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Zulu
distinguished member(1836)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2020 09:02PM  

I saw this posted at Entry 55 today. The campsites in red are closed. I’m going into Saganaga on the 18th so I hope they stay on Alpine or stop raiding.
 
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06/16/2020 10:03PM  
Goes to show that islands aren't any better when it comes to getting away from bears.
4keys
distinguished member(793)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2020 10:30PM  
We are heading in mid July. We haven't finalized our exact route, but Alpine was an option. I wonder if the Bears will move on to new sites now that those other sites are closed. I'd rather not have a close encounter.
Zulu
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06/17/2020 07:48AM  
4keys: "We are heading in mid July. We haven't finalized our exact route, but Alpine was an option. I wonder if the Bears will move on to new sites now that those other sites are closed. I'd rather not have a close encounter.
"
You could call the USFS Gunflint Office before your trip to see if the bears are still actively raiding campsites on Alpine.
06/19/2020 03:59PM  
interesting post , with all the times i've been in this area never had bear issues , with 1 exception in the fall of 1993 seagull lake , we heard (from camp) which seemed to be two bears fighting , and knocking over trees ! one member was so freaked he took his dump very close to the tent after dark.
DownStrm
distinguished member (215)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/21/2020 01:04AM  
The bear chased a party off of Red Rock Lake, Campsite 411, on both June 17 and 18.
This is the southern-most site on the east side of Red Rock Lake. We met a couple with two wiener dogs on the afternoon of the 17th at the Red Rock Lake/Red Rock Bay portage. They said a bear had chased them out of that site.

We camped across the lake from this site. (Only because the wind picked up)
About 4:00 AM, we heard yelling and pots and pans banging from Campsite 411.
After this happened a third time, we grabbed our pots and pans and paddled to the bear site to help. Eight young men were camped at the site and didn't need our help. They said they would finally drive him out of camp, but he would sit in the woods and growl. This repeated 6 or 7 times until they were able to pack up and leave.
We notified the outfitter when we came out on Saturday.

Another group coming in said they had a bear in camp on Seagull Lake, but that this bear spooked easily and did not return.
clrdoguy68
member (15)member
 
06/21/2020 10:31AM  
We camped at the site on Red Rocks on the west side of the lake just north of 411 on the 17th and 18th. Bear came into the campsite on the evening of the 17th around 8 PM or so. We were sitting on the shoreline rocks on north end of the site and didn't even notice the bear at first. My wife got up and went to get something from one of our bags that was under a tarp we had set up on the south end of the site. She couldn't find what she was looking and I got up to help her look for it and I immediately noticed the bear not more than 10 yards from her on the other side of the tarp. It had flipped the lid off (which wasn't clamped on) of one our blue barrels and taken something out and was working on ripping it apart. Told my wife to walk towards me slowly and we moved off to the north side of the site. Grabbed the bear spray and all four of us stood together and made as much noise as possible. Took about 5 minutes of hooting and hollering and it finally moved off about another 10 yards but stood it's ground for several more minutes. Kind of huffed at us a few times. It finally disappeared into the woods but then reappeared about 5 minutes later just inside the woods on the north side of the site. We all stood together again hooting and hollering and after a few minutes it wondered up the shore line to the point just north of the site and swam across the lake. Next day I talked to a gentlemen staying at the site on the north east side of the lake and he said a bear was in his site as well on the same evening. Stayed the next night and never saw the bear again.

loneranger
member (11)member
 
06/21/2020 12:48PM  
We are heading into Red Rock this coming Friday and will be sure to have some bear spray and air horns handy. I just hope they don't close campsites on Red Rock like they have on Alpine. How long do they normally keep campsites closed when they do close them for bears anyone know?
Boppasteveg
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
06/22/2020 06:38PM  
"Following"
Voyager
distinguished member (246)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/24/2020 07:26AM  
That bear is doomed. I wonder if it could be reconditioned if everyone were to spray it. I think they use rubber bullets on polar bears that come into towns.
Zulu
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06/24/2020 08:15PM  
The Enforcement Ranger stopped into my campsite on Saganaga on the 18th to check my permit. He said to keep a clean camp because the Bears in the area have really been active. I just had an active red squirrel trying to get food all week and a marmot that didn’t bother anything.
MReid
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/25/2020 01:29PM  
clrdoguy68:"It had flipped the lid off (which wasn't clamped on) of one our blue barrels and taken something out and was working on ripping it apart.
"

