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  1. #1
    Registered User NJdreamer's Avatar
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    Default Bears in Shenandoah national park

    I read recent updates in Guthooks and ATC.org about bears in the hut areas of the Shenandoah national park. I will hang all smellables and food. Does anyone have any recent bear issues or information from hiking in the SNP? I know there are many bears in the park. My concern is specifically with bears, food and their attacking food in the hut areas. Thanks.

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    Just love being outside, not sure why. 765 AT miles done (2014-2018), many more to go.

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    Saw several bears in Shenandoah in June during a sixty miler, but no aggressive ones. There were warning signs up at the campgrounds, but the ones my group spotted were between shelters. Everyone complied with hanging food or keeping it in the bear box. There's just a lot of bears in the area. You're bound to come across one whether you know it or not, whether you see it or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by NJdreamer View Post
    I read recent updates in Guthooks and ATC.org about bears in the hut areas of the Shenandoah national park. I will hang all smellables and food. Does anyone have any recent bear issues or information from hiking in the SNP? I know there are many bears in the park. My concern is specifically with bears, food and their attacking food in the hut areas. Thanks.

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    Hiking is the best teacher, it grades on a curve.
    AT miles: 255.5 / Total miles: 905.27

    Author of "Hiking Into Trail Days"



  3. #3

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    Stay at shelters + put food in bear boxes = no bear problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Stay at shelters + put food in bear boxes = no bear problem.
    ^
    All shelters have bear boxes and poles in tenting areas
    Very little other legal areas anyway.

  5. #5
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Not this year but last year in June, several bears were in the Gravel Springs Hut camp site (off to the side past the water supply). We left them alone and they left us alone.

    I suggest caution at the shelters. Not everyone hangs their food on the bear poles (some find it difficult).
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  6. #6
    Is it raining yet?
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    The park is 300 square miles.
    The NPS says there are about 300 bears in the park
    There are zoos with a lower density of black bears
    Be Prepared

  7. #7
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    ^
    All shelters have bear boxes and poles in tenting areas
    Really !! That's news to me . All huts have bear poles to hang food bags, but most ​do not have vault style bear boxes.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

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    Registered User greenpete's Avatar
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    No experience in Shenandoah huts (shelters), but a bear crashed my trailside camp spot near Browns Gap back in 2016. He woke me up with his snorting at 3 am. No problems, though. I yelled out, and he crashed into the woods. Bear bag was undisturbed. Saw him the next morning about 100 yards up the trail...waiting for me to leave!

  9. #9

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    Once saw 7 bears within 24 hours in SNP back in 2015.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnybgood View Post
    Really !! That's news to me . All huts have bear poles to hang food bags, but most ​do not have vault style bear boxes.
    There are 7 huts
    At least 4 have boxes
    So most do
    And the goal is to have boxes at all

    All campgrounds have boxes as well

    Calf mtn shelter is not in shenandoah technically
    Hightop, blackrock, pinefield huts might not still, dont know. Havent hiked thru there in 2 yrs.

    But all have poles . Boxes are for those too weak, lazy, or uncoordinated to use a pole. Poles are highly effective.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-25-2018 at 00:22.

  11. #11
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    I had 4 sightings going through this year, none were aggressive or wanted anything to do with me but 2 of them could care less if I was there or not... just looked at me and kept doing what they were doing. These were all while I was hiking, the other 2 I only noticed cause I heard them running away from me first.

    On another note, after having flying squirrels get into my food bag hanging in mid air 2 nights in ME, I am done hanging my food and will be getting a bear canister. You probably don't have to worry about them in VA though

  12. #12
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    This guy was sitting about 25 yards in front of me with his butt centered directly on the trail about 10 min south of Thornton Gap. It was noon on a hot summer day and he was not interested in moving. So much so that when I came up from behind, he couldn't even be bothered to turn around, although he did look over his shoulder and stick his nose up in the air to check me out. After a couple of minutes, I realized that we were at an impasse. Fortunately, this was at a spot where the forest was rather open and flat, so I bushwhacked a semicircle around him keeping one eye on the bear and one eye on where I was stepping, and came out on the trial about 25 yards beyond him. Since I was now in front of him and still not moving, I took a nice picture and backed away until he was out of sight. I call him Thornton. If you run into him, say hi for me.

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  13. #13
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    Thornton looks cute!
    Plaid is fast! Ticks suck, literally...
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  14. #14

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    Hes a young un.
    Tell by the disproportionately large ears

    Bears "grow into" their ears

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    He looks like a lazy bear.

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    Wow, what an amazing photo of a beautiful animal.
    Long-distance aspirations with short-distance feet.... :jump

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by foodbag View Post
    Wow, what an amazing photo of a beautiful animal.
    Thanks. One of the nice things about SNP it gives you a chance of getting a photo of something other than a bear's butt while it runs away from you. They don't run. They don't attack. They pose.

  18. #18
    Registered User NJdreamer's Avatar
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    I have returned from my trip to northern SNP, and saw no bears. I stayed in 2 shelters in SNP, both with bear boxes, but could not open the one at Gravel Springs hut (nor could another camper there) so we used the pole (which moved if you pushed it) to hang our food. On another forum, someone replied the boxes are just hard to open. That might be so, but we tried multiple times, and gave up. Wouldn't have been good to have my food stuff locked up and unable to retrieve it. I did see mice in the 2 shelters and their privies (super ugh). I left a note at the shelter so the caretaker could try the bear box.
    Just love being outside, not sure why. 765 AT miles done (2014-2018), many more to go.

  19. #19
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    One of Thornton's cousins - Jeremy
    Sep 2014 Jeremy's Run Bear 1 (2).JPG
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

  20. #20
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    A warning on the poles: they don't prevent inquisitive raccoons. Had an experience at Rock Spring Hut where most hung their stuff from the installed bear poles (I think that may have been one of the few huts w/o a bear box if I recall). Awoke the next morning to find a shredded mess on the ground. It wasn't until after reading the shelter log book that morning that there had been a pesky raccoon (or more than one) who was making recurring raids on bags hung from the pole. The one shredded was just a stuff sack so it was easy for the critter to rip into. I had a varmant proof bag (to protect against mice moreso than bears) so mine was OK. A couple of us chipped in some instant oatmeal and Power Bars to last him until he made it to Big Meadows wayside to resupply later that day.

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