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scotttimm
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07/02/2020 07:00PM
We have a trip through EP 16 late July with 6 kids in tow, and with all the chatter about the Agnes bear with three cubs, now visiting all Agnes sites and tore into a tent that had food, I decided to call the Ely FS station. The woman I talked to acknowledged the issue, and mentioned they expect a lot more bear encounters this summer because with the extreme dryness, there are zero berries of any kind to be found. She said without significant rain, don’t expect blueberries either. Bears are hungry and on the move. She emphasized how important it is to keep a clean camp, keep smelly items like flavored chapstick etc out of camp, and hang food correctly. She didn’t know if they planned to dispatch any problem bears, but mentioned they would hear about it if it happened. So, of course, keep a clean camp folks, be especially vigilant. With kids this is always tough - but I’m sure the knowledge that bears are around and moving will help my kiddos! Thought I’d pass along, FWIW.
 
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Jaywalker
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07/03/2020 07:24AM
I was up on Knife two weeks ago. It was obviously too early for blueberries, but what surprised me was how dry and brittle they were. I walked through some small patches and they just crumbled under my feet. About half looked dead. Not sure how fast they come back with rain, but it didn't look promising for this year's crop.
 
07/03/2020 09:55AM
Thanks for posting this. I wasn't aware of the bear problem on Agnes. I was wondering if bear activity information is posted online anywhere? With the distance placed in getting permits now it would seem that the normal communication lines on info like this is sparse.
 
mjmkjun
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07/03/2020 12:42PM
I hope the chat with the ranger eased your concerns. Holy mackerel, that's a lot of kids in tow/ to track. Hope they have a great time. Double that hope for the parental units in the group.

"....chatter about the Agnes bear with three cubs, now visiting all Agnes sites and tore into a tent that had food,..."
That'll do it! A quote from an article I read, "the average dog’s sense of smell is 100 times better than humans. A bloodhound is 300 times better. A bear’s sense of smell is 7 times better than a bloodhound’s or 2,100 times better than a human." Bears will catch the scent of frying bacon 5 miles away. Impressive.

Poor bears. No berries to munch this year. Those little cubs will miss out.
 
07/03/2020 01:56PM
OneMatch: "Thanks for posting this. I wasn't aware of the bear problem on Agnes. I was wondering if bear activity information is posted online anywhere? With the distance placed in getting permits now it would seem that the normal communication lines on info like this is sparse."
Right here;) This is a great place to find out, but call an outfitter near your entry point and they should have up to date info on bear problems.
 
BWPaddler
distinguished member(9225)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/03/2020 04:21PM
Food inside the tent? Wouldn't surprise me in a GOOD berry year if a bear went after that.

I don't know how young the kids are that are going, but I've been taking mine since they were younger than one... and the thing I often forgot about, is the FOOD that is ON THEIR CLOTHING!! Sometimes I would literally have to put the dirty clothes inside a ziplock bag and hope that was enough, or if I was really aware, I would put the dirty clothes in the food bag.

Good luck!
 
Pinetree
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07/03/2020 07:09PM
BWPaddler: "Food inside the tent? Wouldn't surprise me in a GOOD berry year if a bear went after that.


I don't know how young the kids are that are going, but I've been taking mine since they were younger than one... and the thing I often forgot about, is the FOOD that is ON THEIR CLOTHING!! Sometimes I would literally have to put the dirty clothes inside a ziplock bag and hope that was enough, or if I was really aware, I would put the dirty clothes in the food bag.


Good luck!"
Black bear is slightly different than a old griz, but back packing in Yellowstone park we were told to take our food and clothes wore that day like 60-100 yards away and hang them in a tree. We were fishing also so our clothes would be full of fish slime and smell also.

Maybe I should but I never worried or maybe just never thought of changing clothes in the BWCA before going into the tent?
 
lindylair
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07/03/2020 08:39PM
1976 was a year much like this. We paid for our nonchalance on a Q trip to Isabella lake with 3 visits from momma bear and 2 cubs in one morning and a food pack dragged back into the woods. Nowadays we use Bear Vaults and I have much more confidence in them than I have in most of our hangs over the years.

I always put deodorant, toothpaste, chapstick, etc in the food pack/vault overnight. My tripping partner however doesn't and often sleeps with that stuff in or just outside his tent. No issues yet.

Glad we got our BWCA trip in early this year. However we do have another trip planned in a remote area but not quite in the BWCA for early August. I take great comfort in the regulations that prohibit black bears from crossing outside of the bWCa borders.
 
acanoer
member (35)member
 
07/04/2020 10:28AM
When I was on Agnes 3 weeks ago for 5 days we had no bear problem but did talk to a group that did.

Also they heard yelling and pot banging from several other camp sites and talked to one group that vacated one site due to the bears.

Yes it was a sow with 3 cubs.

Unfortunately there will now be 4 problem bears in that area.

Problem bears should be dealt with decisively and quickly.
 
Pinetree
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07/04/2020 11:47AM
usually only become a problem if the bear was and is rewarded with food at campsites.
 
scotttimm
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07/04/2020 12:01PM
Yes - the Agnes bears, according to my friend, were all completely unafraid of humans...so there will only likely be one sad end to that.

We went backpacking in Montana last year, and due to grizzlies we had to be extraordinarily careful. Our youth group kids all ate sitting around a tarp that was our "dinner table" each time we ate, which was then cleaned off and hung with the food bag and all the cooking gear. That was the first I had seen the tarp table technique. However, mountain goats in two different sites would come and hang around wherever we had just eaten, even though we had cleaned everything thoroughly, and I was floored. The fireban may actually be useful in this way - instead of groups constantly cooking steaks, dogs, etc on those grates they will have to cook on stoves and hopefully clean up after themselves. After that trip, I am less worried about bears...except for the ones that now know exactly where to visit to grocery shop. I now worry about pushing our group to LLC on the first day, and whether or not it will be crowded with everyone staying clear of Agnes.

And yes - this is the first time with 6 kids (3 adults). Three are ours and three are their friends. I think it actually may be easier, as they will pair off and give the adults a bit of a break lol. Can bears smell margaritas?
 
Pinetree
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07/04/2020 12:37PM
Usually the farther you get away from high concentration of campers, the bears are more inclined to be afraid of campers. less previous contact, less rewards of food in the past.

Talking about Griz- I seen one run one time from afar-forget it you will never outrun a griz. They are fast.
 
acanoer
member (35)member
 
07/04/2020 02:33PM
I have seen many bears run they are fast for sure.
 
x2jmorris
distinguished member(1249)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2020 03:16PM
That is interesting about the berries not being around which forces bears to go other places. Then add that most people don't take care of their food and yeah no wonder we are hearing more about bears this year. Here's hoping to some rain.
 
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