And this is why they have bear problems. If you leave your food, make sure it's secure.
Marten
distinguished member (422)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/26/2020 09:09AM  
We always assume these bold bears have learned bad habits and have gotten their boldness from finding messy camps are easy pickings. Last month at my remote cabin in north central Minnesota where I am the only person in the 40 square mile block of forest a bear came in one evening and had its nose against my door glass as I sat inside with the radio on. Yelling and shotgun blast would not drive it away. I keep a very clean cabin site but here it was and was indifferent to attempts to drive it off. It was a healthy adult male bear except whatever had gone awry in its head. May it RIP.
tomo
distinguished member (113)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/26/2020 10:32AM  

"
And this is why they have bear problems. If you leave your food, make sure it's secure."

I'm sorry, but being in a campsite with a barrel with lid on but not clamped is hardly negligent camping and 'why they have bear problems.' They didn't leave their food; they were in the campsite at the time!

Green
Guest Paddler
 
06/26/2020 11:12AM  
If we are pointing fingers, I could argue that any campsite or portage at which food is not properly secured or in an approved bear resistant container while left unattended is an issue. This is a reasonable concern but can you imagine the impact this would have on potaging and camping by many or most people in the BWCA?
adam
Moderator
 
06/26/2020 11:52AM  
Green: "If we are pointing fingers, I could argue that any campsite or portage at which food is not properly secured or in an approved bear resistant container while left unattended is an issue. This is a reasonable concern but can you imagine the impact this would have on potaging and camping by many or most people in the BWCA? "

Just a reminder posting anonymously when you are a registered member is in very poor form.
06/26/2020 03:52PM  
clrdoguy68: "We camped at the site on Red Rocks on the west side of the lake just north of 411 on the 17th and 18th. Bear came into the campsite on the evening of the 17th around 8 PM or so. We were sitting on the shoreline rocks on north end of the site and didn't even notice the bear at first. My wife got up and went to get something from one of our bags that was under a tarp we had set up on the south end of the site. She couldn't find what she was looking and I got up to help her look for it and I immediately noticed the bear not more than 10 yards from her on the other side of the tarp. It had flipped the lid off (which wasn't clamped on) of one our blue barrels and taken something out and was working on ripping it apart. Told my wife to walk towards me slowly and we moved off to the north side of the site. Grabbed the bear spray and all four of us stood together and made as much noise as possible. Took about 5 minutes of hooting and hollering and it finally moved off about another 10 yards but stood it's ground for several more minutes. Kind of huffed at us a few times. It finally disappeared into the woods but then reappeared about 5 minutes later just inside the woods on the north side of the site. We all stood together again hooting and hollering and after a few minutes it wondered up the shore line to the point just north of the site and swam across the lake. Next day I talked to a gentlemen staying at the site on the north east side of the lake and he said a bear was in his site as well on the same evening. Stayed the next night and never saw the bear again.


"


I stayed on that site about two years ago with my son and another father-son tandem. It was mid-July and we had no problems. There did not appear to be any trash/food scraps that we noticed and we didn't leave any! We hiked up the hill a bit but I don't recall any natural food sources such as blueberries nearby or we would have picked them! We like the site. It's relatively flat, good couple of tent pads, trees for bear-rope hanging and hammocks. A good site --- I hope the nuisance bear moves on.
clrdoguy68
member (15)member
 
06/26/2020 06:06PM  
Just to be clear. I was in camp. Sitting maybe 25 yards from barrel when he strolled in unnoticed. Don't ask me how we (4 people) didn't see or hear him sneak in and snatch the barrel. I was in a state of shock when I saw him, like how the #$%# did he grab that thing without me hearing or seeing it.
Zanzinger
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
 
