BWCA Bear encounter on Canoe 5/16/24 Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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      Bear encounter on Canoe 5/16/24     
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05/23/2024 08:17PM  
Short Version: Was camping on the westernmost campsite on Canoe Lake. Laying in my hammock, 6:30AM, heard a noise, looked under my hammock and was face-to-face with a bear rummaging thru my stuff. Jumped out of the hammock, yelled at it and it promptly scurried off.

Longer version: My plan on my entry date (East Bearskin, 5/14) was to get to Crystal and stay there a couple days to try for some lakers before moving on. Both campsites on Crystal were taken, so I backtracked to Canoe and camped on the westernmost site, probably one of the nicest ones in the bw. Pretty sure this is the site where OneMatch got his blue barrel pilfered by a bear, and the whole time I was there I had the lyrics to "Camp Coffee" going thru my head (Bear got your food? No problem!). Wednesday I paddled back over to Crystal, trolled for lakers (no success) and bushwhacked back to Bench and got a nice brookie for supper. Got back to camp, cooked up the brookie (it was delish), cleaned up and crashed.
Next morning, I was awake lying in my hammock, it was about 6:30, and I thought I heard a noise on the blind side of my hammock. Looked underneath but didn't see anything. Bit later the noise was more pronounced, that's when I looked underneath and saw the bear under the foot end of my hammock nosing in a bag that had little sealed containers of salt and pepper, but no actual food. It was a little bigger than very large dog, St Bernard-ish, not a big bear but a bear nonetheless. I sprung out of the hammock and yelled at it, and it scurried off. I had my food in two bear vaults stashed in the woods away from the campsite, so I went back to take a look and they were both knocked over. On the blind side of my hammock, I'd left a little vacuum sealed package of salted shiners on the ground, about 10' away. The first noise I heard was the bear snacking on those, but they must not have been that great, it didn't bother to finish them (there were only 4 in the package). It tried the bear vaults first with no success, so decided to move on in to the campsite to check on the menu there.
Just a heads-up, the new rule on food storage definitely isn't a bad thing. Glad I had my bear vaults, I've used them for years because hanging is such a pain. And lesson learned, even though the packet of shiners was vacuum sealed, that didn't prevent the bear for finding them and identifying them as food, and likely prompted it to look for something tastier under my hammock! In retrospect, I should have had them along with my food in a bear vault. The fish meal I had the night before may have been a factor as well, did my best to clean up and dispose of the remains well away from camp, but I'm sure they all know that the good stuff is at the campsites...this one probably learned from the bear that got Jerry's blue barrel!
Note of interest: I bunked at Hungry Jack Outfitters. When I got back, I told Nancy about the encounter and she filled out a report. The outfitters are required by the Forest Service to document all the bear encounters they're aware of. So if you have an issue with a bear out there, notify your outfitter or the ranger station, they need the data.
 
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05/23/2024 10:44PM  
Great summary of all that! When my bear came into camp, I was on Caribou (Just south of Clearwater and just west of the longer portage from Clearwater to Caribou.) There's a little island right in front of the site. Sweet site.

My bear, however, wasn't interested in scurrying away with a little yell. In fact, he/she bluff charged me. And even though I knew it was a "bluff", it definitely set me back. Went back but never did find my barrel. I'll be a hanger now this year for sure.

Glad you had a good trip!
 
05/23/2024 10:56PM  
OMGeeeeee!!!!

I would have shipped my pants and yelled, "I don't want to be a bear burrito!"

Glad it just scampered off when you yelled at it, vs. bluff charge you while in the hammock like it did to OneMatch.

Question, how did you get out so fast? I'm usually nestled in real good with my underquilt ,and topquilt and bug net, it would have taken me a minute to hop out of there, or did you kind of "flail" around in your hammock while trying to get out of the bug net?

My heart is racing and I wasn't even there. Thanks for sharing that excellent recap!

 
05/24/2024 07:16AM  
Thanks for sharing your experience.

T
 
05/24/2024 10:21AM  
MN_Lindsey: "OMGeeeeee!!!!

Question, how did you get out so fast? I'm usually nestled in real good with my underquilt ,and topquilt and bug net, it would have taken me a minute to hop out of there, or did you kind of "flail" around in your hammock while trying to get out of the bug net?

"


Lucky for me last week, the bugs weren’t bad and I was sleeping with the bug net tied back. I’m not the most agile guy, 64yrs and 6’3”, but adrenaline helped me to roll out of my hammock pretty quickly.

Jerry, Dave @ HJO warned me about bears in the Caribou Lake area, as my original plans were to make it up to Moon/Deer lake…the wind and weather hampered my plans so I never made it up there. Guess they’re still a problem in that area, maybe it’s still “your” bear!

George
 
Findian
member (34)member
  
05/24/2024 10:50AM  
Glad everyone is okay. It would be good for these bears to get sprayed. Maybe then they would quit feeding off campers. Up hear the saying is "a feed bear is a dead bear".
 
