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    Default Car Camping with Dog near the AT

    I have some questions about whether or not the scent and presence of a dog in the wilderness either attracts or repels bears? Please read my thread in General Non-AT and give me your opinions and stories. Thanks.
    Beware O' Wanderer, The Road Is Walking Too. ~ Rilke

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldmanwinter
    I have some questions about whether or not the scent and presence of a dog in the wilderness either attracts or repels bears? Please read my thread in General Non-AT and give me your opinions and stories. Thanks.
    I think the smell of a dog would repel a bear. Food smells could override the dog smells though.

  3. #3

    Default Answering My Own Question

    Since I got so few responses to this question, but quite a few people reading the post, I thought I would update the threat with some interesting things I've researched over the last several days.
    1) Dogs are bear food. According to every government and educational source I could find in both the US and Canada, the scent of dogs attracts bears, the site of a dog is often considered a meal by a bear that is desperate enough to enter your camp, but not necessarily desperate enough to attack, and lastly that the sound of a bark will send the bear into attack mode.
    So, looks like Cotton is staying home this year.
    1) Also, in reference to car camping and what precautions need to be taken, most sources agree that the chance of encountering a dangerous bear is far greater in an established campground. Almost all Black Bear attacks resulting in fatalities occur in high traffic camp areas where bears are used to humans and used to their food. They no longer fear humans.
    So, no dog and, although I'm car camping in the middle of nowhere, I still have to hang food downwind, cook 100 yards away, and change clothes after I cook. Kinda makes me long for the good old days of camping in the Midwest when the views were boring but the most dangerous thing in the woods was a copperhead or a bobcat.
    Beware O' Wanderer, The Road Is Walking Too. ~ Rilke

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldmanwinter
    Since I got so few responses to this question, but quite a few people reading the post, I thought I would update the threat with some interesting things I've researched over the last several days.
    1) Dogs are bear food. According to every government and educational source I could find in both the US and Canada, the scent of dogs attracts bears, the site of a dog is often considered a meal by a bear that is desperate enough to enter your camp, but not necessarily desperate enough to attack, and lastly that the sound of a bark will send the bear into attack mode.
    So, looks like Cotton is staying home this year.
    1) Also, in reference to car camping and what precautions need to be taken, most sources agree that the chance of encountering a dangerous bear is far greater in an established campground. Almost all Black Bear attacks resulting in fatalities occur in high traffic camp areas where bears are used to humans and used to their food. They no longer fear humans.
    So, no dog and, although I'm car camping in the middle of nowhere, I still have to hang food downwind, cook 100 yards away, and change clothes after I cook. Kinda makes me long for the good old days of camping in the Midwest when the views were boring but the most dangerous thing in the woods was a copperhead or a bobcat.
    OMW, I'm glad you found comfort with what you read.
    I like the idea of being away from the CG. I've encountered a bear or 3 thereabouts myself. Living in the woods with bears all around; hiking for years with or with those with dogs, never had a problem, never heard of a problem.

    You leave Cotton at the house.

    Stop by and say hi to Esky and Loki if you feel like risking your life.

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    In my two month section this summer, my dog was with me for the first month, I never saw a bear untill after she got off the trail. Then I saw more than I wanted to see.
    Hanna

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    I had always heard that the bears were shy of the dogs on the AT.

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    OMW, bears outside of protected areas tend to associate dogs with hunters. They run like the wind when dogs start barking in my experience. Jeff of the Hike Inn near Fontana Dam recommends barking like a dog to scare them off.

    The only time I have every seen a bear chase a dog was at the Chimney's picnic area in the GSMNP - the dog had chased her cubs up tree. The bear didn't eat the dog, but she did swat him hard enough that he likely had broken bones.

    I have a close friend whose property borders the Smokies (where their are many bears). She has four outdoor dogs who run free on her property. We see bears on her property regularly. If bears considered dogs a meal, these dogs would be bear scat by now.

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    fish and game often use dogs and rubber bullets to scare bears off of campsites as well.

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    Be advised that though bears do run from dogs, bear hunters also know that bears also get tired of it and take a stand against dogs too. If you ever read "Strangers in High Places" http://utpress.org/a/searchdetails.p...o=T00426.01.03 (a very good read about the history of the park and the area/culture/people around it) bear hunters regularly loose their dogs to bears and some even shoot their own dogs if they won't stand and fight a bear when it does turn.

    Just like any bear advice, barking might work, but it could also have the exact opposite effect too.
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    every time i've encountered a bear in the woods with my dog, the bears have run in fear.

    one time it didn't work that way & we got chased. that sucked. in fairness to the bear though, she was a sow w/ 2 cubs & my dog was chasing them. all she did was turn and chase back.
    "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive." -TJ

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    Great thread wow never gave this a thought!