06/27/2020 12:02AM  
Big soft pads these things have is how they are so sneaky.
06/27/2020 06:44AM  
Those that travel with bear spray...would it be good judgement to spray a bear that won’t leave camp without the screaming/pots and pans method? Some people it seems have spray but don’t discharge it unless their life is in peril.
Voyager
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06/27/2020 07:42AM  
I'm of the opinion that any bear in camp should be sprayed, to discourage it from future encounters, and potentially saving it's life. I carried mail for 32+ years and had quite a number of close encounters with vicious dogs. One becomes proficient and confident in the use of pepper spray. Sometimes with repeat offenders, showing them the can was enough to break off the attack. Of course your can of bear spray is only good for a few seconds burst. That would be a problem if you had 4 bears in camp like someone posted a while back. I would feel confident walking right up to a bear and letting him have it right between the eyes, but I've only carried it once. Didn't like the extra weight.
MReid
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/27/2020 09:32AM  
clrdoguy68: "Just to be clear. I was in camp. Sitting maybe 25 yards from barrel when he strolled in unnoticed. Don't ask me how we (4 people) didn't see or hear him sneak in and snatch the barrel. I was in a state of shock when I saw him, like how the #$%# did he grab that thing without me hearing or seeing it."
Right. 1) The food was available to the bear (barrel top was not secured), 2) you were not attending to the food (25 yards away, and you didn't see the bear approach). In many areas (national parks, e.g.) you could be ticketed.
My point is, if you're not in direct possession of the attractants, and they are not secured (e.g. bear barrel, locker, etc), then habituated and food conditioned bears are very adept at getting your food. Once they get someone's food, they are much better equipped in getting others' food--they're smart, and they adapt (learn). And then they become much more of a nuisance by being more assertive, and can be difficult to scare away. Once bears become assertive, then campsites are closed and/or the bear is removed to prevent human injury.
06/27/2020 10:40AM  
PatrickE: "Those that travel with bear spray...would it be good judgement to spray a bear that won’t leave camp without the screaming/pots and pans method? Some people it seems have spray but don’t discharge it unless their life is in peril. " It’s a tough judgement call in my opinion. I like to think that a face-full of spray might just teach a bear that humans are not worth getting close to. One of the problems I see is that whatever spray misses the bear would be all over the ground in your campsite. If there is wind, you may also get it on your tent, tarp, or other gear, possible rendering it useless. The spray comes out in about a 3-5 foot cone and goes about 25 feet, so there is a good chance lots will end up in camp. Not only might that residual spray attract other bears drawn to the curious smell, but it can be very irritating for the people trying to use the site. I sprayed a charging bison in Yellowstone once, nearly emptying my can. The next day I went back to the spot to take some measurements, and when I walked through the spot with residual spray I started coughing and my eyes teared up. That was 15 hours later. So I often carry spray, but before I pull the trigger (again) I’ll likely try everything else first and carefully think through the consequences of the wind and where all the excess spray is going to go.
06/27/2020 11:33AM  
All valid points. Thanks for the insight.
MidnightPaddler
senior member (68)senior membersenior member
 
06/29/2020 05:28PM  
We saw the bear swimming across a channel near the portage from Alpine to Jasper on 6/24. Big one!

We told the rangers when we saw them on Seagull on our way out.
Boppasteveg
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
06/29/2020 06:12PM  
Most likely the same one.
schlumpyj
member (6)member
 
06/29/2020 10:00PM  
I am planning on camping one night on Alpine come Wednesday night. Is that a bad idea now or should I just plan to have a really good bear rope? From what it sounds, a lake in either direction doesn't offer much better odds (reports of Jasper and Red Rock bears).
annegg
member (27)member
 
06/30/2020 11:40AM  
We had a persistent bear visit our camp on Threemile Island. We were told in advance by outfitters and park rangers we met on the lake about the Alpine sites with the problems as well as some other sites nearby that had problems. Rangers had marked some of the camps with signs to not stay there. Someone took down a sign and stayed at one of the campsites anyway and had a bear visit. We were told in advance it was not aggressive but persistent, just didn't think it would visit us, but glad we were prepared and wasn't able to get our food.
annegg
member (27)member
 
06/30/2020 03:38PM  
These were the bear problem areas they told us to avoid when we were there this past week. The asterisk is our site where we had a persistant bear.
06/30/2020 04:30PM  
annegg: "We had a persistent bear visit our camp on Threemile Island. We were told in advance by outfitters and park rangers we met on the lake about the Alpine sites with the problems as well as some other sites nearby that had problems. Rangers had marked some of the camps with signs to not stay there. Someone took down a sign and stayed at one of the campsites anyway and had a bear visit. We were told in advance it was not aggressive but persistent, just didn't think it would visit us, but glad we were prepared and wasn't able to get our food.
"


Took down the sign and stayed there anyway. Well that's a problem, and seems to be the typical attitude of some people these days. Rules are not meant for them apparently. I hope the bear got all their food. IDIOTS!!!
06/30/2020 09:00PM  
annegg: "These were the bear problem areas they told us to avoid when we were there this past week. The asterisk is our site where we had a persistant bear. "

Thanks for sharing this picture and your experience.
justincarl
 
07/05/2020 06:37PM  
I was on Rog (Just south of Alpine, just west of Sea Gull) June 28-30. About 7pm in full daylight a bear got into a food bag. The wife went to get it to make dinner, saw a bag was missing, and heard growling and rustling in the woods close to her. 4 people were in camp at the time. It had climbed a tree. I got a brief look as it climbed down and went into the woods. I could no longer see it, so I yelled and threw rocks in its direction and it growled back and didn’t want to leave. We decided to pack up and move to Sea Gull.

