Camping and Bears - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-22-2007, 10:07 PM   #1
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Hello,

Has anyone had experience with bears while he/she was camping?

I've 'camped' at Curry Villiage in Yosemite for a few years and they are constantly reminding people of the hazards of bears. They show videos of bears ripping cars apart and tearing through garbages, etc. They even warn you that if your car is vandalized by a bear the rangers will fine you for having left something in it that tempted the bears.

The last time I went we camped with some very nice people who recently moved from Alaska. They didn't live in a city of any sort and they told very, very scarey tales of bears and moose terrorizing neighborhoods. Frankly, they scared me. I have two little kids who are always snacking and dropping crackers and other goodies in the car and trailer and I really don't want to meet a bear face to face.

Is my imagination running wild?

Thanks,

-Carl
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:17 PM   #2
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Generally, in most areas, if you say "BOO" to a black bear, it will turn tail and run.

That said, I have seen plenty here in the San Bernardinos and respect them. I have had them in my campsite, or just passing thru. You can see and hear them trying to get into dumpsters and they rummage if you have left anything out. So DON'T.

I have never heard of a black bear attack here, but I did see one sad example of misplaced manhood this summer when a camper shot a bear in the butt that was running from him.

I wouldn't walk up and try to pet one, but I am not scared of them either. Just let them pass thru, they are not really interested in you unless you have a snack for them.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:21 PM   #3
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My macho man experience with a bear this summer
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:52 PM   #4
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I've tent camped in Yosemite since I was a kid and never had experienced problems with bears.
The rules are plain and simple....don't leave food or coolers out in the open or visible in the vehicle. Store food items that you don't have room for in the trailer in the bear-proof boxes located at each campsite.
I've heard of more bear "problems" in Sequoia. As for what campground you are in, none of them are sacred. In Sequoia, one year it's Lodgepole, next year it's Dorst, etc. We were camping across the way from some guys eating dinner one night and while they were all facing away from the woods, the bears came up to the table and started helping themselves. They hit some pots and pans together and off they went! It seems that they go to whatever campgroud starts off the season by providing available food and stick around there hoping for more.
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Old 02-23-2007, 05:46 AM   #5
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Carl, as has been said, bears just want to eat. Unless you make yourself a threat, or you put yourself between a momma and baby, you aren't in much danger from the bears. Deer actually present as much of a hazard to the tourists, especially in Yosemite. They're not afraid of people any more, and they'll let you get very close to them.

Deer are very dangerous when angry or spooked though, and have sharp hooves that can slash you deep, wide, and repeatedly before you even recognize you've been attacked. Make sure your kids understand the danger from being too close the "pretty deer" (or for that matter, any wild animal) too.

You see the same behavior from tourists in the Black Hills with the bison. It amazes me.

Roger
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Old 02-23-2007, 06:54 AM   #6
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The other bottom line is if the experience is going to keep you in a constant state of anxiety..then don't camp there. This country has MILLIONS of beautiful places to camp that are completely safe and don't have bears. Go out and experience those places, save your money and when you decide to go to Yosemite with your kids, either stay in one of the few cabins or the hotel...or stay outside the park with your trailer and drive in and out of the park on day trips.
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Old 02-23-2007, 10:19 AM   #7
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Bears are really interesting critters. Back in PA I spent a lot of time in the Allegheny Mountains. It's real bear country and you learn to deal with them there. It's wise to be extra careful in the spring when Momma Bear is looking after her newbies. Up there the last thing a bear wants to see or be around is YOU. Even the big boys will usually make tracks long before you ever see them.

But there HAVE been a growing number of nasty attacks on humans by black bears in recent years. Habitat encroachment and "familiarity breeds contempt" has created all sorts of unfortunate confrontation incidents. Most often these are unfortunate for the bear, but sometimes it's the other way around.

By and large, the difference between a grizzly attack and a black bear attack is just the opposite of what most people think. On average a grizzly just wants to end the threat you represent and will USUALLY be satisfied if you curl up and pretend to be dead or at least no longer a combatant. However, if a black bear actually full-on attacks you, he wants to kill you and nothing less will satisfy him. So the general rule (to which there are always exceptions!) is to play dead if a grizzly actually gets on top of you, and to fight like bloody hell if it's a black. Kick, yell, punch, bite— do whatever you can, but don't let a black get you down or you're probably a goner.

