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Thread: Bears in SNP

  1. #1
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    Default Bears in SNP

    My fiance and I are moving up from day hikes and car camping in the SNP to backcountry camping. We have even planned our honeymoon in September to include three days on the AT down in NC.

    My biggest fear with all of this is the bears. I've been doing a lot of research lately reading every thread on here about food bags. It's always great to see people say you don't have to worry about bears on the AT, unless your in NJ, GSMNP, or....SNP. An Ursack S29 sounds great, especially not having to hang it, but they absorb a lot of moisture. Zpacks look cool but not very critter proof. Then I read others say that they do the whole AT and always sleep with their food, because a bear is going to smell your dinner on/in you anyways. What do you fellow SNP hikers usually do in response to our wonderful bears?

    Thanks!

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    In SNP I always hang my food. If I'm staying in one of the cabins in SNP it's usually with a group, so I keep my food in a metal cookie tin duct taped shut to keep out the little critters. Leaves room in the food bins for everyone else.

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    the bears will not bother you. I've always sleep with my food, a big no-no for lots of folks. but the bears are 100xs scared of you, than you them.
    eveready

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    I've seen bears on trail in SNP but never in camp. They typically see people and run. That being said, if you are concerned about bears, camp near the huts which have bear poles. That's a simple way of securing your food. But be aware that you are more likely to see bears near huts than elsewhere since they are conditioned to check out the huts in case people have been careless with food.

    I've camped away from huts in SNP and sometimes hung food and other times slept with food. I recommend hanging if you can find a good tree. But Hanging on an inadequate limb wI'll only encourage bear problems by providing an easy food reward.
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    Post One more voice to add

    > What do you fellow SNP hikers usually do in response to our wonderful bears?

    When I've stayed near a shelter in Shenandoah, I use the metal poles to hang my food.
    When I've stayed in an established campground (all are near the A.T.), I use the bear boxes provided for tent campers.
    Note that it's free to camp in the back country within SNP, including at a shelter, but there is a cost to camp at an established campground.

    I've never tent-camped in SNP back country but, when I do so anywhere else on the A.T., I use my Ursack. Plain and simple, I just can't properly hang a bag in a bear-proof manner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ekeverette View Post
    the bears will not bother you. I've always sleep with my food, a big no-no for lots of folks. but the bears are 100xs scared of you, than you them.
    Thats a broad statement. I would say that 99% of the bears are more afraid of you...and I would certainly not say they are 100x more afraid of people. There are some bears that are curious. My first night on the AT imll are the SNP we had a good sized bear come into the shelter area like he own the place. No incidents. Just a bold bear. This was at Blackrock shelter. Further north, I cant remember the exact place in SNP we were in a pull off area eating lunch and two very mature and big healthy bear came near. These two were more stealthy but they followed us a 1/4 of a mile up the trail. There are many bear in SNP. Most will run when you clack your poles together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canoe View Post
    Thats a broad statement. I would say that 99% of the bears are more afraid of you...and I would certainly not say they are 100x more afraid of people.

    +1

    Most will run when you clack your poles together.
    Had one actually rise on his hind legs and snort at me when doing this but in most instances they run away.
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    I've seen a bear (or more) just about each time I've hiked in SNP, and a few outside the park too. Never have had an issue with one, and consider myself luck to see them.
    I don't eat where I sleep (hammock), and I hang a bear bag. As others have said, in the park at the huts (shelters) there are metal poles w/hooks. Or appropriate branches when "back country". Some folks sleep with their food, their choice. I hang mine, my choice.
    As to what I use: sil-ny "dry" bag, zingit, and mico-biner.

    u.w.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnybgood View Post
    Had one actually rise on his hind legs and snort at me when doing this but in most instances they run away.
    That must have been a bit unnerving

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    Anybody have experience with how bears react to dogs? I'm hiking with mine (in a couple of months).

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCCCAT View Post
    Anybody have experience with how bears react to dogs? I'm hiking with mine (in a couple of months).
    Black bears are naturally scared of dogs unless they have learned otherwise, the biggest problem is dogs chasing and harassing them. So long as your dog is on leash then bears are a non-issue. On a few occasions I've had my pointer suddenly bolt off to chase a bear when she was off leash on private property. It was a pain in the arse to get her to come back.

    http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pag...-and-dogs.html
    Last edited by Sarcasm the elf; 02-22-2015 at 02:29.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCCCAT View Post
    Anybody have experience with how bears react to dogs? I'm hiking with mine (in a couple of months).
    Dogs NOT on a leash, will go after a bear, get the bear riled up, and then run right back to you with an angry bear chasing them.

    A woman in CA last yr was mauled a little by a bear on her property exactly like that. Her two dogs got a big bear stirred up, then ran right back to her.

    Otherwise, the bear will avoid the dog, unless its snack-sized, then it will eat it .
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-23-2015 at 00:20.

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    Okay, thanks, that's helpful to know. I was worried about a bear coming after us. Thanks for the link. I suspect my dog (an English Springer Spaniel) will bark at a bear, but I don't think he'll chase it.

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    I've spent probably a couple dozen nights sleeping in SNP and I have yet to see a bear there. Their poop? That is everywhere.

    I hang my food in an Ursack Minor in a tree or on a pole when available. I haven't had much trouble with the water retention issue that you mention.

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    If you have a planed trip in SNP for a honeymoon, it may be worth looking into reserving a PATC cabin for at least one or possibly a couple of nights.

  16. #16
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    While it is often true that black bears such as in SNP try to avoid human contact, it is not absolutely true.

    There have been bear - human interractions in the Park. Not always nice ones. Even at AT shelters. Also more likely closer to developed areas like lodges, waysides, and campgrounds. Blame the tourons who feed bears, the workers at lodges and restaurants who fail to stow garbage correctly, and hikers/backpackers who fail to safeguard their food and other items like toothpaste that may smell like food to a bear.

    Not properly hanging your food bag in SNP and other places with significant bear populations is plain foolish. You may pay a price. Others who come along after you may as well.

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    Don't worry!

    I saw 14 bears while traveling from Rockfish Gap to Front Royal.

    Everyone of them RAN FROM ME like I was an axe murderer!

    In MIchigan, the deer run. In SNP, the deer "...wander up to you...tame as can be." The bear RUN from you!!!

    I have only heard of bear being an issue if you get between a mama and a cub...

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    Here's a great place to educate yourself about black bears.

    http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pag...-a-humans.html

    Reading through you learn many things, like...

    ...mother black bears with cubs are not more aggressive.

    ...bears that are habituated to humans are not more dangerous.

    ...what is often interpreted by humans as aggressive behavior is actually the bear's fear response (yes they are afraid of you).

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    Not to long ago, I think a few months ago actually, there was an instance where a young black bear kept coming near backpackers in SNP specifically on the AT. Ripped a buddy of mine's crap to shreds while on a day hike, and he didn't even have his food anywhere near it, and was a strict " no eating where i sleep" kind of guy. The park picked up the bear and relocated it super far away, but the bear kept coming back. IT had gotten accustomed to being fed by hikers, and car campers not properly stowing their food/"smell-goods". It may seem a bit paranoid/foolish for some, or smart to others. But just stow your stuff correctly, and it won't be an issue to present and future hikers.

    I live near GSMNP, and have seen quite a few bears there. In all my times backpacking there, I've never had a bad run-in with a bear. They're pretty shy because the rangers are good at keeping people at bay, and shooing them off away from established campgrounds.

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