After I thought it left I went to look for the food bad. It managed to eat a bag of seasoned almonds, a bag of almond M&Ms, And two boxes of breakfast bars. The wrappers were still wet from bear saliva.

It came back during the packing. This time In the open. It was a small bear, maybe 120 pounds. Still, a bear. It walked off after more yelling.

We found a site on Sea Gull just after sunset.

When we got out we talked to a local who said the dry spring and summer led to a lack of natural food, so the bears are starving.
loneranger
member (11)member
 
07/05/2020 08:31PM  
We stayed on Red Rock for 6 nights 6/27/20 to 7/3/20 and never seen or had a bear in our camp. I believe our campsite was #410, it is the one to the left as you come into Red Rock from Sag. We were told that a couple sharpshooters were in the area attempting to put the bear down.
schlumpyj
member (6)member
 
07/05/2020 08:37PM  
We had a small bear (looked like the size of a big dog) take our food packs from our tree the night of 7/3 on Alpine. The bear stuck around our camp for a few hours (about 10pm to midnight) and came back in the morning. This was campsite #2068. That definitely made our night more exciting...
CoachBigD
distinguished member (159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/06/2020 05:24AM  
loneranger: "We were told that a couple sharpshooters were in the area attempting to put the bear down."

Was this from the Forest Service?
fdtiii
 
07/06/2020 09:15AM  
Hey Everyone, we just got home from our 10+ day BWCA trip late last night and had to share our bear experience. We were camped on Red Rock, site 409 from 6/19-6/25 and on Tuesday June 23rd, we had a big fella come right up to camp, right at lunch time, as all 5 of us were in the process of cooking/eating.

Thankfully, he didn't make into our camp or near our food barrel as we all jumped up, started yelling as well as banging the pots and pans to drive him away. As others have noted, he was not afraid and pretty persistent, circling towards the latrine trail before comfortably laying down on the trail! After his short nap and a few more minutes of loud noises, we finally drove him off and thankfully did not encounter him again.

As we portaged from Red Rock into Alpine on 6/25, we overheard some portage news about a family that had their food stolen the same day we had our encounter, even after trying chase it away. So naturally we skipped Alpine and stayed on Seagull thinking, well this is right next to the entry point, we should be fine right?

HA, not even safe right next to the EP at campsite 474 on Seagull on 6/27. I'm not sure if he followed us or if there is maybe a small group of bears, but we heard it in the bushes back by the latrine so we started the loud noises again before it finally retreated. We went to investigate and he destroyed our Folgers TP container, but thankfully nothing else.

This was my 6th trip into the BWCA (first on the Gunflint side) and the first time any of us have every had an experience with a bear. Our outfitter thinks it might be a group and when he explained that there is no trap/release program because it stresses the animal out even more, we then realized what he was saying and what would eventually happen to this creature and it's really sad to think about.

My question is, if we as humans still choose to enjoy recreation in the bear's natural habitat, why do we have to kill this creature when it's being non-violent? Can't we add some bear boxes or bear poles to some of these sites like the USFS has at many other locations? I understand that would take away from the wilderness, but we already have latrines and fire grates, if it was a true wilderness, there would be none of that in my opinion.

After reading the comment on the sharpshooters, it's extremely sad to think about a beautiful creature I met eyes with, who was just foraging for food in a non-violent way will have to be put down because we want to go camping in his territory.

We will always remember you Yogi...Here is the best shot we took of him...



Strombomb
 
07/06/2020 09:19AM  
We stayed at campsite 21 on the first posters picture on Alpine from 6/29 - 7/3 when we were forced to leave due to bear activity.

A bear climbed a 15ft+ tree and snapped the large branch that our food packs were suspended from - gaining access to the bags and food, eating everything (even leaving a nice present for us at the campsite). Thankfully, we were not at the campsite during the visit.

