View Full Version : DOG & BEAR- hang your food?

11-16-2007, 22:15
Do you think with a dog sleeping outside your tent you would need to worry about hanging your food? Any experienced dog hikers out there who can answer to this? Curious about both black bear and grizzly country.

11-16-2007, 22:56
I can't speak about grizzly bears but I've never had a black bear enter my camp when I've camped with my dogs. I keep my food next to where I'm sleeping.

11-16-2007, 23:23
I've been told that black bears tend to avoid dogs. They reason that black bears associate dogs with hunting and even a dog as wimpy as mine turn them away.

I do not know if this is true or if it is just partially true.

Therefore, I hang my food in black bear country as well as griz country.

Good topic....

11-16-2007, 23:33
In the seven months I was on the trail, I only had one incident where a bear got too close. It was at the Hexacuba Shelter. I had my dog tied up in the shelter and a bear got too close. Not until I unhooked the dog and stood our ground did the bear back off. Normally I never have problems with bears ... but maybe the wind was blowing the dog's scent away from the bear. Normally bears stay away from camps with dogs. I have no explanation as to why that bear came close except that it didn't expect anyone to be at the shelter. It was late this season in NH. If anything else a dog will give you advanced warning if something is heading your way. As with anything else there's no guarantees that a dog will be a deterrent.

Spirit Walker
11-16-2007, 23:40
I wouldn't count on dogs being a protection in grizzly country. They do let the bear know you're there (a good thing) but would probably be considered a nice snack and would be more likely to attract rather than repel a hungry bear. I've heard of bears following loose dogs back to a campsite, but don't know if that's black or brown bears.

11-16-2007, 23:40
On the plus side though I must add that my dog has flushed at least 4 bears from the brush while we were hiking. These were bears that I didn't even know were present and within 50 yards from me. So in that respect my dog has been a deterrent.

11-17-2007, 00:25
yes black bears tend to stay away when there is a dog, but do you really want to risk your life for not hanging a bearbag. pretty much every time you hear of a bear attack it involves food. hanging a bearline, or properly securing your food away from where your sleeping is worth the effort, its simply not worth the risk for you or your dog.

11-17-2007, 00:36
Grizzly bears like dog.

Uncle Silly
11-17-2007, 16:19
pretty much every time you hear of a bear attack it involves food.

just to challenge this statement. i agree with it, but it's disingenuous here. how often do you hear of a bear attack, and examine the details to find that a dog was present at the campsite that was attacked? i can't recall any, and i've read up on a few bear attacks. i'm betting you'll find a trend if you examine reported attacks closely.

11-17-2007, 18:04
i should be clarify, i was speaking of plain ole bear attacks, wasn't speaking of them w/ a dog around, i don't know about attacks w/ dogs present, (have there been attacks w/ dogs around?)

the month i hiked w/ my dog, didn't see a single bear, first two days after i sent her home, i saw two. but even w/ her, if it was just me and her at night, i hung a bear bag, its just a good precaution.

11-17-2007, 18:09
Comparing bear attacks when dogs were present vs. no dogs, you may find a great disparity. However, its not worth the risk. Always hang your food properly if there is any chance of bear activity.

BTW Bears sense of smell is at least 7 times that of a dog. Your dog may well deter the bear, but it won't beat a bear in a fight, least of all a surprise attack. I qualify this by saying that I believe it to be very unlikely a black bear will attack when a dog is present. Can't speak as to griz.

11-17-2007, 18:15
yeah i should have just said its not worth the risk, thats all i really cared to say
less is more

11-17-2007, 19:00
I would be more worried about my dog eating the food then a bear!
Just 2 days ago Hudson was inside, he found a box of Cheez-its that I was eating while watching tv. He forced his head through the box top and starting eating. :mad:

Needless to say the whole box is now his snacks for training (of course it was a new box - I had maybe 2 handfulls.)

11-17-2007, 19:30
Can't speak as to griz.
My understanding is that grizzlies are not significantly, if at all, deterred by a dog. An aggressive dog can actually BRING a griz to YOU.

Again, I hang (or canister) my food anyway in black bear territory. It just makes sense.

Adam B
11-17-2007, 19:36
I would bear bag. I will take the time to not have any incentives for the bear. As for my dogs, they have seen a black bear, elk, moose, deer, raccoons, ground hogs, partridges, cats, dogs, flying squirells, bees, hornets, and all other manner of wild animal. If I see them, that means they see me. I don't even want to think about grizzly bears.

01-20-2008, 20:57
I talked to a girl who hiked the AT in '06, and she said having a dog around actually attracts bears... the bears are attracted by the dogs poop. I haven't cross referenced that info for accuracy, but for me it's just one more reason not to leave my dog tied up alone at camp, and one more reason to bury her waste far from camp.

On the humorous side, I can relate to what wrongway_08's anecdote suggests... I always hang my food anymore... the food rope is the first thing I rig up when I find a campsite.

I decided not to hang my food on one occasion early in my dog camping days, thinking that "oh, my dog will keep the critters away"... and walked a couple hundred yards to get water, when I came back my dog had eaten all the non-freeze dried food I brought.

Dog's are critters to :-)

01-20-2008, 21:17
i've been hiking with a dog or two for many, many years. i never hang my food (too many times of havin' the late night munchies). i have never had any problems with bears, maybe a mouse or two, but never bears.

02-01-2008, 19:28
We only had one bear issue while hiking with Coy, and that was in Yosemite. We never hung our food since she became our hiking partner. Bears didn't bother us. The only reason we had the issue in Yosemite was because I made the mistake of putting Coy inside my sleeping back with me with her head covered. She didn't smell the bear and vice versa. Other than that, she's always run them out of camp.
Now, grizzly country, I'd probably hang it.

02-01-2008, 21:10
I think the first thing I will do in the future, should I find a bear sniffing at my tent, is to bark......

hammock engineer
02-01-2008, 21:23
I think the first thing I will do in the future, should I find a bear sniffing at my tent, is to bark......

That was my plan. But I only saw 1 bear in 6 months last year on the AT. Didn't even hang our food in the smokies. Of course it was late December when I went through.

02-01-2008, 21:40
Even if the bears wouldn't come around because of the dog you still have the rodent problem. Not only would you get a torn food bag but torn tent too.

02-08-2008, 13:10
I hiked 1500mi. of the A.T in 06 and had my dog Cody aka the beast with me for 900mi. Cody is a 100lb malamute/collie mix. I never hung my food and actually kept it close to my head when sleeping in my tent( 1person nomad lite) with dog inside with me. You never know when your going to wake up hungry. I would hang food in shelters, but never really heard many mice about. I don't know if it was because of the dog or not. The only bears encountered were while we were hiking,, in bear mnt. state park, and thru parts of NJ. They would be running off the trail and breaking anything in their path. It was really quite a funny scene. As far as grizzly go,, you better have a canister and hang it high,, also don't cook near your tent or wear those clothes to bed. Packing some heat wouldn't be a bad idea either.

02-08-2008, 13:55
Just make sure you don't hang the dog while you have food outside of your tent.

Wise Old Owl
02-10-2008, 20:14
Even if the bears wouldn't come around because of the dog you still have the rodent problem. Not only would you get a torn food bag but torn tent too.


Just make sure you don't hang the dog while you have food outside of your tent.

Too Funny.

Hang the food everytime. Having a dog on the trail is great - Can I also add my dog will find snakes before I make a mistake?