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4keys
distinguished member(739)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2020 07:35AM
We have always brought our dog with us to the BW and never had any issues, but as far as I know we have not come across any bears either. With all the bear activity this year, especially around Alpine which is on our route, makes me wonder about bringing our almost 2 year old lab along. She stays close to us, listens pretty well but not perfectly yet, and is always alert (she loves chasing butterflies). In camp she is usually off leash. I really don't know how she would react to a bear.

Has anyone taken their dog and had bear issues? How did the dog - and bear - react? Would a bear avoid a site with a dog in it?
 
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Jaywalker
distinguished member(2255)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2020 08:23AM
I just finished my 10th BWCA trip with a dog. I’ve only had a bear in camp once, and it was young and easily frightened off. I think it was me more than my dog that did it, as he is neither a barker nor a chaser. That said, it is my opinion that having a dog in camp probably lowers the odds of a bear visit. I suspect a bear near camp would likely smell the dog before seeing or hearing it, and my guess is dogs just smell like another type of trouble for bears.

I think whether a dog deters a bear or not also has a lot to do with both the specific dog and the specific bear. The bear I scared off would have been frightened of anything. Some of the bears currently reported raiding camps seem very persistent and may be more willing to engage a dog if it got close. My sister had a 100 lbs German Shepard wh sees his job in life to protect the house and announce all visitors. They are in farm country and occasionally have bears. When I last dog sat, I had to call the dog away from a tree so the bear he was chasing could come down and get away. The year before he chased a bear into the woods, and seconds later shot out of the woods with his tail down and sat by the door. We think the bear turned on him and re-oriented his bravery compass.

So overall I think a dog will likely decrease the chance of a bear visit, but I would not bank on it, nor would I want my dogs to approach the bear at all. I’ve worked hard to make sure my dogs stay close to me and respond to commands when around wildlife. Don’t let your dog go toward the bear is my advice. And be sure to safeguard your dog food as much as your own.
 
bposteve
distinguished member (158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2020 09:32AM
When I was a a kid we had a bear, not a cub but also not a fully mature one, come into camp. Our golden retriever/mutt chased after it barking and that bear turned and ran and was not seen again.

As mentioned above this interaction will likely vary depending on individual bear and dog involved.
 
4keys
distinguished member(739)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2020 11:12PM
I would definitely not want my dog to approach or confront any bear, even a timid one. I don't know what her reaction would be if a bear came into camp. I would like to think she would listen to my commands, but she is both young and untested in any big situation. With many of the Bears this year being so persistent I worry that even barking (but not approaching) could aggravate a bear.

Jaywalker -
We always put the dog food in ziplock bags, then into an opsack bag, then the blue barrel. Her food bowl also goes in.
 
07/08/2020 03:10AM
My dogs have been very Wolf and bear alert. I can tell when there is any possibility to be concerned by how they act. My current dog is no different. Like her predecessors last night I chased off a bear. She sounded as vicious as could be too as she stayed behind me. If the bear turned and chased us she’d probably look at me like haha I’m faster, sucks to be you. But seriously together we’re like a pack. The bear around where I live have been getting more and more troublesome. They are it seems extra hungry. We need the berries to ripen! They need the berries to ripen! I want to just go buy them a pack of raspberry filled danish, leave em up the road of course. Haha.
 
acanoer
member (34)member
 
07/08/2020 07:46PM
Depends on the dog and depends on the bears.

Some dogs handle bears well others do not, some bears run at smell, sight, sound of a dog.

Other take offense to them.

In areas where bears are hunted with dogs bears become very respectful of dogs.

MN is not one of those areas.

I have found dogs to be helpful with letting one know that a bear is around.

I found around the house having dogs keeps bears away.
 
merlyn
senior member (96)senior membersenior member
 
07/09/2020 09:53AM
I have lived in bear country a good portion of my life (rural wi.) I have had bears in my bird feeder, g-cans and once in my garage, all while having dogs. If bears come around a house smelling of dogs and people I don't think a dog would deter a bear that possibly is exposed to people things a few months a year.
If you encounter a bear there is a good chance , my guess is 95% of the time, the bear will take off running probably with your dog in hot pursuit. This could result in a lost or injured dog. (it happened to me and cost over $ 2,000 to have my pets knee rebuilt) A moose encounter would probably end worse.
When I have the dogs with me outdoors I treat them like small children, their safety and ALL their actions are my responsibility. There was another post concerning a dog and its owner at a portage and the dog was out of control and nipped or bit someone.
 
nofish
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07/09/2020 09:57AM
one thing to consider is how your dog will react to a bear. Will it chase it off? Will the dog be easy to recall if it does chase it or will you now be dealing with a lost dog?
 
acanoer
member (34)member
 
07/09/2020 11:20AM
Having a dog in the house in no deterrent to a bear.