We spoke with Seagull Outfitters before going out and they confirmed the bear activity, however, eluded to the fact that the forest service will not do anything because "you are in their home" -- they're not in our home, which I fully understand - and we were willing to take the risk, after 15-20 years of BWCA and Quetico trips, we never thought it "would happen to us".

My 2 cents -- unless you want to experience bear activity, I would actively avoid Alpine and the surrounding lakes. See pics below:



schweady
distinguished member(7305)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/06/2020 09:39AM  
Sorry about your experience (and that expensive Yeti!) but your first hang picture, apparently showing the method you employed, reminds me of this article: Six Reasons Not To Hang A Bear Bag
07/06/2020 06:33PM  
Here's another option for hanging using sailing pulleys that are lightweight, strong but a bit pricey. The rope is reflective climbing rope for hanging gear, I think. I picked it up at REI. There have been a lot of discussions about hanging versus stashing and I certainly don't want to re-launch that thread here! Hahaha.



I have a better photo of this from this past weekend on Parent. I'll try to download it out of my camera and put it up here too.

Found it.

loneranger
member (11)member
 
07/06/2020 08:30PM  
CoachBigD: "loneranger: "We were told that a couple sharpshooters were in the area attempting to put the bear down."


Was this from the Forest Service?"


It was from our outfitter.
heavylunch
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/08/2020 08:32AM  
Just a reminder for those who have never used bear spray. That stuff is nasty and if you get even a trace of it on your skin or clothes you will feel it for hours. It isn't easy to contain as the droplets will eventually land on something and if you walk or touch that ground, or tree, or backpack it will eventually end up on your skin or face and life won't be fun at all.



PatrickE: "Those that travel with bear spray...would it be good judgement to spray a bear that won’t leave camp without the screaming/pots and pans method? Some people it seems have spray but don’t discharge it unless their life is in peril. "
DJSteve
 
07/19/2020 08:39AM  
Just came out from a Seagull-Alpine-RedRock-Sag trip. I had seen this thread before we left and asked our outfitter about current situation; they indicated the spots as shown in the original post had been closed previously but weren't sure if they still were. We set off from Seagull Monday the 14th. We stopped at the furthest west closed spot on Alpine (on the island) and there was nothing on campsite indicating it was closed, but decided to pass and ended up camping on the southernmost site on Alpine (near the portage to Jasper). About 8:30pm a bear wandered into camp and we chased it off. 6:30am the next morning it came back; my travel companion was awake and heard it... found it climbing the tree with the food pack and scared it off again. Didn't lose anything, but thought I would update this thread so others were aware.

We saw another group on the portage from Alpine into Red Rock who had camped on Alpine the same night and didn't have any bear activity, though I did not inquire which site they stayed on.
Rookie313
 
07/19/2020 11:36PM  
Thanks for the heads up.
ockycamper
distinguished member(558)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2020 05:48PM  
Has anyone tried trip alarms? I was thinking about bringing a five pack of small alarms that tie between the pack and a tree. If a bear would pull the pack the alarm separates and sounds a really loud high pitched piercing alarm. We would tie them to the bear vaults or hanging food packs. It would be a first alert and also a noise deterent. They emit a 120 decibel (amulance level) alarm that will sound continuously for 30 minutes unless the pin is put back in. Also looking at BASU E Alarm
naturboy12
distinguished member (309)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/30/2020 05:56PM  
I respectfully say, please, no.

That level of sound, in the middle of the night in the middle of the wilderness would be highly unappreciated.
ockycamper
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07/30/2020 06:07PM  
Would it be any worse then lots of shouting, banging pots, and air horns? That is what I typically hear.
RatherbeDuffing
member (25)member
 
07/30/2020 10:01PM  
ockycamper: "Would it be any worse then lots of shouting, banging pots, and air horns? That is what I typically hear."

1) At least I know what that means instead of some screeching high pitched sound mysteriously erupting across the lake

2) I bet the pots and pans would accompany the alarm sound soon after it is tripped.

This is a terrible idea. What if you are away when the alarm is tripped? I have to put up with that for 30 minutes?
ockycamper
distinguished member(558)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/31/2020 09:23AM  
Good points on the noise. I will check into ultrasonic devices. I use them for my work to turn back large dogs. Never tried them on bears. No noise for humans.
TheOnion
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
 
08/07/2020 01:19PM  
What happens if the bear runs away with pin wrapped around its leg? 30 mins of unpleasantness for the whole lake.
 
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