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bwcadan
distinguished member(1515)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/19/2020 10:35AM
Went to see the stair step portage and 2 overlooks over Rose lake. Returned to the campsite nearest the portage from East Bearskin lake on Duncan lake. Nice large site and very open as well. My tent was destroyed and much dragging of belongings down toward the small cove and on around toward more wild areas featuring uprooted trees and rocky.

Most everything was found and we left that afternoon as we cancelled the remaining 2 days for out trip. What was not found was my small bag width several items inside. also, the air mattress was not found. I did not really want an encounter so did not pursue the trail toward where some of the items may or may not have been found. I know large cats are probably around this area as a few years ago I saw one at the other end of this site while I was drinking hot chocolate.

While I never store any food in the tent, I have always kept medicine in daily dosage packets for easy access. Not likely to do so again.

Anyway, be forewarned if you are in the area.
 
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cyclones30
distinguished member(2575)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/19/2020 11:06AM
Not a bear?
bwcadan
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09/19/2020 11:14AM
Could be, but I would have expected a larger bite than the one shown in the picture on the right. Also the history of seeing a big cat at this site tends to color my opinion. Also, more damage would be possible, I think. Having said that, I would defer to someone who actually knows the identity of the bite shown.
mmrocker13
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
09/19/2020 11:29AM
https://northernwilds.com/a-mountain-lion-makes-an-appearance/
You never know where they might be wandering...
Banksiana
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09/19/2020 01:02PM
More likely a bear than a cat. Can't really tell what the "bite" on the tent like item is or even if its a bite mark. Book looks like bear claw rake. Dragging things into the woods a definite bear move, particularly a bear with camp site experience.
tumblehome
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09/19/2020 02:38PM
Not a cat.

It was a bear.
andym
distinguished member(4850)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/19/2020 03:07PM
It's an interesting idea. Out here we have plenty of mountain lions with regular sightings in some neighborhoods that are right up against dense forests. On our local social media people post plenty of videos from cameras outside their homes. Our neighborhood doesn't have dense forest and we still get a couple of sightings a year. I can't think of anyone mentioning one going through stuff outside a house or even eating cat food left outside. I also can't think of any warnings about mountain lions invading campsites in our area.

It might be that bears do it because they are as much scavengers and gatherers as predators. Mountain lions seem to stick to just being predators. Same with the coyotes we have around. We don't have bears, they were eradicated in the mid to late 1800s, so our primary scavengers are raccoons.
marsonite
distinguished member(2315)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/19/2020 05:27PM
Banksiana: "More likely a bear than a cat. Can't really tell what the "bite" on the tent like item is or even if its a bite mark. Book looks like bear claw rake. Dragging things into the woods a definite bear move, particularly a bear with camp site experience."

+1. I thought the "bite" on the book looked like bear claw marks. I bet those are claw marks on that tent screen too. Years ago, I had a similar experience with a bear...came into camp when we were fishing and drug everything into the woods. I know it was a bear because we had chased it away earlier in the day.
4keys
distinguished member(772)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/19/2020 05:53PM
Whether cat or bear, not sure I would camp there a 3rd time. I hope it slept comfortably on your air mattress!
Fizzle
member (8)member
 
09/19/2020 06:53PM
Definitely a big foot, older one I suspect, the ground cover and shrub shelters aren't as comfortable the older you get, upgraded to an air mattress.
prettypaddle
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09/19/2020 08:31PM
Fizzle: "Definitely a big foot, older one I suspect, the ground cover and shrub shelters aren't as comfortable the older you get, upgraded to an air mattress. "

Lol! Too funny! And that "thriller" novel lives up to the hype I guess!
Pinetree
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09/19/2020 11:23PM
Banksiana: "More likely a bear than a cat. Can't really tell what the "bite" on the tent like item is or even if its a bite mark. Book looks like bear claw rake. Dragging things into the woods a definite bear move, particularly a bear with camp site experience."

I say a bear also.
tumblehome
distinguished member(1727)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2020 06:41AM
Since we are on the subject of large cats, specifically cougars AKA mountain lions:

The nearest range of cougars to northern MN is the Black Hills of SD, about 800 miles +/-.
There have been confirmed sightings of cougars in northern MN mostly on trail cams. As we can expect, they are very elusive animals and not seen behaving the way bears do by just fumbling around digging up what they can during the day.