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    FWIW, when my wife and I were caretakers at Eckville back in the early 90's, we had our 2 Siberian Huskies with us. We would regularly walk them around the property and let them mark trees and fence posts. While we were there, we never saw any evidence of bears on the property, although there were bears in the area. But, if we went back to town for a day or two, when we would return, there was often bear sign in the yard and garden.

    I've often heard the tale told by old mushers that bears frequently mistake dog scent for wolf scent and tend to give that area a wide berth. (Huskies tend to sound like wolves when they howl, too.) Whether it's true or not....

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    If your dog has good hunting or tracking instincts, it should pick up a bear your area, and let you know.
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    Default bears? What Bears...

    With or without a dog on the AT in PA and it is very unlikely you would run into a bear. I have seen the plops on the trail - and the berrys and no bear. Ran into a Eastern Coyote twice - but I wasn't making any noise. I was looking to run into something and I got rewarded, great to have a camera.

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    If Ed and I tent in the middle of nowhere, I'm not overly concerned, but if we are in or around people areas (established campsites, trails, etc), we take some precautions.

    Since they use dogs to scare bears away, and for hunting, bears will typically run from dogs and humans alike, and even more so together. However, thanks to non-LNT activity, encroachment of wild lands, and basic starvation due to climate change, some wildlife is acting a little out of sorts. There are now "predator bears", who even the normal bears are scared of.

    Take everything about bears, and throw it out the window. These are desperate, twisted bears, who do not follow "the rules" of bear behavior. I'm not trying to scare you. Knowlege is power only if you use it for constructive action, instead of fear.

    You'll be able to tell these bears apart on the trail pretty easily (they should be in all of your books now), but not when you are sleeping in your tent. Follow all LNT, and hang your food, or leave it in the car. We each have our side of the tent, but when we are in danger areas, I put gear (shoes, or whatever) around the edges of the inside of the tent, so we don't press against the sides. Bears have bitten through the tent, into the form sleeping inside (like that poor boy scout, who went to sleep with a snickers bar), and take off with the entire thing.

    For the most part, the smell of dog will deter predators, not the other way around. I'll have Ed pee a circle (a few yards out in every direction) around the site. Works great!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark swarbrick View Post
    With or without a dog on the AT in PA and it is very unlikely you would run into a bear. I have seen the plops on the trail - and the berrys and no bear. Ran into a Eastern Coyote twice - but I wasn't making any noise. I was looking to run into something and I got rewarded, great to have a camera.
    Well, years ago we didn't think that we had 'em, but between some bears moving south out of the Poconos, and others moving east and south out of the central part of the state, we've got 'em now. We've had confirmed reports in the St. Anthony's area (around Rausch Gap shelter), I've personally seen them around Eagle's Nest shelter, and I know that there were problem bears in the Eckville area.

    To show you how DUMB some folks can be, back in the 90's when we were caretakers at the Eckville shelter, some of the neighbors up the road were deliberately setting out food for the bears, because " it looked so cute with the grandkids on video"! Those of us who hadn't lost our minds got together and told these people what WE would do to THEM if our family or dogs were attacked by the bears because of what these ^ssh*les were doing. (I believe that someone else called the Game Commission and turned them in.)

    We may not have a lot of deep woods here in this part of Pa., but there's enough cover to support bears in ever-increasing numbers. Hang up your food bags and get your cameras ready....

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    Wouldnt even worry about it, bring the dog. Aint no Grizzly. If anything the dog will alert you to the bear first and it makes sense that a bear would be more inclined to run with both a human and dog giving it a good yelling at.

    Most hunters only loose the dogs when the dog is ahead of them, have the bear cornered and then the bear has to defend itself or die. Most of them only loose them in Grizzly country.

    Chances are you and your dog will get killed in a traffic accident 10x over before you have a real problem with a bear due to your dog.

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    Bears are generally leery of animal scents they don't recognize, and tend to avoid dogs.

    In fact, I can't ever recall witnessing a bear coming into a camp or tentsite where there is a dog present.

    I'm not saying having a dog makes your campsite bearproof, but it will make a difference.

    On the Trail is another matter, but for some reasons, bears avoid camps where there's a dog.

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    When it comes to bears, I find it is easier to bring someone who runs slower than me rather than fussing with the presence of a dog.

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    The few black bears that I have run accross have wanted nothing to do with me or my dog. Once a bear watched us as we hiked past but apart from that the few I have seen see no threat or meal in us and ignore us. I did have a friend treed by a large black female but he was fooling around with her babies.

    Never sleep with food, never feed the wildlife, don't stay in popular campsites and don't stay where there is evidence of a bear. Barking could cause aggression out of fear but mine doesn't bark at animals. Wildlife doesn't bother me and I don't bother it. I swear the only animals I have consistant problems with are the raccoons.

    Adam

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