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PVnRT
member (41)member
 
07/01/2020 07:42AM
Due to the recent greater volume of posts regarding bear activity in campsites, this would be an ideal time to share your FIRST HAND OBSERVED experiences with your food storage/hanging effectiveness. Marketing of canisters and those kevlar satchels is thick, but who here has seen them provide the protection promised? I've been tempted to purchase, but need much convincing to let go of my $! The poster of Three Mile Island campsite shows a video of the bear high up in tree attempting to snatch his food pack. This is sort of evidence I find most compelling.
 
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mschi772
distinguished member (434)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/02/2020 07:29AM
For any IGBC-certified product, you can generally find video of the testing as well as other general videos of grizzlies wrestling with the product. IGBC isn't just marketing, it's real testing with real bears.
 
07/02/2020 10:19AM
The same applies to SIBBG testing. Those are the two that test "bear-resistant" food storage containers before they are approved for use in areas where they are required. They are required in places where hanging is no longer effective and /or possible. Many of the canister/ursack manufacturers may have information or video.
 
07/02/2020 04:30PM
I have had no bear encounters on my limited number of trips.

I did find these videos interesting as regards bears in canoe country.

Knife Lake Tree Climbing Blue Barrel

Ursack after a bear in camp
 
07/02/2020 05:18PM
I’ve been tripping for 30 years and have yet to have a bear in camp. I always hang my pack regardless, but I’ve recently bought two ursacks just in case I can’t find a tree. Most of my worries this last trip were with chipmunks and squirrels. I would be interested to know the percentage of campers that have had negative encounters with bears in camp. I would say bear worries are overblown. Unless you know specific places that already have bear problems, like Agnes or Basswood River I wouldn’t worry too much.
 
07/02/2020 07:00PM
Have not had a bear in camp . . . that I'm aware of :).
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1115)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/02/2020 07:52PM
Never saw a bear in the BWCA. Had big ones twice at Many Point scout camp, and a medium sized one at the Sawbill campgrounds (site #1) cooking breakfast a couple of years ago. I think he started at the north end and worked his way down judging by the progress of the yelling and noise.
 
annegg
member (27)member
 
07/02/2020 09:52PM
I'm the "lucky contestant" who had a bear visit on Threemile Island on Seagull Lake. Our FIRST trip to the BWCA. Our bag was thick but it wasn't marketed as bear proof. The bear was unable to get at our food and consume it. It did however give it some good slashes and we had to dispose of some of the food because of this. We were warned by the outfitters about the nine campsites where there was bear activity before we set out. The park rangers we met on the lake checking permits/campsites (again ... lucky us) made sure we knew to hang our packs and keep a clean camp. I'm sure we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time with a bear who is persistent and knows what it is after. But if I had to do it again I'd get some bear proof container that I could put away from the campsite and didn't have to be hung. Just my "newbie" thoughts.
 
billconner
distinguished member(7319)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/03/2020 06:01AM
20 years and not seen a bear.

Reading here and elsewhere it seems the predominance of reported events are daytime while campers are day tripping.
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2260)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2020 07:09AM
I do have one first hand observation. In about 25 trips I've had just one bear in camp that I know of. It was on the north end of Cherokee about 8 years ago. I had just pulled into the campsite and lugged my two packs and bear bag (an REI wet bag) up the rock face and set them by the fire grate. Being a hot afternoon, I went back to my canoe and paddled out about 30 yards to deep water so I could filter some water (my last trip with a pump filter). It took me maybe 6-8 minutes or so, and I paddled back, got back out of the canoe and walked up the rock face toward my gear. A small bear was right next to my food bag. Fortunately it spooked and shot immediately into the woods upon seeing me and my dog. He must have been near by when I hauled my gear up into camp, and I was surprised he came in with me so close getting water or landing the canoe.

I guess the lesson in this I took away was no matter how well you hang a bear bag, if its on the ground its vulnerable. The same applies to other methods. If you use a blue barrel or bear vault and the lid is off, its vulnerable. Same with an Ursack thats not knotted, or a stash bag sitting in camp. Like Bill mentions below, it seems a lot of stories I remember hearing are problems either while people were out fishing or while in camp preparing dinner. I'm now far more guarded when in camp with my food is exposed.
 