Cougars were once native to Northern MN before colonial days and were extirpated from most of the eastern US after our arrival.

While I am advocate for any once native wild animal, the cougar will probably not ever regain a foothold in Northern MN (or most other parts of our country) without human intervention. A young male cat disperses from their native range seeking a mate. However, females do not disperse from their local range and thus, breeding pairs will never meet up far from their home range. Thus, what we are seeing on trail cams or the rare human live sighting is a dispersed male cat without a breeding female.

Tom

mgraber
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09/20/2020 10:38AM
In my experience this is not cat like behavior at all, but is pretty classic bear behavior. As others have stated, cougars are not scavengers and typically have little if any interest in non living food items, or man made items. I have no doubt that there have been sightings, but agree with tumblehome that reproducing populations are unlikely for the reasons he stated. Either way, it is concerning behavior. Sorry your trip got messed up!
09/20/2020 04:00PM
bwcadan: "I know large cats are probably around this area as a few years ago I saw one at the other end of this site while I was drinking hot chocolate. "

When you say you saw "one" [large cat]-are we talking lynx or you think you saw a mountain lion?

I've never heard of any large cat raiding a campsite but I'll never say never. I too favor bear. But I did encounter a pissed off fisher (~15#) on the stairway portage. And had a fisher try to steal a bag of trout fillets on a nearby lake.

Bummer that it changed your plans but I get it.

tg
Jaywalker
distinguished member(2359)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2020 08:44PM
I have little doubt that there is it he occasional cougar in or around the BWCA. Ive seen convincing photos from Cougarnet.org supporting this. Like Tumblehome says, most likely wandering males looking for love.

That said, I am not familiar with any cases of cougars ripping up campsites. I’ve heard of lots nd lots and lots of cases of black bears doing so. Given how many more black bears there are in the area, I find it hard to believe a cat was responsible for your campsite damage.
Ole496
distinguished member (258)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/20/2020 10:33PM
I say Bear - they are destructive and impatient. They slash and drag stuff all over the place.

Cats are more methodical, cautious and deliberate. A cat would most likely peer inside the tent at who knows what (a ghost maybe??) for 10 minutes then gently sniff the sides a few times before getting bored and moving on. Cats are so weird. Bears, they are mostly predictable.
bwcadan
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09/21/2020 09:31PM
I can accept he consensus of my visitor being a bear. Several years ago, I thought our encounter from 75 feet away was a lynx or a cougar. A bobcat was considered as to what is was, but likely not so. I had been thinking a bear visit would have left more physical damage to the tent if he/she had slashed their way in. While the tent itself was open, the fly was not.

As for the damage to the tent, that was definitely a pattern which was not there before we left camp for out day trip. I think open mouth and bite is likely.

Thanks for the responses.
Pinetree
distinguished member(12797)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
09/21/2020 10:17PM
bwcadan: "I can accept he consensus of my visitor being a bear. Several years ago, I thought our encounter from 75 feet away was a lynx or a cougar. A bobcat was considered as to what is was, but likely not so. I had been thinking a bear visit would have left more physical damage to the tent if he/she had slashed their way in. While the tent itself was open, the fly was not.


As for the damage to the tent, that was definitely a pattern which was not there before we left camp for out day trip. I think open mouth and bite is likely.


Thanks for the responses."
A few lakes to the southeast they had a lot of bear problems with bear being bold and coming in camps.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
09/22/2020 08:15AM
This sounds like a typical Yogi Bear encounter.
papalambeau
member (16)member
 
09/22/2020 12:32PM
I agree that it was a bear in camp. We've had two different bear encounters on Malberg, years apart on two different campsites. Very similar to what the bear did in this site.
trailcherry
distinguished member (123)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/24/2020 09:36AM
Very interesting post!

My partner and I along with another couple stayed at that site for 3 nights starting on 9/19, before moving on. We experienced no problems and saw no indication that warned against staying there. IMO this is one of the nicest campsites in the area, on a lake with crystal clear water.

We did venture off during the daytime and did some hiking along the Border trail, also out fishing for hours at a time.

We have stayed there on other trips and look forward to camping there in the future if we are in that area.
 
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