about the trouble with so little data,
although admittedly because there really are so few incidents.


Wildlife officials hunt bear that mauled family in Tennessee

CHEROKEE NATIONAL FOREST, Tenn. (CNN) -- An innocent afternoon outing to a scenic waterfall in the rugged mountains of eastern Tennessee turned into a tragic nightmare for an Ohio family Thursday, after a rare attack by a black bear that wildlife officials are now trying to track down and destroy.

The bear killed Elora Petrasek, 6, of Clyde, Ohio. Her mother, Susan Cenkus, 45, was in critical condition at a Chattanooga hospital. Her brother, Luke Cenkus, 2, was also hospitalized in Chattanooga in stable condition.

Attacks by black bears, which usually avoid humans, are rare. The girl's death is only the second confirmed fatal black bear attack ever in Tennessee, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Forest Ranger Dan Hicks said he was perplexed by the attack "because it goes against what I've been telling the public for a long time." -- CNN Correspondent Rick Sanchez contributed to this report. (Posted 9:34 p.m.)

JAK
08-31-2007, 14:51
Wikipedia has this pretty comprehensive list.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America_by_dec ade#1910s

They say the old data is unlikely to be complete because records were not kept, which makes sense. Still, you would think if anyone was even killed by a bear here in New Brunswick in the past 500 years, there would at least be a lumber camp story about it. Fewer people back then also, though we tend to get the impression there was more contact in the frontier days. Probably not so. I think it might make the most sense to try and study the nature of bears themselves, rather than worry too much about what to do about them. I mean from biologists and so forth. Generally more objective and informative than information on the internet related to whether or not bears should or shouldn't be hunted, or whether you should or shouldn't carry holy hand grenades and so forth and the like.

Here are some interesting article from the Fundy Shore in New Brunswick:
http://www.unbf.ca/forestry/centers/fundy/annotated_publications_parks_canada.htm

JAK
08-31-2007, 14:55
Found this one particularly interesting for my purposes, since its were I hike.
http://www.unbf.ca/forestry/centers/cwru/soe/bear1.htm

I would guess there are similar biological studies in your area.

Cuffs
08-31-2007, 15:14
While doing my "homework" on this for another source... what I found amazing is that THE number one animal that kills more humans than any other is the cute little BAMBI!! Ok, so they are not attacking people in the woods, but by crossing roads/highways, there are more fatalities due to deer than any other!! Hmmmm?

SGT Rock
08-31-2007, 15:30
From http://www.bearsmart.com/bearFacts/TruthAboutBears.html



Each year in the USA and Canada
1 in 16,000 people commit murder
1 in 35,000 grizzly bears have killed a human
1 in 100,000 black bears have killed a human
(Source: US Department of Justice)

JAK
08-31-2007, 16:04
It's interesting that both humans and bears seem to be less dangerous in places like Maine and New Brunswick. Different reasons likely. Less population density on the part of humans. Not sure about the bears, but bears are not all that aggressive anyway, like you say. Taxi drivers are the most likely to be murdered. 1 in 4,000 in the 1980s.

http://www.benbest.com/lifeext/murder.html#world

Landshark
09-07-2007, 19:14
I read somewhere that statistically speaking, one of the most dangerous jobs (as far as the risk of being murdered goes) is to be a U.S. president.

Or, may I add, to be the VP's hunting buddy? (Had to go there, couldn't resist).

emerald
09-07-2007, 20:38
Forest Ranger Dan Hicks said he was perplexed by the attack "because it goes against what I've been telling the public for a long time."

There's a word bite of reassuring information!:rolleyes: :-? :o

Tin Man
09-07-2007, 20:44
It's funny that every time I tell someone about my trail adventures the first question is usually, "aren't you afraid of bears"? My response is usually along the lines of "never give it much thought. Aren't you afraid of driving, crossing the sidewalk, muggers, your fellow employees, your spouse? Now that is some scary stuff."

emerald
09-07-2007, 21:08
I know what you mean Tin Man. Crazy the things people worry about. I'm more concerned with cattle crossings and commuters.:eek:

Tin Man
09-07-2007, 21:15
I know what you mean Tin Man. Crazy the things people worry about. I'm more concerned with cattle crossings and commuters.:eek:

The cattle on my street are not the problem, nor are the deer or the turkey, fox, etc. It is the damn commuters who slam on the brakes to avoid them!

emerald
09-07-2007, 21:26
Ain't that the truth. They all ought to telecommute.

Lauriep
09-08-2007, 15:38
The chances that youíll be hurt by a black bear are extremely low. The chance that a bear may try to get your food are a little higher. In the last few years, the worst incidents we know of involved a hiker being bit lightly on the leg and a hiker being dragged through the woods in a bivy sack. In the first case, they hiker was sleeping close to a pack with food in it; in the second, food may have been in the hikerís bivy with her (but we donít know for certain).

However, once a bear gets a taste of human food and finds it easy pickings, he may come back for more. He may start to lose his fear of people and become a nuisance. Eventually a nuisance bear may have to be relocated, occasionally even put to death.

Bears inhabit just about every county the A.T. passes through. Just because you havenít heard about a history of bear activity or seen recent signs of bear right on the Trail in a particular area doesnít mean they arenít dwelling nearby. We continually hear about hiker-bear encounters where bears hadnít previously been known to be a problem. This year this happened on the A.T. in Maryland, northern Virginia, and at No Business Knob Shelter North Carolina. A nuisance bear had to be removed from Clarks Valley in Pennsylvania this year. What we hear about only represents a percentage of what actually happens, so there are no doubt problems weíre not even aware of. Many times an incident or situation is reported or known only to local agencies and not passed along to us.

Hanging your food properly is not only a protective measure for you and your food, but for the bears themselves (and other critters.) Knowing what to do when you encounter a bear is important, too. You can find more info at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/healthandsafety.

Laurie Potteiger
ATC

Newb
09-10-2007, 07:34
Saw a bear in Shenandoah Park this weekend. Actually, it's more correct to say I saw the ass end of a bear as it fled in panic from me. From what I understand from other hikers the most "spooky" encounters happen in the spring when mamas and babies are running around.

Just make sure to make noise.

horicon
09-12-2007, 16:14
In southern NY, the bears are more afraid of us than of them. Just stay away from the cubs.

BlackCloud
09-12-2007, 19:31
I'd worry about mice...

Tin Man
09-12-2007, 20:32
I'd worry about mice...

Me too - that's why I mice bag instead of bear bag.

View
09-16-2007, 21:52
Heres the numbers...

From 1979 to 1996, dog bites killed 340 people in the United States, with most of the fatalities involving children 14 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Black bears and grizzly bears killed 133 people in North America in the past century.


Yes - then split the Black and the Brown apart and you have exactly how safe the AT is.

View
09-16-2007, 22:01
It's interesting that both humans and bears seem to be less dangerous in places like Maine and New Brunswick. Different reasons likely. Less population density on the part of humans. Not sure about the bears, but bears are not all that aggressive anyway, like you say. Taxi drivers are the most likely to be murdered. 1 in 4,000 in the 1980s.

http://www.benbest.com/lifeext/murder.html#world


Yeah - no kidding - they have a common enemy.... BLACK FLIES!!!

hacksaw
09-21-2007, 13:35
When we are born we get a number. When it comes up we die. Kinda fatalistic. but it works for me.