Having dogs that live out side in my 60 some years of living in bear country seems to

help

The only times I have had bear problems was when I didn't have out side dogs.
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2652)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/09/2020 12:25PM
It's a risk one takes. One thing I have come to understand from reading stories and articles--especially those in and around Great Smoky Mountains area--encountering a mother bear w/cubs is a whole different ballgame when it comes to dogs and bears.
Facing the fury of a mother the dogs will hi-tail it and bring the raging mother into camp. Key is don't let the dog get too far ahead on portages, as well. Otherwise, most bears will detect you approaching and flee.

 
aholmgren
distinguished member (488)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/09/2020 12:44PM
Having done much BWCA camping/tripping with and without a dog. I agree with much of this. My experience is I have only been visited by bears (twice) when camping both times when without a dog. My thoughts are a bear would smell a dog and likely deter a visit and if not my dog would alert once the bear was close enough/in camp to give some forewarning.
 
mutz
distinguished member(1224)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/09/2020 01:58PM
I have to agree most bears will leave when the dog starts barking. Just remember if your dog gets between mama bear and baby bear your dog won’t stand a chance in a fight and a vet will be at least hours or more away.
 
jillpine
distinguished member (487)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/09/2020 04:08PM
If your dog is between a bear with cubs, your dog won't survive.
I've treated hunting hounds with bear or wolf injury (as well as small dogs prey to coyote attacks) and the extent of the injuries is gruesome. Most are euthanized.
Another risk that is rarely discussed on paddling forums is blastomycosis (and lepto for that matter). I've seen enough trip-ending (sometimes life-ending) infection and trauma that I just don't know if I'll ever paddle again with a dog. Between blasto and unruly, unleashed, unsocialized "dogs of the portages", I am leaning toward no. But not because of a defensive sow bear or wolf depredation. Pretty minimal risk for those in the bwca if the dog is well-controlled. As an interesting aside, wolf - domestic dog injuries (many/most hunting hounds) are available on the WI DNR site:
Wolf Caution Areas, WI DNR
 
missmolly
distinguished member(6788)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/09/2020 04:50PM
jillpine: "If your dog is between a bear with cubs, your dog won't survive.
I've treated hunting hounds with bear or wolf injury (as well as small dogs prey to coyote attacks) and the extent of the injuries is gruesome. Most are euthanized.
Another risk that is rarely discussed on paddling forums is blastomycosis (and lepto for that matter). I've seen enough trip-ending (sometimes life-ending) infection and trauma that I just don't know if I'll ever paddle again with a dog. Between blasto and unruly, unleashed, unsocialized "dogs of the portages", I am leaning toward no. But not because of a defensive sow bear or wolf depredation. Pretty minimal risk for those in the bwca if the dog is well-controlled. As an interesting aside, wolf - domestic dog injuries (many/most hunting hounds) are available on the WI DNR site:
Wolf Caution Areas, WI DNR "


Jill, I never considered that vets see injuries akin to what ER docs might. When I imagined a vet's life, I pictured Yorkies and kittens.
 
jwartman59
distinguished member(3116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/10/2020 12:45AM
My dog has chased off two bears, two moose and a wolf, not to mention little creatures we may not have seen. It’s very exciting to watch your dog chase big critters, it’s way more better when they call off the chase when they heed your call. My eighty five pound lab is no match for most wild creatures, in fact he would most likely try to make friends. Make certain your dog is well controlled
 
acanoer
member (34)member
 
07/10/2020 05:37AM
jillpine: "If your dog is between a bear with cubs, your dog won't survive.
I've treated hunting hounds with bear or wolf injury (as well as small dogs prey to coyote attacks) and the extent of the injuries is gruesome. Most are euthanized.
Another risk that is rarely discussed on paddling forums is blastomycosis (and lepto for that matter). I've seen enough trip-ending (sometimes life-ending) infection and trauma that I just don't know if I'll ever paddle again with a dog. Between blasto and unruly, unleashed, unsocialized "dogs of the portages", I am leaning toward no. But not because of a defensive sow bear or wolf depredation. Pretty minimal risk for those in the bwca if the dog is well-controlled. As an interesting aside, wolf - domestic dog injuries (many/most hunting hounds) are available on the WI DNR site:
Wolf Caution Areas, WI DNR "


If one lives in the woods any time your dog is out side there is a risk.

Any dog that is out side off a lead the risk is bigger.

But then a dog that is on a lead is a less useful then a dog off a lead.

It is kind of hard to hunt with a dog on a lead.

 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2652)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/10/2020 11:10AM
"She stays close to us, listens pretty well but not perfectly yet, and is always alert (she loves chasing butterflies)."--4Keys
Sounds like a 'go' and even better you're able to practice command obedience a bit before the trip. My Bodie would totally ignore me with all the scent trails.
(couldn't resist tagging with a pic)


 
07/10/2020 01:43PM
Nose like that, it'll be pretty hard for him to NOT follow a scent.... We have a black mouth curr, which looks like a smaller version of that hound.
 
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