Fortunately, your chances of running into a killer black are very, very slim. Soimething almost on the order of meeting Usama Bin Laden on the way to the loo. But with so many people poking their noses into places where bears used to feel some sense of private ownership, it's always a good idea to keep alert and be suspicious of any bear you meet, anywhere.
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:28 PM   #8
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HERE is an interesting article

that mimics everything I was ever taught about bears.

Make note that is claims there are only 23 deaths attributed to Black Bears in this century in north America . There are NO brown (Grizzly) bears in the continental US, and it is those that are more likely to display preditory behavior.

You are more likely to die or be injured driving to a bear infested campground than you are to be attacked by a bear here.

"Common" sense (whatever that is) if used, will protect you way better than a weapon or running scared.

Go camp and enjoy!
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:41 PM   #9
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During a presentation on safety in bear country, we were told that the distinction between appropriate responses to aggressive behaviour by bears depended on the nature of reason for the behaviour (e.g. predatory versus warning), not the type of bear, since both types do the same things, for the same reasons... the difference was just that one type is more likely to be predatory.

Which type? It doesn't really matter, since in a real situation an average amateur cannot reliably distinguish the two species. We looked at quite a few photos of bears, and they just don't nicely follow the textbook features.

In the end, I think rational behaviour is to not leave your food out, not approach any wildlife, and enjoy whatever area interests you. There are hazards anywhere, and if bear attacks are your biggest risk, you're lucky. It's like lightning: you don't carry metal sticks in the air during a storm, but you also don't avoid an area because there might be a thunderstorm... and you're life insurance company isn't worried about having to pay out your policy because you're less likely to get zapped than to win a lottery.
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Old 02-23-2007, 04:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Make note that is claims there are only 23 deaths attributed to Black Bears in this century in north America . There are NO brown (Grizzly) bears in the continental US, and it is those that are more likely to display preditory behavior.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal...erica_by_decade

This reference cites and documents 52 black bear fatalities in the last century. And, yes, we DO have grizzlies in The US.
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Old 02-23-2007, 10:47 PM   #11
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Quite a few Grizzlies in and around Glacier, Montana and in and around Yellowstone.
In fact livestock ranchers in Wyoming are complaining about livestock getting killed
by Grizzlies.



Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal...erica_by_decade

This reference cites and documents 52 black bear fatalities in the last century. And, yes, we DO have grizzlies in The US.
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Old 02-23-2007, 11:05 PM   #12
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OK.. but you missed the point...

Yellowstone is quite aways north, Yosemite is without them and as for black bears, 52, 23, or 1003.. (I am sure you can find websites with different #s, I'll take the government #s vs the ever changing and unmonitered or verified wikepedia anyday) in this century vs the millions of folks that venture out in the woods each YEAR.. that it is insignificant.

The odds of you even being injured by one are so slim that it isn't even worth worrying about. If those stats said hundreds per year, I might be somewhat concerned.

I would be more afraid of the two legged creatures anyday.
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Old 02-24-2007, 08:03 AM   #13
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Gina is on the money, stats notwithstanding. As a retired park ranger in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Alaska I can testify that the most dangerous animals in National Parks are people. The crime statistics far outweigh the bear incidents. The huge crowds that hang out in places like Yosemite contain a certain percentage of crooks just like everywhere else. That doesn't mean you have to be paranoid about visiting the parks, just not oblivious.

Bears develop different personalities based on environment and habituation to people. Habituated black bears in campgrounds are probably the least likely to eat you, but the most likely to be burglers and thieves. The Park Service goes to great lengths to keep bears and human food sources apart. Unfortunately, uninformed park visitors continue to leave food where bears can get it, or even intentionally feed bears to get that cool photo. Between the crowds and badly behaved bears, I wouldn't enjoy camping in Yosemite either. But I wouldn't be afraid to do it if I really wanted to be there. Just follow the basic food storage rules they hand out at the entrance station.

Everybody has their comfort level based on personal experience. I slept in tents in Alaska for years in grizzly country and didn't worry about it much. Whenever I am in a large urban area I feel pretty uneasy. The people who live in the big cities feel perfectly safe there.
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Old 02-24-2007, 05:36 PM   #14
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Here's an interesting site backing up the higher figure with facts and attributions. Seems that there is a recent increase in black bear attacks, for whatever reason.

http://www.covebear.com/BlackBearAttacks.htm

And I'll stand by my comments about the qualitative differences in black and grizzly attacks. A quick search for "black bear attacks" will probably confirm what I wrote.

I agree, as I said, that the chances of an attack are well beyond remote. But I also think facts are pretty useful tools for keeping us safe.
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