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Thread: Bear Concerns

  1. #1
    Former Admin
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    Default Bear Concerns

    Do bears concern you, have you had contact or a bear sighting while on the trail

  2. #2
    Possible 2003 thru-hiker
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    Default Bear sighting

    Saw a bear on Walnut Mountain, near Hot Springs NC, about
    three weeks ago. It heard me coming (I had a bear bell), and
    lit off uphill without looking back.
    "Raccoon" aka Susan Davis <[email protected]>

  3. #3
    Section Hiker 180 AT miles
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    No bears dont really concern me much anymore, for a while i was quite paranoid, especialy after a particularly vivid dream in which a bear was licking my neck while i slept under the stars (i woke up and my neck was wet, but i atribute it to sweat, i hope) but i had my first experiances with a bear this past trip. i was up ahead of the rest of the group after a breakfast break and i was looking up an incline when i heard a noise downhill and looked over to see a mother and two cubs about twentyfive feet away. my mind imediately said "oh crud" and i slowly started backing up banging my hiking sticks together and keeping an eye on mamma as the two cubs scurried up a tree. i got far enough away that i felt safe so i just stayed my ground untill the rest of the group showed up about ten minutes latter. by then i had gotten my camera but i was sure the bears were long gone. latter that day we ran into what i believe was a juvinile male along the trail it was only four of us but he ran pretty quick. i got a shot of its backside but unfortunately i lost my camera shortly afterward. black bears arnt much to worry about, they seem to be easily scared off, not that anyone should take them lightly, i just dont see any need to wet yourself over a bear sighting.
    Last edited by EarlyRiser; 09-10-2002 at 16:08.
    "Do what you Love, Love what you do"

  4. #4
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Sure they concern me, especially in areas that are known to have heavy bear population densities (e.g., Shenendoah or Great Smokies National Parks). They concern my wife and family a whole lot more, though! However, I haven't heard of any reasonably careful hiker being injured, so it's not worth getting too uptight about.

    My only encounter was in Shenendoah National Park in 1986. We were camping next to a woods road and had hung up our food about 30 yards up the Trail. Around two in the morning I could swear I heard something padding up and down the Trail. I listened closely for about 20 minutes before I heard the distinct sound of a rock being flipped. I woke up my brother and told him I thought there was a bear on the Trail, perhaps 20 yards away. The blaggert said, "Okay" and promptly went back to sleep. I tried to empty my mind and get back to sleep, but finally I lost it. I grabbed my trusty Swiss Army knife, my fork, and my penlight. Jumping out of the tent I yelled and tried to bang the knife and fork together. I caught the smallish bear in my weak flashlight beam, but I don't think the 'tink, tink, tink' of the metal really scared him(?) much. S/he looked at me a few seconds, then turned and slowly ambled into the woods on the other side of the Trail. What was I thinking????
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  5. #5
    Addicted Hiker and Donating Member Hammock Hanger's Avatar
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    Default

    Bears were not (are not) a major concern for me. I had many encounters as I hiked in the dark of the early morning and some middle of the night roaming of the bears thru my campsites. If you use common sense black bears will usually run. I found my encounters to be memorable. HH
    Hammock Hanger -- Life is my journey and I'm surely not rushing to the "summit"...:D

    http://www.gcast.com/u/hammockhanger/main

  6. #6
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    I think my biggest concern is I'll never get a picture of one in the wild.
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  7. #7
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Default Chance encounter

    Bears, like other large mamaels, seen to appear when you least expect them. So, keep your camera handy, because you never seem to know when one will appear on the trail ahead of you.

  8. #8

    Default

    I was lucky enough to encounter seven bears on my thru hike, including a mother and two cubs in Virginia. At Sand Spring in PA, I was filling my water bottle when I heard some leaves rustling directly behind me, but I thought the sound was a squirrel or something and I ignored it. Then the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I wheeled around, and a bear 15 paces away stood up on his hind legs. He/she immediately went down on all fours, turned around and accelerated away. I caught none of these bears on film because the movie camera was stowed in the pack. This taught me a good lesson - if you want wildlife photos, carry the camera in your hands.
    I took this lesson to the CDT in Montana, where I saw six bears in 19 days. All of them were caught on digital video (two at close range, including a grizzly) because I carried the camera, ready to shoot, in my hand. The resulting footage is, well, memorable (the griz is snapping her jaws at me).

  9. #9
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    While hiking northbound from Pass Mountain Hut in the Shenandoah
    National Park we heard something falling out of a tree to the left of
    us. When we looked over to see what it was, we saw a bear cub falling out of the tree. We thought the cub was cute. But right away, we were looking for Mama Bear. We didn't see Mama Bear. The cub caught him/herself and scrambled off.

  10. #10

    Default

    I've seen a number of bears on the AT. I have seen more southern hunting dogs intent on chasing one up a tree, however. As I understand it this allows the hunters not only the oportunity to enjoy the bear's magnificance at close range before killing it, but it also allows them to drop the animal with a single humane shot.

    On another occasion in VA a bow hunter asked me about the bear I had seen along the Trail earlier in the day. I wasn't sure if he was talking about the same one, as he explained the animal he was looking for had his arrow in it. I wished him well and continued my hike.