LaVirginienne
distinguished member (129)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/24/2024 10:52AM  
Nice report thanks!!!
 
05/24/2024 11:21AM  
What a great story - thanks for sharing. And to Lindsey’s point well done getting out so fast. If I tried to make a quick exit from my hammock I’d probably get my feet tangled up and do a face plant.
 
Bjelde
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
  
05/24/2024 01:40PM  
OneMatch: "When my bear came into camp, I was on Caribou (Just south of Crystal and just west of the longer portage from Crystal to Caribou. There's a little island right in front of the site. Sweet site."


Might you be confusing Crystal and Clearwater?
 
05/24/2024 05:25PM  
Bjelde: "
OneMatch: "When my bear came into camp, I was on Caribou (Just south of Crystal and just west of the longer portage from Crystal to Caribou. There's a little island right in front of the site. Sweet site."



Might you be confusing Crystal and Clearwater?"


Yes! Thanks for pointing that out. It definitely was Clearwater.
 
05/24/2024 05:26PM  
Bonvicken: "
MN_Lindsey: "OMGeeeeee!!!!


Jerry, Dave @ HJO warned me about bears in the Caribou Lake area, as my original plans were to make it up to Moon/Deer lake…the wind and weather hampered my plans so I never made it up there. Guess they’re still a problem in that area, maybe it’s still “your” bear!


George "


George, I found out that two weeks after my incident that "my bear" was actually in the food supply room of Clearwater Outfitters. The owner called USFS and asked permission to shoot it as it apparently ransacking the supply room. (USFS had been hunting the bear for weeks.) They gave him permission to do so. I don't know what was done with the carcass. I feel really bad for that bear.
 
05/24/2024 06:46PM  
OneMatch: "
Bonvicken: "
MN_Lindsey: "OMGeeeeee!!!!



Jerry, Dave @ HJO warned me about bears in the Caribou Lake area, as my original plans were to make it up to Moon/Deer lake…the wind and weather hampered my plans so I never made it up there. Guess they’re still a problem in that area, maybe it’s still “your” bear!



George "


George, I found out that two weeks after my incident that "my bear" was actually in the food supply room of Clearwater Outfitters. The owner called USFS and asked permission to shoot it as it apparently ransacking the supply room. (USFS had been hunting the bear for weeks.) They gave him permission to do so. I don't know what was done with the carcass. I feel really bad for that bear. "


It is unfortunate when an animal is shot over it. If we were wild animals without Cub, Aldi, Whole Foods, TJs, Walmart, Target, etc etc, and weren't social creatures willing to share with each other (farming), we'd take every opportunity as well.

Its education of how to do your best to minimize risk. I listed to the pannel with Clif Jacobson, Kevin C, and Kevin, and Kevin Calahan said in CA, they remove the people from the problem bear area until the issue is fixed. Maybe not a bad idea here as much as it would gut us who love to visit the area...
 
05/25/2024 01:40PM  
Thanks for the reminder that it's not just food that needs to be protected... Way back when they said even camera film had a smell that could attract bears.

Think about non-edibles too as you prepare.

Really glad it ran off when you asked it to. Hopefully it keeps getting foiled.
 
05/25/2024 01:55PM  
Joe Friedrichs saw this post and contacted me for an interview. It’s on his Paddle & Portage site, but you have to be a member to listen to the audio .

https://paddleandportage.com/2024/05/25/bwca-paddler-shares-story-of-bear-visiting-his-camp-on-canoe-lake/
 
05/25/2024 05:59PM  
Bonvicken: "Joe Friedrichs saw this post and contacted me for an interview. It’s on his Paddle & Portage site, but you have to be a member to listen to the audio .

"


I mean, I feel like this warrants a WTIP Boundary Waters Podcast episode! :)
 
05/26/2024 09:45AM  
MN_Lindsey: "
Bonvicken: "Joe Friedrichs saw this post and contacted me for an interview. It’s on his Paddle & Portage site, but you have to be a member to listen to the audio .


"



I mean, I feel like this warrants a WTIP Boundary Waters Podcast episode! :)"


Joe has a new podcast called Paddle and Portage along with an online magazine . Episode 6 just came out yesterday. It must be a bonus episode as they usually come out on the 10th of the month.

Speaking of podcasts, the Tumblehome podcast did an episode on bears last fall and they were talking about a family member that had just had a bear encounter on Canoe and they could not scare it away and stayed up all night trying to scare it away from their hung pack. There have been quite a few stories of this bear in the Alder/Canoe area bear the last couple of years.

Bonvicken thanks for sharing your story.

 
05/26/2024 10:06AM  
OneMatch: "
Bonvicken: "
MN_Lindsey: "OMGeeeeee!!!!



Jerry, Dave @ HJO warned me about bears in the Caribou Lake area, as my original plans were to make it up to Moon/Deer lake…the wind and weather hampered my plans so I never made it up there. Guess they’re still a problem in that area, maybe it’s still “your” bear!



