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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanD View Post
    So an Ursack with aluminum liner is a "hard-sided" canister? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a canister is described simply as "cylindrical container". Because i rather keep my Allmitey with the liner than carrying a bear canister.
    Before you start throwing out definitions... you first need to determine what the "rules" are for where ever you might be going that requires a "bear canister".

    For example, I found the regulations for bear canisters for the Adirondacks that read in part:
    "a commercially made container constructed of solid, non-pliable material manufactured for the specific purpose of resisting entry by bears."
    I think a bag around an aluminum liner fails that description in two regards:
    1. The ends of the cylinder are still "sides" of the device and they are not "solid".
    2. The liner isn't even a solid cylinder. It's (if like the ursack) a sheet of aluminum rolled up in a cylinder. So that "cylinder" is pliable.

  2. #102

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    You just can't win........

  3. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyGr View Post
    Question - you say the bear came into your campsite, but since it wouldn't find anything there (as you say you stored everything correctly), one might suspect it would just leave?

    If that was the case, then did what others did really bother you (having the bear walk through doesn't seem to be a big problem, as one might expect a wild animal to be there no matter what)?

    Seems what others do would only be a problem if the animals started going after those who didn't provide them food (people like you who are following the rules) - if they only bother those who don't (or don't want to) follow the rules of safe storage, then it's only those people who are at fault for whatever happens to them, not anyone else.

    It left when the campers next to me and I made a lot of noise and shooed it off. After it left my campsite you could hear folks shouting and honking car horns across the campground as it wandered its way through the campground. No, the bear did not harm me but don't you think a bear that bold will at some point tear up a tent etc. and eventually could harm someone? Obviously that bear was bothering everybody whether they followed the rules or not.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    Requiring canisters seems like an obvious and effective response.
    Thanks. Couldn't have said it better.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    It left when the campers next to me and I made a lot of noise and shooed it off. After it left my campsite you could hear folks shouting and honking car horns across the campground as it wandered its way through the campground. No, the bear did not harm me but don't you think a bear that bold will at some point tear up a tent etc. and eventually could harm someone? Obviously that bear was bothering everybody whether they followed the rules or not.
    Doesn't sound like it was doing anything unusual - it was out walking through an area where it lives, when it sensed that people were there and didn't want it (with the noise being made), it left.
    If at some point it went after a tent without any reason (that is, one that someone like you set up who wouldn't leave anything in the tent that an animal would want), then yes it would be an issue.

    We had that in the Adirondacks at a camp back in the early 1990's - they would collect all food/trash after dinner time, but that didn't stop the bears from wandering through camp in the evening. They looked around, maybe picked up a scrap or two that someone dropped while cooking, sniffed around the cooking area (maybe licked a pot or two if someone didn't wash it well) and then continued on - never went after anyone or the tents, since everyone was well warned not to have food (or even other scented items) in them.
    No harm to anyone or to the animals.

  6. #106
    Registered User The Old Chief's Avatar
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    We have a second home in the mountains of North Carolina in a small neighborhood of 10 homes. A bear or bears regularly pass through and we've learned to take in our hummingbird feeders at night and keep the garbage can in the garage. Bears haven't tried to break into any house, even though the scent of our cooking must be present several times a day. We've learned to live with the bear population and the bears evidently have learned to live with us.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyGr View Post
    Doesn't sound like it was doing anything unusual - it was out walking through an area where it lives, when it sensed that people were there and didn't want it (with the noise being made), it left.
    If at some point it went after a tent without any reason (that is, one that someone like you set up who wouldn't leave anything in the tent that an animal would want), then yes it would be an issue.
    We're told bear are naturally afraid of people. If true, then any behavior where a wild bear fails to demonstrate that fear is by extension "unusual." If walking through a camp full of humans isn't unusual, I'd argue the notion that bears have a natural fear of humans is suspect. I'm not discounting that humans acclimate bears to not fear them with behaviors like leaving food out. But that just bolsters the point that it's not "natural" for a bear to be cavalier about humans.

    A lot is said about our changing our behavior with storing food and for good reason. But in an area where bears aren't showing natural fear AND getting into food it would seem only concentrating on the storage of food is leaving another issue left undone. Namely, what to do to try to re-instill a fear of humans? Ultimately, canisters are probably inevitable but they really only solve one problem. Perhaps a bear will simply move on and never frequent a shelter or camp again but is that what is happening? Has that been demonstrated?

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Joe View Post
    We're told bear are naturally afraid of people. If true, then any behavior where a wild bear fails to demonstrate that fear is by extension "unusual." If walking through a camp full of humans isn't unusual, I'd argue the notion that bears have a natural fear of humans is suspect. I'm not discounting that humans acclimate bears to not fear them with behaviors like leaving food out. But that just bolsters the point that it's not "natural" for a bear to be cavalier about humans.