  11. #11

    Exclamation Bear at Stover Creek

    Anyone planning on staying at Stover Creek Shelter area-
    My family and I stayed in that area one night this past week and there is indeed still a bear hanging around.

    I am very grateful for the bear cables there!

    We didn't cook or eat near the area, and we hung all our food,toiletries,cookware;etc.

    The bear came right near our tent that night investigating~!
    It did leave <slowly> after we got up and made some noise though.

    The next morning, after investigating the area, we found that there had been some careless campers before us - there were food scraps and wrappers (AND LANDMINES! YUK!!)

    Please, take precautions.

    Bear hugs,
    Perkolady

  12. #12
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Default

    There were a lot of bear problems at Stover Creek last summer & spring. Now, I didn't find the bear cables there, so I rigged up a good bear line, and didn't have problems.

    It appears that most of the problem bears have been relocated from the Smokies to Georgia. (Or the Adirondacks, but that's anther story)

  13. #13

    Default bear cable location @ Stover Creek

    Just for anyone-
    The bear cables at Stover Creek are located just a little ways
    behind the shelter, to the right -maybe 30 ft or so (with the leaves coming down,
    you can see the cables if you're standing near the front of the shelter and look back and to the right some- and look UP of course.)

    Maybe they need to put up a sign or something. There is a notice on the shelter wall about the cables, but no hint as to their location.

    I will say,,, they are really nice and easy to use!


    Perkolady

  14. #14

    Default Bear relocations

    Back in the late 80's, there was a problem bear (one among several)
    in the Pemigiwasset Wilderness Area in the Whites.

    It was relocated once to northern NH , and it came BACK !
    Then, it was relocated AGAIN up to Canada- and it CAME BACK AGAIN!!

    Well, it ended up being destroyed.

    Now, I knew this bear personally. He hung around where I used to station myself while volunteering as a park ranger.
    He would come near my campsite often (there were a number of natural food sources nearby)
    He never actually came INTO the site though (always stayed at least 30 feet out)But, I was VERY careful about NOT cooking or eating or hanging food in my site.

    Unfortunately, the year after I moved, there was a woman camped at this site, and she had her food in the tent with her and of course, the bear made an attempt at getting to it and she was injured in the process, causing him to be relocated and eventually, destroyed.

    What a real shame , for her, for the bear, and for taxpayers !

    This area WAS posted for bear activity- and the warning wasn't heeded.

    PLEASE ! To anyone who's new to backpacking--- or even to the too lazy to hang the food bags-
    Don't take chances!!
    Especially if the area is posted and you've been warned.

    And don't think a BONFIRE will keep them away either- the bear I knew came by anyway !(although mine was far from a 'bonfire')

    .... oh I could tell ya some stories from my ranger days in the whites....(but now isnt the time)

    Anyway,,, there was an article written in BACKPACKER MAG about this
    incident (maybe in '90? '91?)

    and one other soapbox comment-
    If there's cables, there must be a good reason to use 'em. So DO !

    Safe camping to all,
    Perkolady


  15. #15
    Registered User
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    Default

    Are there bear cables at any other Georgia shelters besides Stover Creek??

  16. #16
    Section Hiker 180 AT miles
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    In the Shanendoah area i know that theyve placed metal "trees" rather than cables. they are usualy within sight of the shelter, however somtimes its a small walk to them. ive never had a problem with a bear at a shelter but have experianced them wandering through other camp sites. usualy you can tell an area a bear frequents, if there is obvious destruction of fallen logs or large rocks being moved or upended, rocks too big for a smaller animal than a bear to have done. then chances are there is a bear in the area. its always good practice to hang a bear bag. even if the risk is low. the cables and metal trees were put up for your convenience, if anything you should reward the labor of those who took time to ensure your safty.
    "Do what you Love, Love what you do"

  17. #17
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    As I recall, all of the shelters in Georgia have bear cables.

    Most of the shelters in the Smokies have bear cables. One or two here still keep food inside the shelter, and the cage is still up on these.

    Shenandoah, as posted, has the bear poles.

    New Jersey has bear boxes

    Some established campsites in the Whites have either a bear cable or a bear box. This includes 13 Falls in the Pemi and off the AT.

    Generally speaking, if there is a problem bear in the area, you will find either a box, pole, or cable.

    And, when there is not, notes in the register will advise you appropriately.

  18. #18

  19. #19

    Default

    Not all the shelters in GA have bear cables, just the newer ones and a few of the older ones. Although I remember hearing that the plans were to add bear cables to each GA shelter. Don't know how true that is though.

    As for my bear encounters:

    In 850 miles of hiking on the trail this season, I saw 7 bears.

    1. Just outside of the Smokies. Coming up to the trail while I was trying to find my designated peeing spot. I decided I didn't have to go so badly after all.
    2. A day after Kincora in TN. Back end fleeing into the brush.
    3. A mile or so outside of Parisburg. Back end fleeing into the brush.
    4,5,6,7. 3 cubs and moma bear. Seen playing in the trail going up to Dragon's Tooth.

    I wonder how many more I would have seen if I would have contiuned.
    Guess I'll find out in 2003!

  20. #20
    Easyhiker
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    Default

    Bear cables don't nesacerally keep your food safe. Ask Bluebearee about this or read the beginning of her 2002 journal at Trail Journals http://trailjournals.com

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