George "


George, I found out that two weeks after my incident that "my bear" was actually in the food supply room of Clearwater Outfitters. The owner called USFS and asked permission to shoot it as it apparently ransacking the supply room. (USFS had been hunting the bear for weeks.) They gave him permission to do so. I don't know what was done with the carcass. I feel really bad for that bear. "


When the USFS rangers went to Caribou to find the bear it ate food right out of one of their canoes on the Clearwater to Caribou portage.
 
05/26/2024 12:31PM  
ducks: "
OneMatch: "
Bonvicken: "
MN_Lindsey: "OMGeeeeee!!!!



Jerry, Dave @ HJO warned me about bears in the Caribou Lake area, as my original plans were to make it up to Moon/Deer lake…the wind and weather hampered my plans so I never made it up there. Guess they’re still a problem in that area, maybe it’s still “your” bear!



George "



George, I found out that two weeks after my incident that "my bear" was actually in the food supply room of Clearwater Outfitters. The owner called USFS and asked permission to shoot it as it apparently ransacking the supply room. (USFS had been hunting the bear for weeks.) They gave him permission to do so. I don't know what was done with the carcass. I feel really bad for that bear. "



When the USFS rangers went to Caribou to find the bear it ate food right out of one of their canoes on the Clearwater to Caribou portage. "


I remember Sue (then at Tuscarora Outfitters) telling me about that. I guess even the USFS doesn't adhere to their own recommendations regarding food on the trail!
 
05/26/2024 12:41PM  
Bonvicken: "Joe Friedrichs saw this post and contacted me for an interview. It’s on his Paddle & Portage site, but you have to be a member to listen to the audio .

"


Just listened to the audio. Glad you are helping educate everyone. Kinda sounds like there might be more bear activity this year.
 
pswith5
distinguished member(3687)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/26/2024 01:05PM  
MN_Lindsey: "OMGeeeeee!!!!


I would have shipped my pants and yelled, "I don't want to be a bear burrito!"


Glad it just scampered off when you yelled at it, vs. bluff charge you while in the hammock like it did to OneMatch.


Question, how did you get out so fast? I'm usually nestled in real good with my underquilt ,and topquilt and bug net, it would have taken me a minute to hop out of there, or did you kind of "flail" around in your hammock while trying to get out of the bug net?


My heart is racing and I wasn't even there. Thanks for sharing that excellent recap!


"
Lindsay..funny used that term. My youngest boy was on that site on Caribou. All he kept talking about was being a "bear buritto". We did not encounter a bear but that was the first time I'd heard that term!
 
Findian
member (34)member
  
05/26/2024 01:10PM  
OneMatch: "
ducks: "
OneMatch: "
Bonvicken: "
MN_Lindsey: "OMGeeeeee!!!!




Jerry, Dave @ HJO warned me about bears in the Caribou Lake area, as my original plans were to make it up to Moon/Deer lake…the wind and weather hampered my plans so I never made it up there. Guess they’re still a problem in that area, maybe it’s still “your” bear!




George "




George, I found out that two weeks after my incident that "my bear" was actually in the food supply room of Clearwater Outfitters. The owner called USFS and asked permission to shoot it as it apparently ransacking the supply room. (USFS had been hunting the bear for weeks.) They gave him permission to do so. I don't know what was done with the carcass. I feel really bad for that bear. "




When the USFS rangers went to Caribou to find the bear it ate food right out of one of their canoes on the Clearwater to Caribou portage. "



I remember Sue (then at Tuscarora Outfitters) telling me about that. I guess even the USFS doesn't adhere to their own recommendations regarding food on the trail!"


That is shameful!! We have become a country of different rules for different people. How hard is it to practice what we preach??
 
schweady
distinguished member(8091)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
05/26/2024 01:34PM  
Findian: "That is shameful!! We have become a country of different rules for different people. How hard is it to practice what we preach??"

And... there it is. I wasn't sure how this could get included in the "hate your government" threads, but at last, a way was found.
 
05/27/2024 12:47PM  
MN_Lindsey: "OMGeeeeee!!!!


I would have shipped my pants and yelled, "I don't want to be a bear burrito!"


Glad it just scampered off when you yelled at it, vs. bluff charge you while in the hammock like it did to OneMatch.


Question, how did you get out so fast? I'm usually nestled in real good with my underquilt ,and topquilt and bug net, it would have taken me a minute to hop out of there, or did you kind of "flail" around in your hammock while trying to get out of the bug net?


My heart is racing and I wasn't even there. Thanks for sharing that excellent recap!


"




Back mid eighties I was sitting on the “box” and felt like I was being watched. Turned to look and there was a bear. You’d be surprised how quickly you can finish what your doing… haha!
It headed to our camp so I got between him and camp. He bluff charged. But I charge charged him… fifteen or so minutes later you heard pot banging and yelling… haha!
I guess at home the bears are a real problem this year… but even there no one feels unsafe. But the bird feeders are definitely not safe!
 
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