    A lot is said about our changing our behavior with storing food and for good reason. But in an area where bears aren't showing natural fear AND getting into food it would seem only concentrating on the storage of food is leaving another issue left undone. Namely, what to do to try to re-instill a fear of humans? Ultimately, canisters are probably inevitable but they really only solve one problem. Perhaps a bear will simply move on and never frequent a shelter or camp again but is that what is happening? Has that been demonstrated?
    I have a feeling that hundreds of years ago black bears were not that afraid of people. Once they started getting hunted regularly with guns any bear that didn't run was a dead bear. Kind of a big science experiment in natural selection. So now we have this population of bears that are genetically predisposed to timidity. Once the hunting tapers off the population should diversify again and we may have to treat them more as predators instead of cute animals. Food is just the lure that draws in the least timid so we need to get smarter in how we store it, i.e. bear canisters.

  9. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by mateozzz View Post
    I have a feeling that hundreds of years ago black bears were not that afraid of people. Once they started getting hunted regularly with guns any bear that didn't run was a dead bear.
    American Indians hunted black bears long before Europeans arrived. They were prized for their meat, fat, and warm robes that could be made from the fur.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by mateozzz View Post
    I have a feeling that hundreds of years ago black bears were not that afraid of people. Once they started getting hunted regularly with guns any bear that didn't run was a dead bear. Kind of a big science experiment in natural selection. So now we have this population of bears that are genetically predisposed to timidity. Once the hunting tapers off the population should diversify again and we may have to treat them more as predators instead of cute animals. Food is just the lure that draws in the least timid so we need to get smarter in how we store it, i.e. bear canisters.
    The prevailing theory is it was natural selection that predisposed black bears to timidity, but it happened long before humans arrived. Remember that they really are omnivores that eat a plant heavy diet, they were never major predators and this makes sense if you think about it in the context of when they evolved. Until humans first entered North America there were a number of large predator species that dominated the land including the (huge) American shortnosed bear, the sabertooth tiger, the American lion, several larger wolf species usually referred to as dire wolves, as well as a number of other megafauna species.
    Back then, black bears were only mid way up the food chain and survived by fleeing danger first and asking questions later. It wasn't until humans entered the scene and killed off the more dangerous animals that black bears became the most powerful creature in the Eastern woods, purely by default. The reason that black bears survive to this day is largely because of their instinct to run away, they never posed enough of a threat to early humans or to later european settlers to warrant being killed off entirely.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  11. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    The prevailing theory is it was natural selection that predisposed black bears to timidity, but it happened long before humans arrived. Remember that they really are omnivores that eat a plant heavy diet, they were never major predators and this makes sense if you think about it in the context of when they evolved. Until humans first entered North America there were a number of large predator species that dominated the land including the (huge) American shortnosed bear, the sabertooth tiger, the American lion, several larger wolf species usually referred to as dire wolves, as well as a number of other megafauna species.
    Back then, black bears were only mid way up the food chain and survived by fleeing danger first and asking questions later. It wasn't until humans entered the scene and killed off the more dangerous animals that black bears became the most powerful creature in the Eastern woods, purely by default. The reason that black bears survive to this day is largely because of their instinct to run away, they never posed enough of a threat to early humans or to later european settlers to warrant being killed off entirely.
    I'm not an expert by any means, but I think you are right. Look what happened to the grizzly bear in California. They are eradicated completely and exist today only on their flag

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by mateozzz View Post
    Food is just the lure that draws in the least timid so we need to get smarter in how we store it, i.e. bear canisters.
    One could argue that in areas where they're not hunted they become a problem. Anecdotally, that would certainly seem the case. GSMNP being a prime example. And, per their new GPS study, those bears are venturing into the neighboring communities to plunder trash. This was shocking to the rangers who thought the majority of bears stuck to the back country to feed on more natural sources and that plundering bears were not the norm.

    That said, better food storage is a must. Wholesale slaughter of bears so hikers don't have to hang food and weekenders can leave trash in fire pits is selfish, arrogant, and entitled. I don't by any means discount that need. But when a bear shows no propensity to re-learn timidity towards humans you're probably far better off dispensing with the bear. Long before that, we need to find ways to do everything to re-instill it into every such bear.

  13. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Joe View Post
    One could argue that in areas where they're not hunted they become a problem. Anecdotally, that would certainly seem the case. GSMNP being a prime example. And, per their new GPS study, those bears are venturing into the neighboring communities to plunder trash. This was shocking to the rangers who thought the majority of bears stuck to the back country to feed on more natural sources and that plundering bears were not the norm.

    That said, better food storage is a must. Wholesale slaughter of bears so hikers don't have to hang food and weekenders can leave trash in fire pits is selfish, arrogant, and entitled. I don't by any means discount that need. But when a bear shows no propensity to re-learn timidity towards humans you're probably far better off dispensing with the bear. Long before that, we need to find ways to do everything to re-instill it into every such bear.
    Once animals become habituated around people, or more specifically where people are careless with food, there is not much that can be done to change learned behavior. The key remains with people to keep food and trash with food in it secure. Unfortunately, there are still many people who reinstall bird feeding stations when bears tear them down for a snack or toss unwanted food off to the side of trails that culminates in habituated bears.

    It's not the bears who need to "re-learn", its people who need to become less ignorant.