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2260)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2020 07:29AM
annegg: "I'm the "lucky contestant" who had a bear visit on Threemile Island on Seagull Lake. Our FIRST trip to the BWCA. Our bag was thick but it wasn't marketed as bear proof. The bear was unable to get at our food and consume it. It did however give it some good slashes and we had to dispose of some of the food because of this. We were warned by the outfitters about the nine campsites where there was bear activity before we set out. The park rangers we met on the lake checking permits/campsites (again ... lucky us) made sure we knew to hang our packs and keep a clean camp. I'm sure we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time with a bear who is persistent and knows what it is after. But if I had to do it again I'd get some bear proof container that I could put away from the campsite and didn't have to be hung. Just my "newbie" thoughts. "
Wow, stubborn bear in camp, ranger visit, obnoxious outfitter invading your campsite to drop canoes - you're lucky you didn't have a tree fall on your tent too! As first timers, I hope you know you experiences were not in any way typical.
 
HangLoose
distinguished member(780)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2020 08:30AM
I've seen dozens of bears over 50+ BWCA/Quetico trips but I'd never had a bear in my campsite until this season (June 6, 2020). The sounds of the bear breathing and snorting near my hammock fly is something I will never forget. The bear breathing is what actually woke me up at about 10pm. My wife, who was hanging in a hammock just a few feet away also heard the ruckus. Luckily all of our food was securely hanging in two Ursacks on a tree nearby. We both yelled and clapped and the bear immediately ran away. It never came back.

I am not sure if the bear made an attempt at my food before I woke up. The bear was NOT able to run off with my food. The Kevlar rope and bags are impenetrable and secured to the tree. I've been using the Ursack for 10 years and I'm a big fan.

This didn't happen in my situation, but I can imagine the worst case is maybe your food gets crushed a bit by the bears bite. But the bear is NOT going to gain access what is inside the Ursack and it certainly won't be able to run off with it.

It should be noted that we always bring our food with us on day trips and anytime we leave the campsite for fishing etc. I wouldn't want to give a bear an extended period to make an attempt at our food. But the Ursack will definitely prevent the quick snatch and grab from a black bear especially if you are there to scare off the bear.

Ursack!
 
schweady
distinguished member(6955)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/03/2020 10:13AM
I've had a bear in camp maybe 3-4 times in 40+ trips; on our very first BW night ever, one ripped a slice in the tent while my wife and I were inside. But I think she just momentarily lost track of her cubs on the other side of the fire grate... :-o

We now use the BV500 for our trips. Just big enough for the 3-night supply for the 2 of us. Freeze dried foods is the only way that's possible, of course. Stashing it back in the woods takes wut a minute. A little reflective tape on it helps to find it quicker sometimes.

On our trips with the men's group of 8-9, they insist on fresh foods, and it will fill a Duluth pack and another smaller insulated meat pack. I am so tired of hanging packs, and cringe at the minimal effectiveness of preparing those nightly 'bear piñatas.' My guess is that that one handy and obvious hanging tree is the very first place any bear will visit in camp.
 
Marten
distinguished member (417)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2020 08:29PM
A problem with bear safety is that many like me have gone decades and bears either take off right away or leave after a little urging. Most of my bear encounters are in a remote area of north central MN and are in no way brought on by previous sloppy campers. Early in June this year,unknown to me, a black bear was above me in a big White Pine tree. It finally decided it was getting out of Dodge and came down that tree tail first like a professional pole climber at the Hayward Logging Championships. It was only about 15 yards away when it hit the ground and headed east as fast as it could go. Another typical outcome on a long list of bear encounters. That evening I was sitting in my cabin when the third bear seen around the cabin yard in 35 years has it nose pressed to the door glass as I sat inside with the radio on. Figuring one shout would see it heading for the BWCA I opened the door and yelled. It did look at me at least when I shouted. The shotgun was loaded and a shot fired next to it standing 30 yards away. At least it trotted this time. Two minutes later it was back in the yard and we had another yelling and shootin good time. It did trot off. Two minutes later it was back and I yelled but when it just looked at me I did not waste that third deer slug. The warden was notified and came out to check on the incident but that was a week later and the healthy adult male was rotted away. I did not like doing it but felt I had no choice. The take-away on this is to not take any bear encounter for granted. You may have one like I did that breaks all the established rules. I have never carried bear spray on our Canadian trips in little used parks but will make sure we have some from now on.
 
gkimball
distinguished member(615)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2020 09:24PM
Gave up hanging food years ago and switched to bear canisters - long before the Ursack was created. I have had a couple bears in camp but have never lost any food. They key is to keep your camp, packs and whatever you use for protection as odor free as possible in the first place.

Bear Encounters Bear Vault
 
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