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      Bear on Bridge Lk, near Lake 4     
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distinguished member(2611)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/11/2018 02:15AM
email I just got from the Ely Forest Service:

We received a report this afternoon of a bear on Bridge Lake (north of Lake Four), 0n the campsite in Section 25. The people hung their pack but didn’t get it high enough. At about 10 p.m. the bear came in and tore a hole in the bottom of their pack. It got all of their food except for a few dried meals and their coffee. They were unable to scare it away. They left the site for an hour or so. When they returned the bear was hovering at the edge of the site. The next morning, they noticed a well-worn path from the campsite back into the marsh.

Rebecca Brin Manlove, PIO2
Visitor Services Forest Service
Superior National Forest
p: 218-365-2093

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09/17/2018 07:23AM
We encountered aggressive bears in this area as well. We stayed on Lake Four, campsite 1484, on 9/14/2018. Our first encounter occurred at 2000 hours as were finishing dinner and cleaning up camp for the night. A single bear raided our site and ran off with our trash. Shocked by the brazen encounter, we started yelling and banging pots to scare it off. At this point we could hear crashing in the woods all around us, including across the narrow lake from the site. Using our head lamps we counted four bears, two on our side of the lake just outside the perimeter of the camp site and two across the lake. Frightened, we did not feel comfortable going into the woods to hang our food (i.e. stored in a heavy-duty plastic dry sack). Instead we packed it in one of our packs and rolled it in a tarp and tried to hide within camp (this ended up being bad decision).

We stayed up until 2330 speaking loudly, banging pots and oars against the canoe. The entire time we could see the bears' eyes with our head lamps in the woods around camp. Defeated, we gathered our important items to get home safe (i.e. water filter and car keys) and retreated to our tent with our can of bear spray. Within one minute, the bears were back in camp, tearing at the tarp tied around the canoe pack. I yelled and banged pots from the tent and the bears ran into the nearby marsh/wooded area with the pack and proceeded to tear into it. A few minutes later, another bear came into camp and sniffed around tent. I yelled and thankfully this bear ran off. We continued to hear bears wandering around our campsite until a storm rolled in at midnight. The storm lasted until 0430 Saturday morning.

At 0530, we heard what appeared to be a single bear enter camp. We were concerned that a bear was back in camp as all of our food was already taken at this point. We decided it was time to break camp and leave as quickly as possible. We loudly jumped out of our tent, bear spray in-hand, and hastily broke down camp. Immediately prior to leaving, I went down to the water to fill our water filter bag. As I looked to my right I saw the bear watching me 30 yards away from the marshy area next to the campsite. We pulled out from the site at 0600 with light just visible in the eastern horizon.

Just a few items to note:

1) Because we left the campsite with such haste, we may have left unintended items in camp. We did a quick once over before we left, but it was very dark and were ready to leave after a sleepless and frightening night. We apologize for any items left behind.

2) The bears around this site are not afraid of humans. They are clearly habituated to raiding camps without consequences. The bears in this area are not scared away by traditional methods of talking loudly, banging pots/pans or banging oars against canoes. I would have attempted to use my bear spray for negative reinforcement, but I only had one can and needed to save it for self-defense. In the future I will bring more than one can of spray and possibly a side arm for bear deterrence.

3) Do not stay at this site if you can help it.
distinguished member(582)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/18/2018 09:30PM
With bears that bold, I'm not sure I would have gone in the tent where my imagination could go wild with every sound.
distinguished member(4352)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
09/19/2018 12:12PM
Wow, that is an Incredibly scary encounter.

We have 4 small canisters. One for each adult on this years trip. I might take all 4 even with fewer people so as to remove worry of using one as repellent. There is a borderline of when to do that but I think those bears would have gotten me to try that. But I fully understand why you didn’t.
distinguished member(2170)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/19/2018 04:28PM
I feel bad for the bears. They are conditioned now. Bears bothering campers in bear country are usually put down. Distorted thinking, huh?
09/20/2018 08:10PM
Oh my goodness! There's no way I could have ever gone and tried to "sleep" in the tent. I would have made Mr.MN and MiniMN and myself get in the canoe and paddle in the middle of the lake until daybreak and stay awake until we could paddle back to camp to break it down.
distinguished member(2611)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/28/2018 08:58PM
So far, most people who have a Lake One permit (#30, not #30F) have been choosing to go down the Kawishiwi River. Less wind and no bear issues.
10/04/2018 06:04AM
I went in with my son at the Lake One Entry on 9/22 and ran into a number of groups who had bear issues along the northern shores of Lakes 2, 3 and 4 as well as Bridge. We went down to the SE Corner of Lake 3 near the portage into Horseshoe and had no problems as well as few other people. When we left we ran into more people on the water and portages who had been impacted by the group of bears (one said there were 4) that were raiding camps. All of them said they had hung their food but two groups said they did not hang it high enough.
distinguished member(1554)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/04/2018 07:39AM
I can't help but wonder if the "Bridge Lake Gang" consist of a sow and three year and half old cubs who learned from her and have not quite left yet? Seems a little odd for 4 independent adults to be that close together. Unfortunate for them whichever.
distinguished member(2611)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/04/2018 08:04PM
From what I had heard it sounded like a sow, either 2 - 2 year old cubs and a newer cub or 1 - 2 yr old and 2 young cubs. Either way, she is going to endanger her "children" by teaching them bad habits. :-(
senior member (93)senior membersenior member
10/05/2018 12:07AM
Sounds a lot like the sow with cubs that frequented the area NE of Snowbank some years ago. Met a fellow at an Oregon REI that had a similar experience in this area. Could be the heavy use of this area that contributes to these situations.
distinguished member(2611)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/05/2018 04:34PM
Maybe heavy use of a sort but more the groups who do not hang food, or prepare their site as well as they should. Also you can "blame" people who leave food around, fish guts at camp.

Just heavier use would not be as much of a reason if people were able to take care of their food & camp better. Plus a sow that has brought around cubs with for a year or more should have been dealt with before she could teach more.
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