  14. #114
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    Consider that your Dogs food goes into canister too. I have always hung her pack w food and her little dish or stored in b boxes with mine.

  15. #115

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    Originally Posted by Slumgum
    If reports of bears' amazing sense of smell are true, then our food becomes the bait no matter where it is.



    -Slumgum



    then why is it nobody gets attacked while walkin' with a pack full of food?


    Bears are being attracted to where humans en masse sloppily cook, eat, leave food odors and food trash and then store their food en masse while sleeping all at the same site. The human problem, and it is a human problem not a bear problem, unless bears being euthanized is included, is not solved with mandatory hard sided canisters. I suspect you're aware of that LW.




    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    ...You do sometimes see things left in high use areas, but the AT is amazingly clean in general.

    No. Too many looksies under trail shelters noting all the left over human trash which includes food trash, food waste in fire rings, and food scraps left on and under food prep areas(the same places where people sleep and store food) and in shelters, and food wrappers left along the trail including overflowing at TH's tell me otherwise. After hiking most of the trails in the U.S. comparatively the AT overall is one of the most beaten down dirty trails I've experienced. Some AT shelters like in GSMNP are so ridiculously beaten down, over used and a strong unnatural wildlife attractant and promotor much like an unnatural human attractant. I can smell food and other attracting odors as a human at AT shelters with a much less keen sense of smell than bears. Can we imagine to what degree bears are triggered?

    Perhaps, an AT quota system and different shelter food storage food prep areas should have been considered long ago? None of this matters if proper policing and enforcement doesn't occur. I'm in favor of us policing ourselves abiding by known guidelines as Andrew and others have written but that will not occur. Some will bitch but higher authorities will step in because we don't do what we know we should be doing. Preaching about expecting stubborn human centered hubris filled humans to examine and change their behaviors themselves is an uphill battle.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 11-04-2019 at 21:20.

  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    American Indians hunted black bears long before Europeans arrived. They were prized for their meat, fat, and warm robes that could be made from the fur.
    Bears were very difficult and dangerous to kill for stone age people with bows and arrows and spears. A brave who could kill a bear by himself was considered chief material. One reason bear claws and other parts of the bear were so valued was because they were so difficult to get.

    This changed dramatically with the introduction of the gun, especially more modern guns (Kentucky-style rifles and also shotguns) in the early 1800s.

    Bears were not always so universally shy--there are written reports of bears walking into colonial settlements and farms in daylight, and into hunter and trapper camps in the west.

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Some will bitch but higher authorities will step in because we don't do what we know we should be doing.
    Amen.

    Too many of us embrace the HYOH concept as meaning "mind your own business". Standing aside to allow a handful of irresponsible or under educated hikers degrade the trail results bad outcomes for everyone.

  18. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by Portie View Post
    Bears were very difficult and dangerous to kill for stone age people with bows and arrows and spears. A brave who could kill a bear by himself was considered chief material. One reason bear claws and other parts of the bear were so valued was because they were so difficult to get.
    Flint tipped arrows and spears are deadly. Flint arrowheads are sharper than the best steel scalpels. Plains Indians could kill a 1000 lb bison with one well placed arrow. The Clovis people hunted the Colombian Mammoth, which could reach 10 tons, with spears with flint spearheads. Black bears would be no problem, although Grizzly Bears are a different story. Even the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition had problems killing Grizzly Bears with firearms.

  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Once animals become habituated around people, or more specifically where people are careless with food, there is not much that can be done to change learned behavior. The key remains with people to keep food and trash with food in it secure. Unfortunately, there are still many people who reinstall bird feeding stations when bears tear them down for a snack or toss unwanted food off to the side of trails that culminates in habituated bears.

    It's not the bears who need to "re-learn", its people who need to become less ignorant.
    Let's say everyone starts putting away food properly. Do you think that a bear that has already learned where there is people there is food is going to just stop going where people are? As you said, "Once animals become habituated around people...there is not much that can be done to change learned behavior." If the bear cannot re-learn then it will likely be, eventually, put down. Either because its behavior will escalate or because it will turn to dumpsters and get trapped and put down.

    Don't get me wrong, people need to better store their food but we can't just leave habituated bears out there without attempting some sort of solution to that problem as well. In Alaska, nuisance bears are shot with rubber bullets and it seems to have a decent effect on keeping them away from dumpsters. I don't think I've ever heard of that being used in the East but perhaps it should be.

  20. #120

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    [QUOTE=ldsailor;2257318]Just received my electronic issue of the ATC's magazine "Journeys." There is an article in it about food storage on the trail. Here is an excerpt from the article titled Harmful Habits.
    "Land management supervisors in North Carolina are close to ratifying food storage regulations for the A.T. that will require the use of hard-sided canisters."


    I've read every post so far on this thread. We can argue about canisters vs Ursacks, thru hiker slobs vs day hiker slobs, steel bear boxes vs canisters vs bear behavior etc. but, does anyone know how close the above mentioned Land management supervisors are to ratifying the requirement for canisters?

    If this becomes a requirement/rule/law before the 2020 season, I'm going to need a canister and a larger pack to hold it.

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